My quest to "use what we have" includes that neglected strip of back yard. I've turned to the library for research.
So far, my favorite is A Child's Garden by Molly Dannenmaier for its clear photos and design advice. Among other things, we're creating a place to hide, a place to dig, a place to splash, with things to cut and nurture.
I've also been impressed with Sharon Lovejoy's Roots, Shoots, Buckets & Boots. She illustrates whimsical projects and theme gardens.
The best part: both books recommend natural materials and creative reuse!