Garden & Gun Magazine: the soul of the south

For my magazine publishing class, we were asked to do a short report on an award-winning magazine of our choice.  garden-and-gun-3Being that I 1. love food, adventure and tropical paradises, and 2. am slightly (and by slightly I mean absolutely) obsessed with The South, I had to choose Garden & Gun magazine.  While I am nowhere near the kind of person this magazine is published for (the average reader makes about a meager $2 million a year), a girl can only hope that one day she’ll be a part of the elite readership or maybe even finagle her way into the charing and exclusive staff.


From the first five pages of Garden & Gun you can tell that the type of reader this magazine appeals to is one with a sense of adventure and high-class. Garden & Gun has a total audience of 1,218,750 people. 6 percent of the readers are located in the Northeast, 10 percent in the Mid-Atlantic, 8 percent in the Midwest, 6 percent in the West, 11 percent in the Southwest and 59 percent in the Southeast. 92 percent of readers are 35 years old or older. 53 percent of readers aScreen Shot 2015-02-08 at 12.47.56 PMre male and 47 percent are female. Garden & Gun magazine is all about living well and being active. These readers hail from all fifty states and are affluent. 26 percent of readers have an income of $1.5 million and above. 43 percent of readers own more that two houses and take an average of 13 trips per year. This affluence in their readership is reflected well in their advertisements that feature expensive brands such as Rolex as well as money managing companies and hotels on private island getaways.

Editorial Philosophy

The magazine’s specific focus is about how to live and more engaged life that feature land, literature, music, arts and food. This magazine focuses on the “richness” of the South and how to enrich your life beyond what the Southern geography has to offer.

It’s approach to content is to always have the higher-class of a category. They don’t feature any bang for your buck vacations or best cheap eats in the South. It’s all about living life with no regards to price, only focusing on what will make the readers life more active, meaningful, and mentally and physically more beautiful.

Its identity is that Garden & Gun is the only magazine that “moves from the sporting life to lush land and gardens, from architectural pursuits to adventurous travel, from food and drink to visual splendor.” The magazine states that it is all about “a life well-lived.”

It’s different from other magazine’s because it is the only magazine that appeals to a high-class southern living 35 years and older person. Southern Living features similar articles about places and foods in the south but these features are much more affordable. Garden & Gun features the costly places and foods of the South.

Editorial Formula

Garden & Gun is a bi-monthly magazine with six issues per year. Garden & Gun breaks down its content into six categories. six The categories are as follows:

The Sporting Life: outdoors lifestyle, boating, golfing, fishing and huntingurl

Land & Garden: luxurious properties and homes, iconic gardens and conservation

Food & Drink: southern food culture, farm to table and celebrity chefs Travel & Adventure: hotels, lodges and destinations throughout the South and beyond

Style & Design: home decor, fashion, shopping and entertaining

Arts & Culture: art, architecture, music, literature and city and town profiles

The logic to their content is that these categories all combine to help the reader live a well-lived life that is active, affluent and engaged.


Edward Bell III owns Garden & Gun. He partners with President and CEO of Garden & Gun, Rebecca Wesson Darwin, and partner Pierre Manigualt. Garden & Gun owns the following blogs:

A Southern focus: dedicated to photography and art,

Belle Décor: a style blog

Good Eats: a food blog

Southern in the City: Living outside of The South

Southern Sounds: a music blog

The Sporting South: a sporting blog

The company and editorial team are headquartered in Charleston, South Carolina. I could not find an exact number of employees that work for the company but the magazine does feature four contributors every issue along with their regular writers and executive team contributions.

Screen Shot 2015-02-08 at 12.46.30 PMAdvertising/Editorial Ratio

The February/ March issue has 136 pages with about 36 full page ads and 13 pages with half or quarter page ads. This equals about 36 percent of the magazine being comprised of ads and 64 percent being comprised of editorial and graphics.


The Magazine does a stunning job at matching its philosophy with its audience. Garden & Gun’s audience is very affluent and looking for adventure. The magazine matches this by having sections of the magazine called “Talk of the South” that features things for the affluent to explore in their own neck of the woods. It also features a section called “Due South,” which features expensive getaways with spectacular views and excursions that the wealthy can only enjoy.



gardengun600The design is very simplistic. Garden & Gun uses the pictures to create the color in the magazine. In Paradise Found: Hidden Caribbean, use full-page pictures of the destination. You can tell they try to use the pictures to grab the readers into their lavish and lively vacation suggestions. The magazine also uses a serif font, which adds to the older, sophistication of the magazine, since sans serif seems to give text a younger feel. The magazine uses small dotted lines to separate columns of texts to create separation in an appealing way. The magazine also always use the & sign within the text to match the company’s logo of Garden & Gun. Due to this, the reader is constantly reminded of what they are reading throughout the issue due to this text style.


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