About the book
Authors: Anthony Paul and Yvonne Rees
Title of the publication: The Garden Design Book
Everyone desires a welcoming lush garden in their home. The process of creating the garden can however be intimidating to non-designers. The garden design book by Paul and Rees seeks to demystify the entire process. The book is a guide to creating original and practical gardens and contains ideas and information for creating gardens of different sizes and styles. It takes a closer look at the works of garden designers who have shaped the field for readers to draw inspiration.
Paul and Rees view the garden as an extension of the house and they believe that no matter the location or type of garden, a garden should reflect the personality of the owners. With more than 350 full-color photographs of gardens, this book seeks to inspire one as they set out to create their garden. The author also shows how to use plants and take advantage of their unique qualities to create a striking garden. They also discuss in depth the hardscapes including pergolas, furniture, lighting, ornaments, and paving materials.
Paul and Rees introduce garden designers whose style and practice shaped generations. The authors describe in great detail the guiding principles and philosophy of this design that shaped their works. It is accompanied by photos of simple projects that show the personalities of these designers as well as naming the plants used in the designs. These designers created statement gardens that can inspire those seeking to create or revamp their gardens.
They talk about renowned landscape designer Roberto Burle Marx, who combines art and garden design to create a unique and striking style dominated by unusual shapes in brilliant colors. His work is inspired by nature which he interprets in his own way through undulating lines and snaking curves of plants.
They give a detailed process of translating a design on paper into a garden on the ground. As the book is for non-designers, there is less emphasis on the plan. They go on about the specifics of choosing plants and materials. The notion of a garden being an extension of the house is emphasized again. Dealing with site constraints like climate and soil and other site limitations that need to be taken into account are discussed.
The book examines different types of gardens that one can implement to best suit their needs based on their location and climate. Some of the gardens are;
- City garden which should be of low maintenance so that owners can focus on relaxation. Privacy is important in these gardens as are good views from the house.
- Country gardens are usually large with ambitious features. It can include cottage vegetables gardens and orchards as part of edible landscaping.
- Water gardens that often incorporate pools and ponds, streams and waterfalls as well as fountains, choice of ornamental fish and water plants to create vibrance.
- Tropical gardens which are vibrant and lush. The tropical plants have large foliage and big brilliant flowers.
The book features strong space-defining elements in the landscape including patios, paths, and boundary walls that should be well planned into the design instead of being treated as an afterthought. It emphasizes gates and entrances that frame gardens and create the illusion of a bigger space, and choice of materials for paths and pavements to create the desired effect. The materials can range from concrete pavers to bricks to loose single and wood shavings in some cases. Paul and Rees argue that stepping stones across a lawn or a stream invites a person on a journey to explore. The stepping stones can be made from pavers, stones, or wooden boards. They should be leveled and non-slippery with precautions to prevent slipperiness. Other framework elements listed in the book are timber decking, steps, lawns, planting beds, hedges, and walls and screens.
The authors detail garden features that completely give a garden a facelift. Such include pergolas, gazebos, seating, sculptures, and bridges. Water features include fountains, pools, streams, and hot tubs.
Plants are an integral part of landscaping and Paul and Rees describe in great detail how to design with plants that can be used for different effects in the garden. It can be used to define space, for shade, for fruits, to complement the house architecture or ornamental. The plants include trees, shrubs, climbers, perennials and grass, water plants, and ground covers. The authors emphasize the need to create a planting scheme at the beginning of the project. This aids in deciding the choice of plants, as well as the location in the garden depending on the desired outcome. Shape, texture, color, form, flowers, and fruit are some of the factors to consider when choosing plants. Paul and Rees go on to describe types of hostas, seedheads, and ferns and how they shape the garden’s appearance.
In the last chapter, the authors give a design guide for different hardscape elements that give the garden character. They have included materials, joinery, and finishes. They have done this with sketches that a non-technical person can read easily.
The Garden Design Book is a significant source of inspiration for garden owners and designers as well. I highly recommend it to anyone seeking to design a garden who does not know where to start. Landscape designers can also get lots of inspiration from the hundreds of photos in the book.