Published: July, 2018

The garden design books every architect must read this summer

Rather than Andrew Morton's biography of Megan Markle or the latest mind, body and spirit best-seller, why not take a busman's holiday this summer and treat yourself to some of the finest literature on landscape and garden design?

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Admittedly, they’re not beach reads but if you’re looking for inspiration and ideas, just browse your way through the beautiful pictures and wise words in the following list and you’ll return to the office reinvigorated and raring to go.

The Thoughtful Gardener: An Intelligent Approach to Garden Design (2017)

By Jinny Blom

Described by the Wall Street Journal as “a bona fide horticultural celebrity" Jinny Blom began her London-based landscape design practice in 2000 and has worked on hundreds of projects all over the world as well as designing four award-winning gardens for the Chelsea Flower Show.

The Thoughtful Gardener sets out her thoughts on landscape and garden design and is lavishly illustrated with pictures of many magical gardens. Explaining in great detail the conception and execution of many of her designs and those of others - from formal walled gardens to contemporary installations – she shows how to create a garden that responds to the history of the site and the wider landscape

It’s been hailed by many as a timeless “horticultural manifesto”. Author Adam Nicholson describes it as “the most beautiful and stimulating and enlivening garden book I have ever seen”.

Garden Design: A Book of Ideas (2015)

by Heidi Howcroft 

This is a visual reference book for garden owners, architects and designers. Containing over 600 images and full of incisive advice from garden designer Heidi Howcroft, Garden Design examines every aspect of landscape and garden design.

The gardens featured are large and small, urban and rural, in a wide range of styles from contemporary to classical to naturalistic, and there is a helpful emphasis on selecting the right components - be they hard landscaping, boundaries or plants and tackling challenging spaces.

Professional gardeners and landscape architects looking for images to inspire their clients will find it invaluable.

Garden Design Solutions: Ideas for Outdoor Spaces (2015)

by Stephen Woodhams

Award-winning garden designer Stephen Woodhams has been established for 25 years and specialises in the design of urban gardens, roof gardens and country gardens in the UK, Mediterranean and farther afield. His practice is perhaps best known for introducing the ‘inside/outside' concept when designing gardens for the 1995 Chelsea Flower Show.

His book demonstrates how to make the most of any outside space, whether it is a typical urban garden, exposed roof terrace or shady courtyard. Readers’ imaginations will be stimulated by his use of cutting-edge materials and the way his designs maximise the play of light and reflections in water.

There is also much to reflect on in the way Woodhams creates points of interest with arches, water features and other structures, and there are also many techniques for using scale and proportion to create the illusion of greater volume.

The Garden Source: Inspirational Design Ideas for Gardens and Landscapes (2011)

by Andrea Jones and James van Sweden

A great sourcebook for design ideas and solutions. Hundreds of gardens from all parts of the world are included as well many public spaces such as Parc André Citroën, and Jardin Atlantique, both in Paris, show gardens – Chelsea Flower Show, International Garden Festival, Hampton Court, Chaumont - and commercial campuses.

The authors divide design features into connecting or dividing elements. “Connecting” covers decking, lawns, gravel gardens, paths, steps, avenues, gates and bridges. “Dividing examines elements that can be used to create “rooms’ within gardens, such as hedges, walls, fences, screens, trees, and different types of beds and borders.

How to create different types of space – urban and rural, large and small, high and low – is clearly explained. And the final section covers every type of garden style that is possible, including minimal, prairie, geometric, dry, landscaped, gravel, water, exotic, contemporary, modern, minimal, oriental and night.

The Education of a Gardener (1962)

by Russell Page  

Russell Page is one of the most famous gardeners and landscapers of the twentieth century and is said to have designed more gardens for more people in more parts of the world than anyone in history. In this classic of garden literature, he offers wise and witty reminiscence, anecdotes about patrons and timeless advice on how to plan a garden.

Doris Lessing described it as an “astonishingly beautiful book about his craft”, adding: “I re-read this book every three years. It explores both the mechanic and aesthetic side of gardening, while also including solid information for an academic balance.”

Reviewing its latest edition last year, The Independent’s gardening correspondent was equally enamoured: “The best combined guide to planting and designing a garden ever written, with inspiration for every sort of gardener, wherever they are placed. The last chapter on his own dream garden is brilliant."

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