A valuable and inspiring resource for both advanced and beginner gardeners.
"Leaving no stone unturned, the basic aspects of true garden design are touched upon in what I would call a 'garden journey' book. Heidi Howcroft and Marianne Majerus give the reader absolutely superb visual content on the options available when considering crafting your personal space."
-- Washington Gardener
Now in paperback, this must-have visual reference for garden owners features over 600 images of gardens and garden elements along with incisive advice on garden design. In pictures and words, it takes readers from concept through to execution of a personalized garden built on sound design principles.
The sample gardens shown are large and small, urban and rural, and in a wide range of styles. Every aspect of designing a garden is explored, from assessing a property to choosing a style, selecting the right components, such as landscaping and boundaries, and tackling more challenging spaces. A gallery of 24 case studies further illustrates how to design a personal paradise.
Each chapter instructs on numerous related topics and presents illustrative case studies:
The lavish spreads address one topic, such as paved patios, and offer a variety of photographs in different styles with concise practical text. The case studies inspire with imagery and information.
Garden Design: A Book of Ideas is an ideal resource for the home gardener. It will continue to inspire as the garden matures and changes over the seasons and years.
Heidi Howcroft worked as a landscape architect in Germany for many years. She is the author of over 20 books covering a wide range of garden topics. She lives in Somerset, England.
Marianne Majerus is one of the world's finest garden photographers. She is a regular contributor to many publications, including House and Garden and The Wall Street Journal. She has illustrated more than 50 books. Her numerous awards include International Garden Photographer of the Year 2010 and Garden Media Guild Garden Photographer of the Year 2011. She lives in London.
Every garden, irrespective of whether it is a crate on top of a barge or parkland surrounding a country mansion, is a personal piece of paradise, tailor-made for the individual. Making a garden goes far beyond the instinct to grow food for the family and is a desire to embellish and enhance one's personal space.
Some gardens are meticulously planned, while others just happen. There are no hard-and-fast rules for their design. It is all about personal taste, so who is to judge what is good or bad? But while our imagination knows no boundaries, the garden certainly does, and appreciating where these lie is the difference between a great design and one that is run of the mill. The first step is to establish basic parameters. Much of this is common sense, recognizing that it is better to work with, rather than against, nature.
A fundamental part of a landscape architect's education is the design process, which begins with the site analysis and culminates in the finished garden. Following these same steps will help you decide whether to go it completely alone or enlist the help of a professional designer. A design is rarely immediately apparent; in most cases, deciding on one is a matter of diligently working through a list of requirements and gathering information. Method, not magic, is the key.
The starting point is devising a brief: what you want from the garden and whether it needs to be formal or informal; the desired level of maintenance; whether the whole garden or just a section is to be designed; available funds; and if the work is to be completed in stages or all at once. The size of the garden is just as important as its setting, with designs for a 'blank canvas' garden belonging to a new build and the revamp of an existing mature garden, for example, being completely different.
Before charging in with a bulldozer or pickaxe, look at your garden through the windows of the house, from the sofa or the kitchen. Observe what there is now and try to visualize what you would like to see in the future. Pinning a picture of a favourite garden to the window and looking at it and your garden simultaneously does help you decide if that style is either a "fit" or just a romantic notion. Creating mood boards and gathering photographs of other gardens, images of garden furniture, and details of plants and paving are all a huge help in the decision-making process, as are pictures from various angles of the site itself. It is often at this point that the decision is made either to go it alone or employ an expert. When seeking advice, consult members of professional bodies, such as the Landscape Institute and the Society of Garden Designers. Beware of cowboys who promise paradise for nothing; there is always a catch.
A site survey in which topography, heights, boundaries, existing features and vegetation are shown to scale is invaluable when designing. Armed with this information, together with your brief and mood boards, preliminary sketches can be made. These can then be narrowed down to favorites and developed further into an overall design. Living with and looking at the design and fine-tuning details over a period of time pays dividends. Staking out the outline of paths and patios, even using stepladders draped with sheets to give an idea of the volume of large shrubs, are all useful tools to see if a design could work.
Like a suit, a garden has to fit, have a shape yet be comfortable. But while it is possible to try on clothes before making a commitment, it is a different matter with gardens. Garden open days are a great way of getting to know other gardens. Few people garden on a grand scale, so these domestic, private retreats are perfect for getting a feel for your likes and dislikes and deciding on a style. Taking a broad view and looking at gardens abroad or from the past can also be inspiring -- it is all a matter of interpretation.
Without the marvelous work done by landscape architects, architects, garden designers and owners, as well as the gardeners who maintain the exemplary schemes, we would not have any material to show you in this book. Thank you to all of you for providing such a wealth of ideas. There is a garden out there to suit every one of us; it is merely waiting to be discovered.