Saturday, June 8, 2013

Garden Design by DK Publshing

DK is celebrating spring with its Spring into Gardening promotion. I'm a little late in posting this so if gardening is your thing and you need some gardening books for help, motivation or inspiration, hop on over to DK's website for some great deals on gardening books. Here's my review on one of them:

Garden Design guides the gardener through the design process of creating a perfect outdoor space. It also includes practical advice on implement the plan by picking the best plants and materials.

This book is awesome! It's packed with large wonderful photographs and useful advice. It provided me with tons of inspiration and ideas for my garden that just might keep me busy for years. The book is separated into four logical sections: how to design, choosing a style, making a garden, plant and material guide.

The how to design section starts off things to consider before starting. It then goes through reading plans, using shapes and layouts as well as other design elements. It talks about colour and materials for "hard" items, such was surfaces, screens, structures, etc. and the "soft" items (plants) in general terms. The creating a site plan part goes through some key aspects of creating a plan and looking at options. A planting plan is next. I absolutely loved all of the examples given as well as the case studies, but the rest of the information was a little too brief for me to get a good handle on it.

The choosing a style section briefly explains the different styles. It then launches into more detailed explanations of each one featuring key design elements, influences, garden to visit (for inspiration) before showing some examples. In all, the book goes through 14 different styles. They include: formal, cottage, Japanese, urban, country, modernist, and many more. I have such eclectic tastes that I can't decide which one I like best. I love the clean, straight lines and minimalism of the modernist; the beauty and simplicity of the Japanese; the quirky and fun fusion garden; the originality of the concept garden; and even though I don't have children, the functionality of the family garden. Maybe when I win the lottery I can have one of each.

The making a garden section offers practical information on following through with the plans. The building garden structures part has how-to information on laying a path/patio, building a deck/fence/pergola, as well as putting in a pond. The planting techniques part looks at how-to plant and care for your garden.

Finally, the plant and material guide, suggests options for what to put in your garden. The plant part suggests options for the "soft" item, like trees, shrubs, perennials. I love that the legend for the symbols used is on every other page. No flipping back and forth! For each plant, there's a photo along with a general description. It also lists the size, sun/shade needs, water requirements, and hardiness. Unfortunately, this book doesn't use the hardiness zones we use here in Canada. Instead, it describes plants as being "fully hardy" or "hardy in mild regions/sheltered sites". That's nice, but I'm not sure what that means exactly. There's also a list of suggested alternatives.

The materials guide suggests options for the hard landscaping items in your yard; surfaces, walls and railings, screen and gates, structures and storage, and more. For each option, there's a photo, general descriptions, low/medium/high cost, durability, and colour options. Some of these options are just gorgeous. I had no idea that some of them even existed. I could get really carried away. Unfortunately, my budget has limits.

The table of contents is pretty good. It lists the four main sections along with major items within those sections. The index is quite extensive.

Highly recommended.

For more information about this book or to browse inside, please visit DK's website.

I'd like to thank those nice people at DK Canada for this review copy.

Garden Design by DK Publishing, Dorling Kindersley (DK), ©2009. ISBN 9780756642747(Hardcover), 360p.

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