The Essential Garden Design Workbook

Front Cover
Timber Press, 2017 - Gardens - 392 pages
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A bestselling classic completely revised and updated

The third edition of The Essential Garden Design Workbook is fully updated with new color photograph and illustrations, garden plans, and growing information for the top fifty plants no designer should be without. You'll also find updated information on designing with computer-aided design (CAD), details on sustainability ad biodiversity, and important advice on working with contractors.

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A must have !!!

User Review  - karnie09 -

This book is very well written and informative. A must have for anyone going intoLandscape Design. Great illustrations and photos. Read full review


PreDesign Phase
Design Phase
PostDesign Phase
Further Reading
Photo and Illustration Credits
About the Authors

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About the author (2017)

The first edition of this book was published in 2004, followed by the second edition in 2009, and although most of our approach to garden design is still relevant, our awareness of our responsibility to the planet and to the health and well-being of future generations has become an important factor in the way we now plan and plant our gardens, which affects both the functional surface materials and the plant
materials that we use. Concerns for sustainability and the carbon footprint inspire us to research suitable local materials and choose plants for attributes other than simply the texture of the paving or the colour of the flowers. Water remains a precious commodity, one that is not necessarily employed on keeping lawns green; now we recycle it, harvesting rainwater and including systems to disperse flooding. Stringent regulations for new buildings and commercial and parking areas must be followed to ensure public safety and long-term planning. Green roofs and living walls, and the benefits they bring to polluted areas, are now an accepted part of city life.

This new edition is focused on potential designers, design students, newly qualified designers, and professional gardeners, although the chapters included in Part 2 may appeal to more experienced designers hoping to develop their design skills. Garden design, an increasingly respected profession, continues to be about organising and shaping spaces in much the same way as architecture. To be a good designer two qualities are essential: first to see things clearly and understand their intrinsic nature, and secondly to analyse the value of what is seen, identifying good and bad points and deciding how best they may be used or concealed. For the professional designer, identifying what is wanted in both possible and practical terms results from close collaboration with the owners. Although the space must be comfortable for people and for plants, families evolve, children grow up, and different needs arise at the other end of the scale, when owners find they have less time or energy. The usual purpose of a garden is to enhance the lives of those who own it without imposing a stressful burden; designers must therefore understand how much maintenance can realistically be devoted to the garden before beginning the design process.

Cost may also be a critical factor, and here a designer should have an up-to-date repertoire of the latest materials, including those that are local, recycled, or eco-friendly. Awareness of legal considerations and the restrictions imposed by many civic authorities, perhaps requiring the use of permeable and sustainable materials, goes hand in hand with an awareness of the scarcity of water and how this influences what plants can be grown.

Construction materials are constantly evolving, and the range of colours, textures, and finishes has never been more exciting. New methods of lighting and creating water features serve the fast-moving contemporary-living clientele, and more building firms are undertaking responsible garden construction. With property programmes attracting large audiences on television, the garden is now valued as a financial asset similar to the kitchen or main rooms of a house. The range of plants continues to increase, with over 70,000 plants listed in the current edition of the Royal Horticultural Society''s RHS Plant Finder. New introductions are coming through regularly, and a designer needs to know which plants are worthwhile additions to an existing plant palette, beauty of flower no longer being the sole criterion. Longevity in flower, an attractive skeletal frame during winter months, proven allure to wildlife--all have become determining factors in the selection process. Tree nurseries now stock a large range of mature plants suited to the "instant" society in which we now live, but the process of delivering and planting these heavy and costly items must be considered at an early stage of the design process.

To the uninitiated, garden design may appear an easy subject--a garden is altered by widening a border here, adding a few new plants there--but this is a gross misconception. Garden design is a multidisciplinary and growing profession, and designers are required to master a range of techniques and skills to sell their services in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

To explain and develop your ideas to a client, it is vital that you communicate by presenting your ideas on paper. Many designers and landscape architects now favour CAD (computer-aided design), but the market for hand-drawn plans continues, many clients preferring this more personal and visually attractive depiction of their new garden.

This book takes you step by step through the whole design process, providing drawn examples of how a site develops through the various stages. You need not be artistic to draw up a presentable plan, but in this book we go back to basics, explaining which drawing materials are needed and how to use them, how to survey a site and draw a plan to scale, and finally, how to back up your presentation with technical details, visuals, moodboards, and of course, a specification and costing for the complete job. Experimenting with different design themes will give you a number of design options, and techniques such as developing your plan on a grid system will ensure that house and garden are linked. Once the crucial garden layout plan has been approved, the planting plan follows. This is yet another complex process, resulting in an itemised and labelled plan indicating where and in what quantity each plant should be placed in the new borders; this will also be a working drawing, so it must be clear and easy to follow--even when consulted outdoors on a wet and windy day. Sometimes an elevation drawing will help make your intentions clear, and often good graphics and colour rendering are persuasive in securing the work.

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