The Essentials of Garden Design
By John Brookes
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9780307269027, 192pp.)
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
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John Brookes is one of the most original and creative garden designers in the world. He is known for the more than 1,200 gardens he has designed worldwide and for being an inspiring teacher. His work teaching generations of garden designers has influenced the way we look at, and think about, gardens. This book is the summation of his philosophy. It is a supremely practical, easy-to-follow, and inspiring workbook.
Brookes shows you exactly how to approach garden design. First, he gives you the basics of simple surveying, using his famous design grid. Then he gives you the tools and techniques you’ll need—how to work within the area of your site, how to use photography as an aid to garden design, how to select local plants and building materials to create a garden that looks very much at home in its setting. He shows you how to plan many kinds of gardens, large and small.
He provides case studies of gardens and of garden features across the United States and Europe to show us how each has been planned and realized. And there’s a section on frequently asked questions—on subjects ranging from how to use gravel and the best techniques for making ponds and other water features to choosing appropriate materials for a terrace and finding a reliable contractor. His advice is easily applied and always useful. He shows us how to plot a garden with paper cutouts, how to keep the garden beautiful through all seasons, ways your garden can make the best use of your local climate, and how to weigh budget and space limitations against your garden “wish list.”
The Essentials of Garden Design is ideal for those who want to design or redesign their own gardens, those who want to be armed with lots of ideas and knowledge when working with garden designers they’ve hired, and those who want to become garden designers themselves. Brookes’s tremendous flair for communicating his mastery has always been one of his key strengths, and the enthusiasm, expertise, and clarity that have made his courses so popular around the world now make this book the essential course in garden design.
John Brookes’s design courses, which were run from his own garden in Sussex, England, as well as in the South of France and Japan, and his collaboration with the Royal Botanic Gardens have helped to produce a generation of new garden designers. His extensive portfolio includes traditional English gardens, private gardens in the United States and Japan, and the English Walled Garden at the Chicago Botanic Garden. He has won numerous awards throughout his career, including four Gold Medals at the Royal Horticultural Society’s Chelsea Flower Show, and he is a member of the Order of the British Empire for his services to horticulture in the United Kingdom and overseas.