Contemporary American Gardens
Monacelli Press, Hardcover, 9781580933230, 261pp.
Publication Date: October 25, 2011
Sweeping, voluptuous, and authoritative, Private Paradise instantly joins an elite collection of great and inspiring garden design books. Charlotte Frieze presents forty-one cutting-edge gardens, all richly photographed and profusely illustrated, emphasizing design, climate, and horticulture.
Overarching themes of Aqua, Arcadia, Bold Geometry, Color, Nightscapes, Oasis, Sanctuary, and Urban cogently frame chapters about the challenges presented by the land, the climate, and the client’s interests. Located throughout the United States, these gardens demonstrate the intersection between traditional elements of garden design and current concerns such as sustainability, drought tolerance, and use of native plants.
Private Paradise features the work of the most talented landscape architects and garden designers working in the United States today, including Topher Delaney, Marta Fry, Kathryn Gustafson, Raymond Jungles, Steve Koch, Ron Lutsko, Steve Martino, Pamela Palmer, Ken Smith, Christine Ten Eyck, and Thomas Wolz. In a publication that rightfully takes its place on the sturdy foundation of a century’s worth of garden surveys and design monographs, Private Paradise creates a compelling portrait of contemporary landscape design.
Charles A. Birnbaum is founder and president of the Cultural Landscape Foundation. A Fellow of the American Society of Landscape Architects, he previously served as coordinator of the National Park Service Historic Landscape Initiative.
"Gorgeous photos of striking and elegant gardens surrounding lavish homes in spectacular settings—the stuff of daydreams, but also of ideas that might be adaptable by a real-world gardener." —Chicago Tribune
"Anyone searching for inspiration in the garden should check out Charlotte Frieze’s Private Paradise (Monacelli), a dazzling compendium of American designs with a contemporary sensibility in both concept and execution. Unexpected nontraditional materials such as glass and Corten steel spring to life in stunning oases marrying crisp geometry and organic exuberance. Frieze, the longtime garden editor of House & Garden, approaches her subject with a scholarly voice and the credentials of a licensed landscape architect. She’s the perfect cicerone for a journey through the best of garden design."—Los Angeles Times Magazine
"The images in the book are appropriately lush (shot by such well-known photographers as Tim Street-Porter, Marion Brenner, and Billy Cunningham), but Frieze...accompanies the photos with brief but well-considered essays that look to place each designer's plan into a conceptual frame." —Garden Design
"It’s definitely a hot one.... This is not your typical garden book—although there is beauty and allure throughout. This is about the art of exterior design. You can see novels in them, all kinds, in the locales. This is not the Chelsea Flower Show ad infinitum....
Private Paradise is an interesting book for gardeners obviously, but for the non-gardeners like this writer, it is an eye-opener of what a garden can be.... They are emphatically luxurious. But it is nature’s luxury for a change, not the consumer’s; and you get the designers’ motives. The gardens are inspirational. It got me thinking about my own poor little basic New York apartment house terrace, and how it’s just waiting for some of this sensibility to take it in hand." —David Patrick Columbia, New York Social Diary
"It's soothing to look at Charlotte Frieze's beautiful latest book, Private Paradise: Contemporary American Gardens, to store up mental green to get us through the winter. Ms. Frieze is a longtime writer and landscape architect who manages to be accessible, charming and precise in her descriptions of the beauties and eccentricities of these private gardens and the residences that go with them, which we generally would never be allowed to see directly. And she tells engaging back stories of their creation. (She herself gardens on a windy point on Buzzards Bay).
Ms. Frieze looks at gardens all over the country, in very different climates and geologies. There are a couple of New England pictures in this gorgeous book, both from the rich Boston suburb of Lincoln (above), known for its high-tech and financial-services moguls. And settings include some landscapes that are far more exotic, even bizarre, than you might imagine. The book is filled with great visual ingenuity.
Ms. Frieze, with her superb text, and a group of terrific photographers, such as [Peter C.] Jones, takes us on a memorable trip through these beautifully designed pages. You'll want to spend a particularly long time in it during our next snowstorm. You might not be financially rich, but you'll feel aesthetically enriched in this coffee-table triumph." —Robert Whitcomb, Providence Journal online