The phrase “form follows function” coined by American architect Louis Sullivan takes on new meaning in this book Yard and Garden Makeovers by George Kay and Brian Kay. Although the phrase is usually associated with modernist architecture and industrial design in the 20th century, the authors contend that it is an effective principle to use when designing a garden or landscaping a yard because it leads to thoughtful, intentional choices rather than stereotypical or trendy ones. Whether your yard is bare from new construction or filled with aging trees and shrubs, this book can help you make the right choices to create a landscape the meets you needs and fulfills your dreams.
The book is divided into two parts. The first introduces the basic principles of landscape design and guides the reader through the processes, using the premise of form follows function. After discussing the evaluation of the assets and liabilities of the landscape, the authors turn to the particular problems of designing the front yard and then the back yard. Since the functions of these two areas are quite different, the design solutions are also very different and the authors illustrate their ideas with examples of actual houses and yards with before and after photographs and actual design plans. An additional chapter deals with making a master plan and includes budget considerations as well as planning for the future.
The second part of the book gives guidance for making good selection of a landscape professional, structures, and plants, again using “form follows function” as the guiding principle. The section on plants is the most extensive and provides information about plants organized by their function e.g. shade trees over 40 feet tall, small deciduous trees, and large deciduous shrubs. Each plant entry includes size, hardiness zones, and a brief description of the assets of the plant. The plants are keyed to the design plans presented in part one by number.