Garden Design Syliva CroweWhether you want an English style garden, a Japanese garden or a prairie garden there are certain underlying design principles that will lead to success. Sylvia Crowe, a distinguished and influential English landscape architect, examines these principles and provides guidelines for their use in contemporary landscapes in her book, Garden Design. The book was originally published in 1958 but has been updated several times. This edition is the third and is considered a basic work for anyone concerned with garden design.

In order to establish a background for developing the principles of garden design, Crowe begins with descriptions of historically important and internationally acclaimed gardens such as Shalamar gardens in Pakistan, the Alhambra in Spain, Vaux-le-Vicomte in France, Villa Lante in Italy, Stourhead in England, and the Stroll Garden at the Katsura Imperial Palace in Kyoto, Japan. After a brief review of modern day gardening trends the author proceeds to consider the principles of garden design in detail. Believing that unity is the greatest design principle, and the one that is most lacking in many gardens today, she notes that “all the great gardens of the world have a unity both of execution and conception which shows that they were created in singleness of thought. The author continues to elaborate on the principles of garden design drawing examples from well-known outstanding gardens to illustrate her points.

The next part of the book deals with the materials of design and considers landform, plant material , water features, sculptural forms, garden boundaries and ground pattern. In this part the reader can learn such methods as using water to bring life and movement to the garden, organizing plants in sculptural compositions, and extending asense of space with a ha-ha. The final part of the book looks at specialized gardens including shared garden and the linked park system.

Garden Design is a classic book. It considers garden history, principles of garden design, methods of achieving, and bringing the pleasure of gardens to many people. It is aimed at landscape architects but has a lot to offer garden designers and anyone interested in the past, present, and future of gardens.

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By Karen