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Timeless Landscape Design: The Four-Part Master Plan Kindle Edition
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I will allow, the photographs are glorious (SOMETHING had to fill the 200 pages of this tome; it certainly isn't inciteful text), as they should be in all coffee table books. However, one would at the very least hope for a few inspiring pictures; unfortunately the photos chosen clearly lean to spare, colorless landscapes employing lots of expensive hardscaping and precious little pizazz. And don't look for any recommendations on plant material; the photo captions often detail the architect of the house, but mention plant material only in the broadest strokes.
So, fellow gardeners, save the $29 bucks and head off to your local nursery and select a pretty perennial for your garden. I can assure you it will be more inspiring than this disappointing book.
My original post:
I may be missing the value of this book, but to me it offered neither the specific advice and knowledge I crave or the beautiful photographs that inspire me. Some of the photos are even out of focus. There are much better books for both desires - gorgeous photos and real gardening wisdom - so I would not recommend this book to a fellow gardener. Again, I may have missed the point, but to me, it offered precious little value.
Over the past three decades, Mary and Hugh Dargan have been creating award-winning landscapes for their clients. That professional achievement has been accomplished with the help of The Four Part Master Plan, a landscape design method they developed and perfected over time. Essentially, this book summarizes and elaborates upon the Dargan's plan so that others may use it as a guide to creating successful, seamless, landscape designs.
The Master Plan begins with The Approach and Arrival Sequence, an appreciation for the critical, visual experience associated with the simple act of coming home and parking the car. In this opening segment, attention is paid to the driveway, the front walk, and the home's entrance.
The second section, called The Hub, deals with the integration of the house into the land and focuses on the home's exterior presence. Here the authors examine the instantaneous perception that tells the eye, and the brain, if the house is, or is not, well integrated into the property.
The third component of the plan addresses the outdoor experiences of everyday life. Aptly titled The Perimeter, it encompasses ways to blend seamlessly the indoor and outdoor design schemes. It also embraces borrowed views and vistas found in the exterior. Topics mentioned in this section vary from terraces and arbors to lawn entertainment.
The final component discusses the function of garden refuges. Titled Passages to Destinations, it deals with outdoor experiences that are set away from the house itself. These may include flower borders, a bench under a tree, or a secluded garden room. At this stage of planning, the least pragmatic concerns of homeowners are addressed, i.e. the dreams and emotional needs that the landscape design must satisfy.
However, it is the outset of the book that is pivotal to understanding the authors' philosophical approach to landscape design. Titled Sources and Inspiration, this prologue discusses the application of art and design principles to the landscaping of a property. An extraordinarily well done preamble, it emphasizes the important role that art plays in what is clearly a creative endeavor.
Unlike some books, that appeal mostly to the weekend gardener, this beautifully illustrated academic work, is best suited to students of landscape architecture and garden design. Therefore, it is not a quick read - it is intended for studious absorption.
Nevertheless, it will appeal to all readers, regardless of their level of professional training or landscaping experience. The authors have taken instructional material and written its text in a warm and friendly style, an appreciated approach usually reserved for the sharing of a beautiful journey.
Lushly enhanced with diagrams and photographs, this publication offers strong visual references to historic, inspirational gardens, as well as superb design examples from the authors' professional archives. So rich is the content that astute readers may learn a great deal about landscape design simply by admiring the photographs that appear, so generously, on every page.
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