Themed Book Lists

25 Books on Gardens, Landscape, and Design

July 9, 2014

From Gardens for a Beautiful America 1895-1935: Photographs by Frances Benjamin Johnston, by Sam Watters (Acanthus Press, 2012)

Summer makes us think of gardens and green spaces. Here are 25 books on gardens and landscape from our contributing designers and publishers—featuring gardens from Newport estates to Manhattan rooftops, and from Brazil to ancient Babylon.

American Gardens Sam Watters Editor

Presents a collection of classic gardens by early leaders in American landscape architecture, including from the estates of Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, John D. Rockefeller, Isabella Stewart Gardener, and R. J. Reynolds.

Architecture Now! Landscape Philip Jodidio

From the Publisher. One of the hottest areas of contemporary design is landscape architecture. No matter what the architectural style of the moment, the green areas around houses, stadiums or corporate headquarters have taken on a considerable importance, all the more so with the emphasis on ecology and green design. This book calls on the work of the top designers of the moment, from Ken Smith, author of the Museum of Modern Art’s rooftop garden, to West 8 from Rotterdam, but also on architects ranging from Steven Holl to Tadao Ando, who have long been fascinated by the environments of their buildings. There are new names like the Lebanese landscape architect Vladimir Djurovic and well-known ones like Renzo Piano. There are established firms, like the Wirtz family from Belgium or Gustafson Porter from the United States, and young creators like Sophie Agata Ambroise from Lugano. Landscape architecture may not always be easy to delimit, but this new book opens the doors and windows of today’s architecture into the gardens of tomorrow.

Avant Gardeners Tim Richardson
Foreword by Martha Schwartz

From the Publisher. In recent years, garden and landscape design has witnessed a burgeoning of new ideas. Recent garden plans have embraced the latest thinking in science and materials, and have appropriated ideas from related disciplines such as architecture and product design. One indication of the rise in popularity of these designs has been the growing number of conceptual garden festivals, which have become a premier showcase for new concepts.

This book profiles the work of fifty innovative designers through informative texts, photographs, and plans. Essays explore the underlying principles of these highly individual approaches and show how a new generation has rejected the naturalistic tradition of Western garden design, favoring instead the influences of Modernism, Postmodernism, Pop Art, and Land Art.

Tim Richardson is a highly respected writer on garden and landscape design. His books include The Vanguard Landscapes and Gardens of Martha Schwartz.

Beatrix Farrand’s American Landscapes: Her Gardens and Campuses Diana Balmori
Diane Kostial-Maguire
Eleanor M. McPeck

This illustrated biography explores the life and work of Beatrix Farrand (1872-1959), “one of America’s greatest landscape architects,” culminating with her greatest designs at Dumbarton Oaks in Washington, D.C., the Rockefeller gardens at Seal Harbor, Maine, and at Princeton and Yale Universities.

Detailing for Landscape Architects Thomas Ryan

From the Publisher. Based upon the best-selling book Architectural Detailing by Edward Allen and Patrick Rand, Landscape Architectural Detailing applies the same organization to the three major concerns of the landscape architecture detailer- function, constructability, and aesthetics. Richly illustrated, this book approaches landscape architecture detailing in a systematic manner and provides a framework for analyzing existing details and devising new ones. Landscape Architectural Detailing includes material on details related to aesthetics, water drainage and movement, structures, construction assemblies, sustainable resources, and more!

Digital Landscape Architecture Now Nadia Amoroso

From the Publisher. Despite its importance to place-making, urban planning, and the environment, landscape design has often played an inferior role to architecture. Typically, as little as three percent of a project’s construction budget is allocated to the space that surrounds a building, but that is changing. A greater desire to blend buildings into their contexts, ecological considerations, legislation, and new definitions of “scaping” have opened up exciting possibilities. Coinciding with heightened social sensitivities, advances in material application, data-driven mapping techniques, and digital technologies and construction methods, landscape designers are producing a new wave of work around the world, reshaping gardens, public squares, leisure areas, and industrial parks. Among the practices included in this survey are designers who have bridged modernism with newer forms (Emergent, West 8); architects whose work fuses with the earth’s contours (Zaha Hadid, MVRDV); and a generation of designers only just emerging from universities.

Nadia Amoroso is Professor of Landscape Architecture at the University of Toronto and has lectured at Harvard and Cornell universities.

Drawing and Reinventing Landscape, AD Primer Diana Balmori

From the Publisher. Representation is a hot topic in landscape architecture. While computerization has been a catalyst for change across many fields in design, no other design field has experienced such drastic reinvention as has landscape architecture. As the world urbanizes rapidly and our relationship with nature changes, it is vitally important that landscape designers adopt innovative forms of representation—whether digital, analog, or hybrid.

In this book, author Diana Balmori explores notions of representation in the discipline at large and across time. She takes readers from landscape design’s roots in 17th-century France and 18th-century England through to modern attempts at representation made by contemporary landscape artists. The book features historic works and those by leading contemporary practitioners, such as Bernard Lassus, Richard Haag, Stig L Andersson, Lawrence Halprin, and Patricia Johanson.

Exploring Gardens & Green Spaces Magda Salvesen

From the Publisher. Nestled all along the northeast corridor, a profusion of horticultural gems and designed landscapes beckons visitors, from celebrated formal parks, estates, and arboretums to less familiar—and often hard to find—gardens. This unique guidebook features 148 of them, providing readers with an incomparable resource for locating and exploring the region’s green spaces—many with historic homes at their center. Featuring more than three hundred color photographs and twenty-nine maps, with a fund of practical information for each entry—including transportation, nearby eateries, and other sites of interest, Exploring Gardens and Green Spaces is a veritable tour guide at your fingertips, showcasing an array of gardens that await discovery.

Gardening Vertically Noémie Vialard

From the Publisher. Until recently the idea of vertical gardening was limited to growing climbing plants on walls and trellises. Here step-by-step photographs guide the reader through the different stages in the creation of a vertical garden, or the green wall. There are also twenty-four different ideas for vertical garden compositions, each beautifully rendered in Dominique Klecka's illustrations with simple instructions to help you to create and maintain it yourself.

The Gardens of Roberto Burle Marx Sima Eliovson

The great Brazilian landscape architect's bold use of striking plant materials make him the most influential designer since Gertrude Jekyll. This study, done with Burle Marx's cooperation, traces the roots of his artistic vision and illustrates the plants he grew for use in his own designs.

The Gardens of Russell Page Marina Schinz
Gabrielle Van Zuylen

A celebration of the work of garden designer Russell Page (1906–85) complete with hundreds of photographs of his most beautiful and captivating garden creations in England, the United States, and throughout Europe.

Gardens for a Beautiful America 1895-1935 Sam Watters

From the Publisher. Presents for the first time 250 colored photographs of urban and suburban gardens taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston—photographer of presidents, celebrity authors, tastemakers, and estates of the County House Era.

From Newport to the Hamptons, from Los Angeles to San Francisco, from New York to Richmond, in France, Italy and England, visit the city and country gardens of the wealthy and fashionable—Cornelius and Alice Vanderbilt II, J.P. and Frances Morgan, Henry and Arabella Huntington, George and Helen Crocker, author Edith Wharton, Parliament member Lady Nancy Astor, and Chicago-born Baroness von Ketteler—who lived with style and chic from coast to coast and abroad. Working with legions of skilled gardeners, America’s leading architects and landscape designers transformed thousands of farmland acres into estates as beautiful and lavish as those at princely villas and châteaux. Here are the parterres of The Breakers, a children’s boxwood playground at Mille Fiori, a violet and azur canal at Thornedale, a classical temple at Weld, a lyrical fountain at Burrwood, Persian terraces at El Feuridis and butterfly lakes at Middleton Place, all in gardens that glowed with emerald lawn carpets, cascades of French roses and exotics from China and South America.

In illuminating detail, author Sam Watters tells the stories behind these floral retreats, flawlessly preserved in photographs by celebrity photographer Frances Benjamin Johnston. Eminent landscape architect Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. considered her alluring images “the finest” of American gardens.

Read Author Q&A on Designers & Books.

Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition Robert Pogue Harrison

From the Publisher. This book offers an examination of the many ways gardens evoke the human condition. It shows how the garden has served as a check against the destruction and losses of history. The ancients, explains Harrison, viewed gardens as both a model and a location for the laborious self-cultivation and self-improvement that are essential to serenity and enlightenment, an association that has continued throughout the ages. The Bible and Qur’an; Plato’s Academy and Epicurus’s Garden School; Zen rock and Islamic carpet gardens; Boccaccio, Rihaku, Capek, Cao Xueqin, Italo Calvino, Ariosto, Michel Tournier, and Hannah Arendt—all come into play as this work explores the ways in which the concept and reality of the garden has informed human thinking about mortality, order, and power.

Interior Gardens Haike Falkenberg

From the Publisher. Interior Gardens offer a wide range of ecological and economic advantages, such as improving the indoor climate and the atmosphere of the workplace and thus enhancing the quality of life are the key parameters for this special design brief. This title provides a comprehensive introduction to planning and implementing these special gardens: From basic design ideas and concept development via selecting materials to the various construction principles, all the subjects relevant to planning are presented and illustrated with a large number of examples from all over the world.

A History of Garden Art Marie Luise Gothein

A standard and comprehensive work on landscape gardening, with more than 600 illustrations, by the Prussian scholar and gardener Marie Luise Gothein (1863–1931). When the first English-language edition (1928) of this German study was published, sections on "modern" English and American gardens were added.

Landscape Alchemy Hargreaves Associates

From the Publisher. Hargreaves Associates has been at the forefront of landscape architectural practices since its founding in 1983, creating a narrative approach to landscape architecture that layers history, ecology, and environmental phenomena. Whether reductive or rich, highly programmed or passive, culturally interpretive or teeming with the phenomena of nature's own systems, the built landscapes of Hargreaves Associates emphasize the power of connection to day-to-day life. This volume presents projects from throughout the 25-year history of the firm and highlights the firm's role in advancing the reoccupation of postindustrial sites, including the reclamation of waterfronts within the United States, Europe, and Australia. The book also shows how the firm works with cultural landscape, urban parks, smaller plazas, and gardens. Included are details on Hargreaves' innovative entries in recent landscape architectural competitions, including its stunning design of a 270-acre Victorian-style pleasure garden for the 2012 London Olympics.

The Landscape Imagination James Corner

From the Publisher. Over the past two decades, James Corner has reinvented the field of landscape architecture. His highly influential writings of the 1990s, included in our bestselling Recovering Landscape, together with a post-millennial series of built projects, such as New York's celebrated High Line, prove that the best way to address the problems facing our cities is to embrace their industrial past. Collecting Corner's written scholarship from the early 1990s through 2010, The Landscape Imagination addresses critical issues in landscape architecture and reflects on how his writings have informed the built work of his thriving New York based practice, Field Operations.

A Landscape Manifesto Diana Balmori
Introduction by Michael Conan

From the Publisher. This book presents Balmori’s most complete vision yet of the theory and practice of urban landscape design as a discipline that combines the science of ecology with the formal aspects of aesthetics. Here, Balmori advocates a new formal language that reflects a philosophical shift in our traditional understanding of nature, along with “realignments” in how humans relate to nature and live in our world today, changes that will shape the livable city of the future. A Landscape Manifesto includes discussions of urban ecology, environmental conservation, and environmentally beneficial building techniques. Projects by Balmori Associates, which include the Memphis Riverfront and a port area newly reclaimed by the Guggenheim Bilbao, illuminate Balmori’s innovations.

The Language of Landscape Anne Whiston Spirn

From the Publisher. This eloquent and powerful book combines poetry and pragmatism to teach the language of landscape and thereby to avoid making profound aesthetic and environmental mistakes in landscape design. Using examples that range across thousands of years and five continents, Anne Spirn examines urban, rural, and natural landscapes and calls for change in the way we shape and respond to them.

The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon Stephanie Dalley

Recognized in ancient times as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the legendary Hanging Garden of Babylon and its location remain to this day a mystery steeped in shadow and puzzling myths. Now offering a brilliant solution to a question that has challenged archeologists for centuries, The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon is an exciting story of detection as well as a lavishly illustrated and vividly written description of a little-known civilization.

In this remarkable volume, Stephanie Dalley, a world expert on ancient Babylonian language, gathers in one place for the first time all the material on this enigmatic wonder. Tracing the history of the Garden, Dalley describes how deciphering an ancient Assyrian text--and comparing it to sculpture in the British Museum--provided the clues that enabled her to pin down where the Garden was positioned (it was not the Babylon we know today) and to describe in detail what it may have looked like. The author also offers a groundbreaking description of the technology behind the Hanging Garden's water supply, highlighting a very early occurrence of the "water-raising screw." And through her dramatic and fascinating reconstruction of the Garden, Dalley is also able to follow its influence on later garden design.

The New Garden Paradise Dominique Browning

From the Publisher. A celebration in words and breathtaking images of thirty-five landscapes created for private clients by today's preeminent designers. This is a time of renewed originality in garden design. The last twenty years have seen a lucky confluence of money and talent lavished on gardening, and the results are surprising, enchanting, sometimes even controversial. The range of possibilities suggested by these thirty-five gardens is extraordinary: from Jacques Wirtz’s undulating beech hedges that recede mysteriously into the mist to Penelope HobhouseÆs latest interpretation of the traditional English garden, to Martha Schwartz’s Texas creation of red, yellow, and pink painted garden rooms. These hidden masterworks of modern gardening are unlocked for us by the authority, experience, and resources of House & Garden magazine. Every page is an invitation to explore landscapes that have never before been seen by the public--and may never be seen again. International in scope and lavish in its production, this book is the last word on the state of design in the garden world.

Paths of Desire Dominique Browning

From the Publisher. With the same warmth, wisdom, wit, and accessibility that readers have come to love and trust in her monthly column, House & Garden editor in chief Dominique Browning offers this lively, charming, and instructive story of restoring a neglected suburban garden.

Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley Jane Garmey
Photography by John M. Hall

From the Publisher. Private Gardens of the Hudson Valley surveys the majestic landscape that borders the Hudson River, an area rich in history and unique garden designs. The scenery, which encompasses riverfront meadows, craggy hills, and long open valleys, is inherently dramatic.

Twenty-six private gardens are presented here, chosen to establish a sense of place and to convey the romance of the landscape. John Hall’s photographs give a privileged view of the life within, while Jane Garmey’s warm and engaging narrative traces the development of the gardens and the great pleasure their owners take in nurturing them. As Garmey notes in her introduction, each of these gardens has been made by the owner, and special attention given to the transition between the cultivated garden and the grandeur of the larger landscape beyond.

The splendid setting of the Hudson Valley encompasses an almost infinite variety of design approaches from formal and traditional to naturalistic and an equal range of scale from multiple gardens within a vast estate to charmingly diminutive spaces between historic village houses. All have much to tell us about the complexity, challenges, and finally the unforgettable pleasure of making a garden.

Private Landscapes Pamela Burton

From the Publisher. The first and only book to focus on the modernist gardens of Southern California is now available in paperback. In Private Landscapes, landscape architect Pamela Burton and interior designer Marie Botnick profile twenty significant gardens, and their accompanying houses, by the most celebrated architects of mid century modernism, including Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, A. Quincy Jones, and John Lautner. Featuring Julius Shulman’s iconic black-and-white photographs of the original gardens as well as Tim Street-Porter’s crisp color images of contemporary restorations and updates, Private Landscapes shows why these gardens continue to provide inspiration for gardeners and designers everywhere.

Rooftop Gardens Denise LeFrak Calicchio

From the Publisher. Idyllic urban oases offer inspiration to anyone yearning to add nature and serenity to an outdoor living space. Rooftop Gardens showcases some of the most unique and extraordinary outdoor spaces in New York City that urban dwellers have created as retreats from the daily chaos of life. A sumptuous array of gardens ranging in style from working to exotic fills the pages, a diverse selection befitting different scales and changing seasons. From the lush produce garden of Eli’s Vinegar Factory to a glass-enclosed conservatory perched atop Park Avenue in which amaryllis, paperwhite narcissus, and cyclamen grow during the winter months, this stunning portfolio illustrates innovative and original ways to design one’s own outdoor sanctuary—be it sky-high or ground level—and is a must-have for homeowners, decorators, and landscape architects alike.

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