There are numerous books available that attempt to communicate both the theoretical and practical reality of construction detailing for landscapes and gardens, few succeed, tending to bias either the technical or resorting to photogenic but less than realistic examples found in show gardens.
Holden & Liversedge have done neither. Their book gives an impression of comprehensive notes from a course , combining hand drawn diagrams & observations from their own experiences and a wealth of photographs. It is refreshing and highly applicable . They have drawn images from their own library, of observed details and those of their own projects and the result is a collection of features and details, both good and bad, that we all encounter daily but perhaps fail to recognise.
There is a logic to the structure of the book but it can be frustrating to have flip back and forth
If there is a fault it is not with the content but the presentation. The diagrams are somewhat heavy in places and very reminiscent of those in Michael Littlewood's volumes. The case studies sometimes feel wanting, sacrificed to fit a one page format. It is tightly written but does give the impression that it is an edited version of a much more comprehensive draft.
Whilst there is a lot of information here it is focused on the use of materials (glass, timber, brick etc) and how they are used to construct elements (walls, paving etc). Whilst the assembly of materials is touched on, do not expect solutions or readymade diagrams to specific detailing. There is background information on the main subjects and a comprehensive list of additional resources is listed, although this might have been better included alongside the relevant text rather than as an appendix. There are some gems of data that, whilst not directly relevant, convey Holden & Liversedge's obvious enthusiasm and curiosity of the constructed world around us (such as the step ratios of landmark buildings in London).
The informal presentation might not appeal to everyone but in combination with the authors knowledge and experiences of construction it does make the book a very approachable starting point.