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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I am a fairly enthusiastic gardener, but I lack knowledge. Oh, I know some of the basics – the best types of plants to grow in certain soil types, plants for different types of light, container gardening etc, so I was hoping this “bible” would take me a few steps further. Was I in for a surprise.

This book contains designs for 40 gardens, all accompanied by pretty watercolour illustrations with the occasional photograph thrown in. Each design assumes the garden is flat, and seemingly has no borders at all as there are no dimensions! Soil type is obviously not important at all as this isn't mentioned. There are a few passing references to growing vegetables. My own garden is the size of a man's handkerchief, is North facing and slopes down away from the house; the half nearest the house is clay and never sees the sun, whilst the other half has reasonably workable soil and gets a good amount of the sun in the afternoon once we're on British Summertime. All of this might sound pernickety to a total novice, but believe me, they are important factors.

What a huge disappointment this book is; it seems to be more a vehicle for the watercolour artist who illustrated it than a serious book on gardening. There is a wealth of information on the internet which is more useful than this. I doubt even the paper would be suitable for composting, and speaking of which there are only two minute references to this.
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on 24 May 2013
we have just moved into a new house and I have taken up the challange of designing the garden which is large "L" shape. I found this book to be the best I looked at for design ideas. In addition to offering many design ideas for every type of garden and climate to also suggests a planting plan for every design which is a great help when deciding which trees, shrubs and plants will work well with your particular garden climate, design and layout. There is also a section on garden structures and features. Very good purchase.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This is almost the same book as released in 2004 and again in 2007, but with a few minor changes. It is an excellent introductory text, with clearly laid out schemes for different situations and locations and shapes and sizes of garden, mostly small to medium.

All the basic principles are laid out in an understandable way, and the book will educate a beginner who is prepared to read through all the possible designs taking in the various different points raised in each. Page coverage is good with clear presentation, uncluttered diagrams and illustrations, and well organised descriptions and lists. However, there are no indications of scale or intended dimensions for each design, and without a good understanding for plant or tree sizes one could go horribly wrong when improvising on the schemes offered here.

Judging by the plants and trees suggested it is somewhat limited in scope, and really best for the small to medium garden. It is also showing its age and an experienced garden designer is unlikely to find any new ideas here. I bought my first copy from a local garden centre in 2007, but we never found any ideas that we actually used and eventually passed it on to the charity shop. I was hoping this offering from Vine would be a useful update, but alas no.

For a more worthwhile experience may I suggest having a look at this very comprehensive RHS offering, aimed at the same initial level of gardening expertise or maybe just a bit higher, but it will take one a lot further forward, and this is the book we kept and still use.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 10 March 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
The first thing to say is that this is just a second re-issue of the book which was first published in 2004 with a different cover, and re-issued in 2007. I haven't compared each and every page but as far as I can see the book is identical in every respect with no updates or enhancements.

The forty garden plans vary in size from a balcony to a courtyard to larger gardens of differing shapes. There is also a wide variety of types and styles - contemporary, formal, country, Mediterranean, Japanese, jungly, hot & dry, woodland, cottage, exposed. Each garden gets a plan (no dimensions are given), and drawings of how it might look, a planting plan and details/drawings of key features such as bespoke fencing ideas, construction materials, etc.. There is plenty of inspiration to be had and ideas that can be picked from one garden and used in a different garden. I design gardens for a living but fully appreciate that not everyone can afford to engage a designer: this book takes some of the principles and allows even relatively inexperienced gardeners to take a critical look at their plot. It has to be said that the book is a little dated now and there isn't much that a designer will find innovative or surprising but for the amateur there are worse places to start.
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on 21 September 2009
This book is just wonderful
It provides 40 designs for all sorts of gardens and outside spaces.
It gives clear instructions on how to construct the basic design and what plants are suited to such designs. The photos and painted designs are lovely and very inspirational.
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VINE VOICEon 24 March 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I've managed to avoid gardening for the balance of my adult life, the memories of my old man forcing me to spend too many of my childhood Sundays digging up weeds and mowing the lawn ensuring a preference for apartment life these past few decades. But my little lad's going to need some outdoor space pretty soon, and the neglected garden in the neglected Victorian townhouse I've just acquired will need some attention. What better, then, than a guide to making that weedy wilderness into a Japanese-themed retreat, or a minimal modernist statement, or a haven for frogs and whatnot?

Possibly something other than this book. I don't know what kind of soil I have, and in fact was barely aware there were different kinds until I read this book. And I can recognise , I think, about 3 different flowers and about 2 other plants , so giving huge lists of various plants in the Latin, without illustrations, isn't helping me any. Doubtless, this is a very inspirational book for experienced gardeners, and the photos and watercolours show what lovely effects can be achieved, but for a complete beginner like myself, it's a non-starter.
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on 10 February 2016
A useful book but disappointed that there's no measurements of the given garden designs or spaces needed for the planting guides. But you can do a mix and match to aid your own personal garden design. Excellent condition (looks new) but is a used book. The more I read it the better it becomes!
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VINE VOICEon 14 April 2016
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The formatting of this book is categorised into 40 different garden designs, which the reader could pick "off the peg" and copy. The designs include Japanese, contemporary, family, romantic, Mediterranean and other aesthetic based schemes, along with problematic / landscape considerations such as on a slope, sheltered, balcony, and coastal settings.

The book has quite a lot of tips, but I find the whole premise of the book doesn't go deep enough into any particular subject. It may be good for an absolute beginner who wants some general ideas about styles they could work towards, but I can't imagine that with the vast differences in any garden, anyone will be able to just copy the planting schemes straight from the book. In my opinion, it does not go in depth enough into the design principles behind the schemes it suggests, which would lead the reader to be able to follow their rules but tailor them to their own requirements. The schemes which are suggested for garden problems may be more helpful. I have actually found that reading other gardening books has given me a bit of an insight into why certain suggestions are made, however I think if you already had some gardening knowledge, you would want a book which was more specific to your particular type of garden or preferred styles. I didn't find the illustrations particularly inspiring, either.

Overall, it may give some inspiration and tips, but I have found other gardening books more helpful for overviews or introduction to gardening, such as those by Alan Tichmarch, which explain the theory behind its suggestions a little more than this does.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The 'Garden Design Bible' written by Tim Newbury was first published in 2004 and this paperback edition published in 2016. This book aims to help you design your garden regardless of size, shape or situation. It does this by presenting 40 'enthusiastic' garden designs complete with step by step projects and detailed planting plans.

This book measures 26cm in height x 19.2cm in width and consists of 256 full colour pages. The cover has a front and back flap which is useful for marking your place in the book.

Inside this beautiful book is a wonderful selection of forty garden plans and I have listed below just a few of them to give you some idea of what to expect.

The scented garden
Hot and dry
The secret garden
In the woods
Gravel and pots
Birds, bees and frogs
The seasonal garden
Cottage creative
Beautiful balcony
Romantic

Each plan has a whole heap of information, plants, diagrams, pictures and projects. For example 'Romantic garden' has thirteen key elements including obelisks, old fruit tree, flag paving, gothic rose arch and much more. There is a circular tile edging project and a list of 62 plants that can be used to enhance the romantic idyll.

I personally love this book and intend to use the ideas contained inside to design my own medium sized garden. We moved into our 200 year old house three years ago and it is very obvious that the garden (more like a wasteland) has not been touched in a very long time.

The thing that I like the best about this book, is the fact that with the ideas presented in the 'Garden Design Bible' you can create various 'rooms' in your garden incorporating smaller versions of some of the designs.

Although there is certainly a generous offering of plants listed that can be used in the various designs, it is easy to choose newer versions of the suggested plants if you should wish.

All in all I have no problems in recommending the 'Garden Design Bible' and I do so with confidence.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
At first I thought this book would be a bit too strict on designs, not allowing for propel who want a unique look, but while the plans are set designs, there is plenty of scope for using the planting guides and the very helpful list of possible plants, trees and flowers for each climate and theme.

Beginners will find this easy to use and full of ideas, following a set design looks pretty straight forward and even deviating from this, you can easily use parts of the design for your own different shaped garden.

However, it does seem to skirt over several important aspects, such as changing temperatures, slopes and environment types. I guess the author was going for an easy to use guide but it does fall short in providing anything on plant care or what type of soil you need for certain plants. In this respect, the book falls short of being really useful as a 'bible' and more research is really needed, though it redeems itself in being really good at providing ideas for someone designing their own garden and who is happy to do further research on the plants.

In short, it's a great book of ideas for designs and materials for things like borders and pathways but leaves you to research the rest.
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