From wanting inspiration - and practical advice - for a small front garden to a much more formidable plot, this is a great book. It covers all the basics and illustrates ideas with beautiful images of real gardens - and all written in Alan's wonderfully witty and chatty style. You can almost imagine him strolling around with you! It begins with 'wish lists' and assessing what you already have, through concepts of movement, unity, water, and colour within the garden, and finishes with suggested plant lists (ones to embrace and those to shun), and hard-landscaping materials and how to use them. On the journey he also gets down to the totally practical with clear diagrams of, for example, how to terrace a sloping site and different ways to lay bricks. I downloaded it on my Kindle and found it so inspiring and entertaining that I found it difficult to stop reading.
I bought this book, after having loaned it from the RHS library. I found it so valuable when I was planning a part of my garden. I've got a large garden to do so I thought I'd buy the book rather than keen renewing it. I'll find that the plants that are listed in this book, are often recommended by other gardeners and also in the RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. There are good illustrations of gardens to give you ideas too. Also it's light enough to take on my commute in the morning for some inspiration. I wasn't going to buy this book because all of the TV episodes are available to me and I thought that they probably had enough info in them and that the book would just be a repeat of that info. Well, that's not so, this book has a lot more info in it, particularly plant lists.
When I first saw this book, I thought it was going to be a re-packaged chunk from "How to be a Gardener", especially as it's also out of the BBC Books stable. How wrong I was.
This guide to garden design might be relatively thin in its number of pages when compared to other garden design books (which tend to weigh in at the heavier end of the scale), but it's pitched just right for anyone with a blank canvas or major garden re-vamp on their hands and struggling to know just where to start.
The first part of the book deals with the principles of design such as site survey and levels, but also including a look at particular styles such as cottage gardens. A quick guide to hard landscaping techniques then follows, though anyone contemplating a major hardscaping project may need much more detail or the services of a professional in order to ensure success. Just under half of the book is devoted to plants - designing with them, planting for the seasons and solutions for particular areas such as shade, damp, dry and windy.
About a third of each double page spread is devoted to photographs and line drawings to both inspire and inform, thus making a book that is packed with information and ideas.