Reading recommendation: Outdoors

The Garden Design Book for the Twenty-first Century by Diarmuid Gavin & Terence Conran

cover photo by John GloverDespite temperatures that are reluctant to comply, today is the first day of spring, and, as such, a great day to sink into a lush garden book.Outdoors is a big (14” x 10 ¼”), beautiful book by an accomplished garden designer and celebrated taste-maker.It is at once inspirational and practical -- my favorite type of design book.

It’s organized by garden themes, including rural, urban, entertaining, natural, family, productive, and relax/work.Each chapter includes broad-stroke examples of design principles at work and one or two case studies which examine a specific garden in greater detail.Gorgeous photography from gardens around the world illustrates a wide range of styles, all exquisitely designed.I was particularly enamored with the “natural” and “productive” chapters, but I found treats sprinkled throughout the book.There are some fantastic topiaries in the “rural” chapter on pages 56/57, and others in the “family” chapter on pages 168/169.Not surprisingly, the “relax/work” chapter appealed to my fondness for backyard retreats too.

The primary, thematic garden chapters are framed by two, text-driven chapters. The first includes a conversation between the authors about their inspirations.The last, entitled “practical,” is just that; it offers insight into planning a garden and working with a garden designer, as well as plant and material lists to consider.

This one is a keeper.Give it a look.It just might rush spring-like temperatures along.

by Katie Hutchison for the House Enthusiast