Books for Nature Lovers
Easy Guide to Landscape Design for the Home Owner
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Review By: South African Journal of Botany 76 (2010) 808-811

This book contains 11 chapters: To begin with; measuring up; In the mood; Scale and other design principles; A room with a view; Walls, floors and ceilings; The purpose of plants; Styles; Accessorise and personalise; Redesigning and revamping and The cost of things to come. 

The Glossary defines many of the common terms used in the book and would be quite useful to readers challenged by uniquely South African words, for example: 'bakkie', 'boma', and 'lapa'. 
Unfortunately the list of Useful contacts contained in the Addendum is not much use as this information, in the form of URL addresses, would be out of date very soon however, the metric conversion table, mathematical formulae and list of common invader plants in South Africa will be more useful. There is also a brief index. 

The importance of thorough planning in the initial phases of a landscape project of this nature is emphasized in the early chapters of this book to avoid costly mistakes that will have to be rectified at a later date. Producing a 'site plan' is essential of correct placing of important landscaping elements such as steps, driveways and swimming pools. To avoid many of the pitfalls inherent in a project of this magnitude the author discusses several novel ideas as aids in planning the garden from the inception to completion of the project.

First impressions can sometimes be deceiving and thumbing through the carefully laid out text and photographs do not give weight to all the excellent information and wisdom contained in the text, penned by the author with more than 40 years worth of experience in the trade. His introduction of a 'mood board' (Chapter3, page 21) is quite a novel idea and ensures that the completed garden will be more in harmony with the home and together with the plants and the 'hard landscape elements'', form a ' visual collection' of colour, form and texture that can be appreciated by all who spend some time in the garden. The layout of the book is attractive and modern and the copious use of colour illustrations on every page gives the reader much food for thought and many ideas to include in the design of the garden. 
Whether a new garden is being developed form scratch or a badly planned or dilapidated one revitalized, this book is a valuable addition to the gardener or developer's bookshelf and is highly recommended. 

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South Africa