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Designing with Grasses [Kindle Edition]

Neil Lucas
4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Designing with Grasses shows gardeners not just what grasses are available, but how to design with grasses in different settings, including meadows, lawns, green roofs, and more. Design ideas are supported by carefully devised maintenance techniques, design checklists that make designing achievable by gardeners of all ability levels, and lists of grasses best for a variety of situations, including low-maintenance, drought-tolerant alternatives to the traditional lawn grasses and grasses suitable for green roofs and erosion control. An encyclopedic A to Z of grasses includes profiles with information on growth and care.

Editorial Reviews


"[The author’s] knowledge combined with technical advice and great photography make this an inspirational book, suitable for all keen gardeners."


(Reference and Research Book News)

“This clearly written and well-designed book will appeal to… landscape designers and gardeners. Two green thumbs up!”
(Landscape Architecture Magazine)

"A directory of grasses and grasslike plants is a useful reference."

About the Author

Neil Lucas is a highly respected plantsman who has worked extensively with the Royal Horticultural Society and has a broad and thorough understanding of grasses which he actively renews and develops all the time through traveling all over the world and seeing where and how grasses grow in the wild. 

His nursery, Knoll Gardens, specializes in grasses and includes four acres of spectacular show gardens. He travels to the USA several times a year to research new plants and exchange information with fellow enthusiasts.

Product Details

  • File Size: 11213 KB
  • Print Length: 276 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (April 21, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B006OZGQ76
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #851,022 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As Important as Perennials March 23, 2011
Ornamental grasses have been slowly influencing the works of garden designers in a stealth manner. At first, we noticed them planted in Mediterranean-style gardens in South West USA, where drought filled summers are common. Then we began to see them in the prairie meadows of the Mid West. Eventually, they were included in revolutionary and boundary-breaking designs of public spaces in the North and North East. In tandem with these developments has been the rise in profile of grass-filled meadow gardens as an optional replacement for resource-depleting lawns.

Today, ornamental grasses are considered as significant as perennials. Several publications have been written about designing with these plants and it is only a coincidence that, of them all, Neil Lucas' book has crossed my path.

The author is a nine-time, award winning ornamental grass specialist, who lectures around the world. He is also the owner of Knoll Gardens, a nursery and show garden, specializing in grasses, located in Dorset England. While many photographers are able to deliver the beauty of individual grasses, Mr. Lucas takes that art to a higher level by capturing the spirituality created by grasses when they are combined in a composition of other plants. Even though it is not a coffee table book, this publication delivers, on a smaller scale, the powerful photography fix that most gardeners crave.

According to Mr. Lucas, the rising importance of ornamental grasses mirrors contemporary expectations that one ought to be able to create successful gardens with less effort than in the past. These plants are helpful in that regard. Their adaptability to a wide range of climates and growing conditions allows them to contribute more to a garden's success, using fewer plants and less labor.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Designed to Convert and Delight September 14, 2011
I've always had a bit of a struggle with ornamental grasses. Too much tackling couch, then a highly invasive zebra grass at our first house have put me off them somewhat. Then my garden here goes from deep shade through to Mediterranean in just a few steps, so I haven't really managed to see how they'd fit into my current garden either.

But then I started reading Designing with Grasses. The author Neil Lucas owns Knoll Gardens in Dorset, famed for its grass specialism. He has a deep understanding of grass communities both in the wild and in cultivation, so is the ideal person to showcase exactly what they can do for a garden. He's very much an advocate of 'right plant right place' and as there are species found in every area of the world, he's confident they have an important role to play in all kinds of situations.

In the book Neil shows us both natural and planted grassland communities which provide structure for just as long as the more familiar pernnials and shrubs, with the added bonus of movement to boot. They're also low-maintenance, tough and provide food and shelter for wildlife. There's lots of well chosen photographs illustrating their versatility and just how diverse this plant group is. I felt my prejudices beginning to crumble.

On top of all this, Neil describes the making of the Decennium border at Knoll, designed to show-off grasses in a naturalistic style, which is a marked departure from our more traditional looking flowerbeds. Instead of the border being at its best for just one season, it's designed to provide interest for a much longer period without the need for staking or dead heading. The resulting combination of grasses with perennials photographed over the growing season well into winter opened my eyes to the possibilities.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Worth it! October 6, 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I haven't read this book thoroughly, but what I have read is very good. The pictures are outstanding and in color.
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More About the Author

Neil Lucas is the UK's leading ornamental grass specialist, RHS judge and holder of nine consecutive Chelsea Flower Show Gold Medals.
His renowned naturalistic gardening style can be seen first hand at Knoll Gardens, his four-acre showcase in Dorset, England, from where he also runs the Knoll Gardens Foundation dedicated to promoting the benefits of sustainable gardening.
A regular contributor to the gardening press, Neil also lectures worldwide and runs regular Grass Masterclasses in the gardens at Knoll.

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