Widely recognized as preeminent among contemporary landscape designers, Van Sweden and his partner, Wolfgang Oehme, are perhaps best known for their gardens featuring splendidly conceived lily ponds, swimming pools, and other beautifully integrated water elements. Van Sweden's book opens with an inspirational survey of ideas obtained from gardens of the U.S., Europe, South America, and Japan, but its primary thrust is a fairly extensive chronicle of water features that this team has executed. Although Van Sweden devotes sections to construction techniques, plants and fish, and general maintenance, home gardeners and professionals alike will probably find his forthright descriptions and detailed design drawings to be a valuable resource when they are considering incorporating water into a garden plan. Alice Joyce
From the Inside Flap
By bringing what H. Marc Cathey, president of the American Horticultural Society, has called "a new wave of naturalism" to America, James van Sweden and his partner, Wolfgang Oehme, have revolutionized American landscape design. Van Sweden and Oehme are internationally renowned for their public projects and private commissions: responsible for the Hudson River Park in New York City and several gardens of the U.S. National Arboretum in Washington, D.C., they have landscaped the properties of celebrity clients such as Oprah Winfrey and David Brinkley, as well as many more modest gardens for private homeowners.
According to van Sweden, no garden is too small to benefit from the soothing, sensuous qualities of water. Gardening with Water, the first in a new series of books to be written by van Sweden, covers everything from birdbaths and small fountains to waterfalls, swimming pools, lily pools, and water edges. Writing for professional and nonprofessional gardeners alike, van Sweden begins with an overview of influences -- from Frank Lloyd Wright's "Falling Water" to palace gardens in Kyoto, Japan -- before surveying close to a hundred of his own projects to illustrate how he and Wolfgang Oehme introduce water into their garden designs. Several chapters are devoted to practical questions: what to plant, where to plant, whom to contact, and how to build. Clear instructions are supplemented with numerous illustrations, extensive diagrams, and a detailed glossary of trees, plants, and flowers (including Oehme and van Sweden's trademark grasses).