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Outside the Not So Big House: Creating the Landscape of Home Hardcover – February 1, 2006

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Outside the Not So Big House: Creating the Landscape of Home + Inside the Not So Big House: Discovering the Details that Bring a Home to Life (Susanka) + Creating the Not So Big House: Insights and Ideas for the New American Home (Susanka)
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Editorial Reviews

Review

There are gardening books that tell us what to plant and where. And there are architectural design books that tell us how our homes should look. But never the twain seem to meet. At least not until recently, when the two spaces -- home and garden -- wed harmoniously in the new book, "Outside the Not So Big House" by Sarah Susanka and Julie Moir Messervy.
-- NINA A. KOZIOL, The Chicago Tribune

This beautiful book combines the best qualities of coffee-table attractiveness and excellent advice. It pairs Susanka - author of previous "Not So Big House" books, which emphasize the trend toward smaller homes - and noted landscape and garden designer Julie Moir Messervy. They label their landscaping concept "opening up the relationship of indoors and out," and encourage readers to make the most of each.
--JUDY LOWE, Christian Science Monitor

"Outside the Not So Big House" by Julie Moir Messervy and Sarah Susanka deals with landscaping, planting and hard-scaping everything from entrances to pathways, arbors, patios and streetscapes to make the most of tight spaces. Planting sketches, lush photographs and specific problem-solving advice make it a handy reference, complete with plant names and diagrams. It's a pretty coffee-table topper, too.
--JOY CRAFT, Cincinnati Enquirer

The premise of this book is that home landscaping should be special to bring out the residence's best features (or hide its drawbacks). On my scale of one to 10, this outstanding new book rates a solid 10.
--ROBERT J. BRUSS, Miami Herald

With its plentiful photos and plans, this beautiful book is a useful tool for learning to look at the familiar in new ways.
- JARRETT SMITH Minneapolis Star Tribune

In 'Outside the Not So Big House, ' the authors describe many ways, both large and small, of connecting a house intimately to its land.
--ANNE RAVER, The New York Times
"This perfect collaboration between the talented and articulate Julie Moir Messervy and Sarah Susanka proves what a huge pleasure the landscape of a 'not so big' house can be. A must read..."
--Tom Christopher, columnist, "House & Garden "magazine
"Sarah Susanka and Julie Moir Messervy's clearly written text offers practical advice for designing indoor-outdoor spaces that respond to modern lifestyles. They reveal secrets for achieving the ideal combination of architecture and nature in the home and in the garden."
--James A. van Sweden, Fellow, American Society of Landscape Architects and author of "Architecture in the Garden"

About the Author

Julie Moir Messervy is a noted landscape and garden designer, author, lecturer, and principal of Julie Moir Messervy Associates in Wellesley, Massachusetts. Messervy designed the Toronto Music Garden in collaboration with cellist Yo-Yo Ma, and gardens for the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, the Kansas City Art Institute in Kansas City, Missouri, and the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Garden, Columbus, Ohio. She is a columnist for "Fine Gardening "magazine and author of three previous books.
She received her BA from Wellesley College and attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's School of Architecture, where she received her Master of Architecture and Master in City Planning degrees. She trained with the eminent Japanese garden master Kinsaku Nakane in Kyoto, Japan.
Sarah Susanka has become one of the best known and most highly regarded architects in the United States, and is a leading advocate for the popularization of residential architecture. Her first book, "The Not So Big House," topped best-seller charts across the country

Sarah Susanka is one of the leading residential architects in the United States. Her first book, "The Not So Big House," topped best-seller charts in Home & Garden categories in its first year of publication. Susanka has appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Show, the Charlie Rose Show, and NPR's Diane Rehm Show. She is a former principal and founding partner of Mulfinger, Susanka, Mahady & Partners, Inc., the firm chosen by LIFE magazine to design its 1999 Dream House.

Crawford is a photographer whose work has appeared in every major national and international architecture magazine as well as in several books on architecture and design.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 210 pages
  • Publisher: Taunton Press (February 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1561587346
  • ISBN-13: 978-1561587346
  • Product Dimensions: 10.3 x 0.8 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #818,709 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

87 of 88 people found the following review helpful By Michael Bond on July 14, 2006
Format: Hardcover
(4.5 Stars) I can see from the other reviews that there exist a wide range of opinions about this book. I fall on the high side, I suppose. I enjoyed the large number of photos and ideas for landscaping small areas - spots even - in the yard around a smaller home.

One, rather unreal aspect was that, most of the homes pictured are modern homes with interesting custom architecture. Some of us live in simple ranch-styles (boxes).

Julie's training and interest in architecture does come through, but I did not find it distracting. In fact, I found the emphasis on the relationship between the interior design of the home and landscape as seen from inside very useful. Most landscaping books present only the view TOWARD the house, not FROM it.

I got several good ideas from this book and learned a bit about design.
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54 of 57 people found the following review helpful By bored99 VINE VOICE on January 10, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I find the title of this book incredibly misleading. For her, "not so big" means "integrated with nature" as opposed to, well, "not so big"! Almost all of the houses in here are enormous (without counting I'd say maybe 38 of the 40 she talks about), so it's not very helpful for someone like me with a smaller house. Granted, she says her "starter home" was a large Victorian in Boston with a wrap-around porch and stained glass windows, so her perspective is bound to be different from the average American's! But unfortunately I had a hard time applying her concepts to my smaller home (on a 1/4 acre lot), and found myself heartily annoyed because the title had promised something that perhaps might be more useful to someone like me.
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76 of 84 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on February 9, 2006
Format: Hardcover
The collaboration of gardening expert and award-winning writer Julie Moir Messervy and residential architecture expert Sarah Susanka, Outside The Not So Big House: Creating The Landscape Of Home is an in-depth guide to creating harmony in one's house and garden. Detailed diagrams and full-color photography illustrate this highly accessible introduction to design concepts; chapters cover how to play off the habitat of the home, how to instill elements of smooth flow and pleasing aesthetics, working elements of nature into personal design, and much more. Outside The Not So Big House is not written as a handyman's how-to book, and does not delve extensively into the mechanics of how to construct and install garden furnishings, or how to plant, grow, water, and protect vegetation; it focuses on learning and applying elements of style to home and garden landscapes, with a wealth of examples for vivid illustration. An excellent inspirational source for gardeners and landscapers seeking to broaden their grasp of appealing designs, Outside The Not So Big House is very strongly recommended reading.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Glaucon on February 10, 2009
Format: Paperback
The Not-So-Big franchise has run out of gas. I thought the first three books were helpful. This is no better than your average article on landscaping from a home magazine. It is a collection of projects that were done for not-so-poor clients. I would recommend that you purchase the book "Pattern Language" (Alexander, editor) where most of her good ideas came from in the first place.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By c9pilot on February 24, 2008
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I agree with many of the poor reviews by fellow "Not So Big House" thinkers. I was very, very disappointed by the lack of practical information and very few useful principles for "creating the landscape of home".
While I agree with and have used so many of the principles in her other books, this one left me with nothing I can use to landscape my property.
While some of the examples are quite interesting, most are also quite unusual and there is not much to take away for those of us with average-sized, rectangular-shaped lots living in subdivisions filled with tract homes.
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22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By N. D. Cernadas on November 11, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Rip off. "Outside the Not So Big House" is just a copy of the second half of the "Inside and Outside the Not So Big House". I'm not just talking about a picture here or there. I'm talking about exact content, page by page (Pages 192 - 371 of "Inside and Outside..." is what comprises "Outside the Not...". If you are going to put out a new book, MAKE NEW IDEAS! The product description should have been clear that this book is just the "Outside" portion of the "Inside and Outside the Not So Big House" (interestingly both are copyright 2006). The product description calls this book "groundbreaking". News flash, this ground was already broken. Wanna make some money on a book? Write a NEW one! With NEW content! Or at least, be very clear in your product description that this is the same material that can be found in another book.

I am a huge Taunton fan. I have a large collection of Taunton books and subscribe to many of their fine magazines. I am very disappointed that this publication be marketed as a new book when it really is a reprint or subset of material from another book. Shame on you, Taunton!
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39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By A reader on May 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Having stumbled upon this book at the library and being familiar with the "Not So Big" approach I thought this book would be interesting. Not so. Lots of beautiful images at extraordinary locations but a surprising lack of concrete principles which one could apply to their own landscape. OK, I get "places and paths" and a few other concepts sprinkled throughout the book ("frames"comes to mind). But "defusing the energy of the corner" and many other abstract explanations for design decisions leaves the reader to guess as to what the designer was thinking.

And the self-congratulatory remarks between authors are over the top...
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