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P. Allen Smith's Garden Home: Creating a Garden for Everyday Living Hardcover – February 4, 2003

4.7 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Horticulture pro Smith has positioned himself as the go-to guy for gardens, from front yard flowers and fountain gardens to vegetable patches and loggias. In his first book, he shares his preferences and personal gardening history, and lays out basic design principles for anyone dreaming of their own Eden. Although the beautiful photographs can be intimidating-they feature perfectly trimmed hedges and trellises overflowing with roses-he reminds readers that if they "have a dream and the passion to create it" they're on the right track. His 12 fundamentals, including "enclosure," "shape and form," "framing the view" and "entry," provide a basis for would-be gardeners. Roughly one half of the book is filled with big, glossy photos, while the latter portion is a bit more detail-oriented. This useful section includes tips on how to express your interests (e.g., if you like to travel, think about creating a theme garden based on Japanese or Italian design) and decide between formal and informal looks. Although not really a how-to guide, Smith's book should help aspiring gardeners as they brainstorm ideas.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From the Inside Flap

Lots of people want gardens but find the prospect of getting started a bit daunting. P. Allen Smith's Garden Home is P. Allen Smith's inviting solution.

Smith begins with his own story: his family's love of gardens and experience in the nursery business, his own education at the great gardens of England, and his discovery that we all have, as he says, "a longing for our agrarian past." After walking us through his own "garden home" and explaining why he made the choices he did, Allen introduces his 12 principles of garden design, discussing such topics as a sense of enclosure, framing the view, texture, pattern, rhythm, and, of course, color. Then, with step-by-step projects, he shows readers how to apply the principles in their own garden homes.

For the millions of people who know Smith through his syndicated television show, Weather Channel segments, and appearances on The Early Show, this book is the irresistible invitation to follow him into the garden.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Clarkson Potter; 1 edition (February 4, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0609609327
  • ISBN-13: 978-0609609323
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.8 x 11.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #386,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is a beautiful book filled with eye candy but, better yet, full of practical advice for anyone ready to design a garden. Smith was smart and patient when he set out to design his own garden in Tennessee. Here he shows how the gardens of his childhood and most importantly, visits to the great gardens of Europe, helped influence and shape his design philosophy.
Smith uses the popular concept of "garden rooms" to illustrate twelve principles - Enclosure, Shape and Form, Framing, Entry, Focal Point, Structures, Color, Texture, Abundance, Whimsy, Mystery and Time. Each of these are illustrated with lush photos of Smith's own garden as well as his clients gardens.
The last section of the book discusses techniques and ideas on how to plan and construct your garden. Lists of plants are provided for specific situations.
Overall, a well designed, photographed and written book.
1 Comment 40 of 43 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I hate to be the fly-in-the-ointment, but I didn't care for P. Allen Smith's Garden Home. I ordered it because I thought the photos would be spectacular and it sounded like a terrific how-to-guide.

While P. Allen has some fine principles, especially when discussing gardens as exterior rooms, the book was lacking in the how-to element, instead focusing on concepts (most of which seemed too basic), and the pictures were not as stunning as I had hoped. The photos seem sparse for such a large book--I like my gardening books either popping with colorful photos or full of botanical info. A tremendous amount of the writing is spent discussing color wheel concepts which I found boring and unnecessary. What I did like were P. Allen's drawings, they're terrific and I wish his editors had included more.

I also was put off by his continual reference to Lady Elizabeth Ashbrook, one of his noble acquaintances. Had the book been a tribute to her I might have felt it was in keeping, but the references were jarring. And I couldn't make the connection to the subtitle "A Garden for Everyday Living". As my irritation with the Lady Ashbrook references grew I found solace in P. Allen's remarkable hairdo.

All in all, P. Allen Smith's Garden Home is a fluffy "celebrity book" and if you are looking for inspirational books, then you might prefer his Container Gardening--which not only has more beautiful photos, but is a better hands-on guide.

Good general gardening, landscaping books--Garden Transformations by Bunny Guinness is an especially inspired read and despite the low-budget cover on my copy, it has beautiful pictures and actually gives step-by-step pictures. Another good picture book is Great Escapes by Judith Miller, which features architecture and plantings.
3 Comments 76 of 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent book for anyone interested in gardening or landscape design. The sub-title is "Creating a garden for everyday living" and the writer takes the concept of "garden rooms" a step further than most designers. Dividing a garden into so-called "rooms" is not a new concept and it's easy enough to see that a vast garden such as, say, Sissinghurst is much more manageable when divided into smaller units.
It's not as easy, though, to visualize an ordinary city garden in terms of rooms. The writer helps us make this transition by using his own city garden as an example. This spans two city lots, so it's wider than most, but he shows how he has taken each axis and divided it, yet allowed each room to flow into the next. In the first part of the book the writer explains how he went about planning them and how each of the rooms developed.
The second section of the book defines twelve principles of design and gives examples and illustrations of each. These clearly and simply presented principles - from color to shape and form and not forgetting whimsy and mystery - offer down-to-earth and practical ideas.
The third section, which for some reason is printed on different paper and has no illustrations other than sketches, offers more of the writer's thoughts on the application of the twelve design principles.
The content of this book is well thought out and well presented, and the color photographs in the first two sections are generous and relevant. My quibbles are - first, the strange presentation of the third section as if the book designer decided to make it as dull as possible so no-one would read it. Second, the fact that in the list of U. S. gardens to visit there isn't a single one listed from the Pacific Northwest.
Two other things bothered me.
Read more ›
Comment 15 of 16 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
In this elegant new book, Allen has made grand garden designs easy to understand, and even easier to achieve in the garden. I love the juxtaposition of the traditional English perennial borders with the front yard of his home in Little Rock! I found the book to be inspiring - can't wait for spring. Hard to imagine it his first book... looking forward to more.
Comment 17 of 19 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
The concept of a garden home is long overdue. This is a very practical guide to creating a garden home. The photography is outstanding and usually only available for a much higher price. This could change the way American use their homes and surrounding space.
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