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Planting: A New Perspective Hardcover – April 9, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Designers of some of the world’s most distinctive gardens, Oudolf and Kingsbury bring their unrivaled expertise and iconic aesthetic sense to bear as they consider twenty-first-century trends and challenges confronting both home gardeners and landscape professionals. Faced with concerns such as sustainability, biodiversity, nature deficit, and water reclamation, they extol high-performance designs that aim to collaborate with nature rather than control it. In truth, their gardens are paragons of apparent spontaneity, exhibiting an exuberance that seems neither forced nor contrived. Through innovative plant combinations and naturalistic landscape designs, modern gardens can address contemporary opportunities such as green roofs and urban prairies with an air of casualness that belies the importance of ecologically sound planting methods. Teeming with delectable examples of the authors’ signature, free-flowing gardens, the book also includes a comprehensive, at-a-glance plant directory that both private gardeners and industry professionals will find helpful. Luscious photographs and meticulous explanations of techniques and methods make this an essential reference guide and constant source of inspiration. --Carol Haggas


"Luscious photographs and meticulous explanations of techniques and methods make this an essential reference guide and constant source of inspiration." 

(Thomas Rainer Gardenista)

"Oudolf is eager to teach the rest of us how to recreate the effect in our home gardens…of particular interest are the book's detailed planting plans, which show how Oudolf, who designed a reclaimed landscape atop the abandoned railroad tracks of Manhattan's elevated High Line, deliberately creates a "layered look" that looks unstudied and provides year-round interest."

(Valerie Easton Adam Woodruff, Designers on Design (APLD))

"The release of this book marks a watershed moment.  We are offered substantially greater insight into Piet Oudolf’s design process.  Using original planting plans, e.g., Trentham Estate, Potter’s Fields Park, High Line, the authors explain in detail how Oudolf creates his gardens and landscapes… It is destined to be required reading for aspiring landscape designers, landscape architects and those interested in naturalistic planting design."

(Mary Keen Elle Décor)

"In Planting: A New Perspective (Timber Press), written with fellow landscape architect Noel Kingsbury, Oudolf details for the first time the specific ingredients that go into his horticultural alchemy, and even includes original plans and plant charts."

(Mitchell Owens The Guardian)

"It treads a well-pitched line in providing gritty information to the professional and the amateur alike… It is fascinating to see this pinnacle of public naturalistic planting explained and contextualized."

(Dominique Browning Grounded Design)

Planting establishes the ‘new style’ as a potent artistic and intellectual movement.  This book has real meat.  The liberal use of Oudolf’s planting plans are reason alone to buy this book.”

(Malinda Hatch Library Journal)

“This is a thoughtful, insightful guide that deserves serious consideration.”

(Rory DuSoir Pacific NW Magazine)

“No one does ecology-based plant harmonies better than these two, and it's just so sweepingly, stunningly beautiful.”

(Katie Elzer-Peters The Telegraph)

“A fascinating and technical exposition of how Piet has changed the way plants are used.”

(Daily AD)

“Packed with detailed and enticingly adaptable plans, the 280-page volume is a one-stop seminar of the Oudolfian system of gardening, which is as much about advance planning as it is about total chance.”

(The New York Times Book Review)

"Indispensable… an impassioned plea for packing beds tightly, interlacing species lightly, choosing plants that survive multiple stresses, [and] letting seed heads stand through winter."

(Landscape Architecture Magazine)

"In Planting: A New Perspective, Oudolf and Kingsbury detail what it takes to design, plant, and maintain the new nature-like landscapes. This is a how-to book that will leave you with the information, courage, and enthusiasm to approach your own landscape in a new way… The authors leave no doubt about the importance of natural beauty to human life, and they show how to reproduce aspects of it successfully"

(The English Garden)

“The book includes an extensive plant directory, which covers detailed information about each plant mentioned in the book; from the plant measurements, flowering season and spreading ability to the foliage architecture (plus lots more). It is a great guide for anyone wishing to try out the style Piet Oudolf uses in his magnificent gardens.”

(Gardens Illustrated)

“A fascinating insight into Piet Oudolf’s approach to design.”

(The Wilmington Star-News)

“You could get lost in the landscapes featured in this book. Oudolf and Kingsbury explain how to combine long-lived perennials and woody landscape plants to create gardens that mimic nature and provide interest year-round. Study it and you'll be one step closer to designing your own tumbling, flopping, blooming-meadow-inspired border of flowers, shrubs and grasses.”


“Top garden designers Oudolf and Kingsbury consider twenty-first-century gardening trends and challenges in this essential, informative, and inspiring guide.”

"A wonderful primer for the home garden."
(Chicago Tribune 2014-08-13)

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 280 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press (April 9, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1604693703
  • ISBN-13: 978-1604693706
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 1.1 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #70,108 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

42 of 42 people found the following review helpful By J. WILLIAMS on April 8, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Anyone knowing Oudolf's work is familiar with his aesthetic and how the images of his work draw you in. This new book is full of those images!

Yet the book is more than just pretty pictures - it has meat and a lot of it. Starting with 'the big picture' and moving into grouping and combining plants we dig deep into years of experience.

These chapters do not contain the plant by numbers information many other planting books have. On the contrary they contain the knowledge base you need to design a planting in Oudolf and Kingsbury's style.

It may take a close reading or even a few readings of these sections to fully grasp all the information provided but it is worth delving into as it is the years of research and learning these two designers have done.

What I found the most useful in the book is the chapter on plant performance. Most of the planting designs today are based on what looks good where and little thought is given to how the planting will perform over the years to come.

Kingsbury gives us a list of parameters to look for when selecting plants and even provides a list of many perennials and how we should expect them to perform.

This book is a wonderful survey of the Ouddolf planting style a great addition to both Kingsbury and Oudolf's other books.

Now why then did I leave that one star out if I think this book is so great? It is because the book is said to be written by Oudolf and Kingsbury but from page one you find the book is in Kingsbury's voice and Oudolf is talked about in the third person. Although Kingsbury is an exceptional writer I miss Oudolf's passion and flair.

So as a conclusion I do think this book is a must for every Landscape Architect and Designer that wants to know just how Oudolf does what he does. But more importantly I feel it is a stepping stone in the evolution of planting design that will bring about new ways to create landscapes and gardens.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Thomas M Rainer on April 15, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Noel Kingsbury is the great chronicler of contemporary planting design. Kingsbury is the most articulate and prolific writer on contemporary naturalism. I'm always eager to get his latest book.

Last week, I was received Planting: A New Perspective. Someone had described it to me as "Oudolf made accessible for the residential gardender." Something about this description made me cringe. I'm not sure I could stand an Oudolf for Dummies--a stripped down version of Oudolf that would make every common landscaper capable of thoughtlessly replicating the Oudolf style. The idea of a simplified book also felt wrong. There were still so many questions left unanswered by Planting Design: what defines the "new style"? What role do native plant communities play in this style? Is it really possible to create a low maintenance, long-lasting version of the new style?

Let's be clear: this book is not Oudolf for Dummies. And thank God for that. Any review that describes this simply as "Oudolf for home gardeners" has clearly not read beyond the dust jacket.

More than any of Oudolf/Kingsbury's collaborations, Planting establishes the "new style" as a potent artistic and intellectual movement. This book has real meat. The liberal use of Oudolf's planting plans are reason alone to buy this book. For the designer or gardener, these hand sketches are a Rosetta stone for understanding Oudolf's process. This book delves deeply into compositional strategy: how are plants grouped, layered, and mixed based upon their unique structures and ecologies? Kingsbury's recent doctoral work at Sheffield clearly comes through in the brilliantly explicated sections of perennial's lifespans and competitive strategies.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By sr96 on May 4, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The planting style described in this book could be used in a home garden but the book is actually about designing for larger public spaces. It covers concepts to consider when designing including: a maintenance plan, local ecology, plant structure & silhouette, species longevity and how plants spread. It also has an interesting section on current trends in garden design.

With garden book, I often read only part of the book and then look at the pictures. Not this time, I read it cover to cover and enjoyed the text as well as the great pictures.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Nancy L. Morton on January 26, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was disappointed in this book. True, there are some lovely photographs of the High Line, the Lurie Garden and other projects. There is a reasonable, albeit long-winded, discussion of designing a garden to mimic nature, but the production values are wanting, which is surprising because I have many books from Timber Press. The author makes reference to many plants that are not listed or described in the book, the plant is only included in a large garden dominated by grasses. I had to guess what plant he was describing. In some cases, I wrote down the name of the plant to look for it on the internet.

At the back of the book there is a plant list, divided into three categories: perennials, grasses and ferns. There are no photographs of most of the plants listed; there is a schedule, similar to a spread sheet, which attempts to describe the plant. In this section of the book, the photographs of the individual plants vary greatly by quality; some are out of focus, some show flowers and no leaves, some show leaves and no flowers, most were not in scale. I had the impression that the photos were just lying around and were not taken specifically for this book. It seemed odd that there were photographs of the most common plants but no photographs of lesser known and rarer plants.

The author includes many diagrams of the plant designs of many, many gardens, including block-by-block patches of the High Line. While of interest, this is over-kill and the pages would be better used to show the plants described in the gardens.

Lastly, there was a sameness to the gardens featured in the book; this sameness encouraged me to study the photographs with great care.
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