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Contemporary Color in the Landscape: Top Designers, Inspiring Ideas, New Combinations Hardcover – April 20, 2011
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“Will surely inspire readers with new ideas. Recommended.” —Choice
“A visual feast of geometric shapes and flora, Wilson's work coordinates art and architecture with stunning gardens.” —American Reference Books Annual
“Well-organized and abundantly illustrated.” —Reference and Research Book News
“Author Andrew Wilson uses examples of award winning landscape designs to help readers achieve gardens that best suit their individual styles.” —Phoenix Home and Garden
About the Author
His previous books are Influential Gardeners: Shaping Today’s Style (Mitchell Beazley 2002), The Book of Plans for Small Gardens (Mitchell Beazley 2007), and The Book of Garden Plans (Mitchell Beazley 2008). In 2009, he contributed to the RHS Encyclopedia of Garden Design and he writes regularly for Gardens Illustrated.
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I've read quite a number of books and articles about garden colour previously, so I found the first few chapters didn't say much that was new to me. However, they should still remain for completeness. The later chapters on The Restricted Palette, Breaking Colour Rules (especially) and Inspired by Nature spoke to me much more. Andrew also has lots of useful things to say about combining hard and soft landscaping and it's good to see both taking centre stage in one volume.
Unfortunately I found the text quite hard going, partly due to the mainly three column text layout and also because it's pitched more at the student garden designer level rather than ordinary gardeners like me. However, I did find it very useful to treat each of the pictures as a case study and ask myself whether I thought the plant and/or colour combinations worked or not. From that alone, I now have a notebook of ideas ready to try out in my garden in future years.
This is a useful addition to the books on colour I have already, but newcomers to this subject might like to read Andrew Lawson's The Gardener's Book of Colour first.
Note: this review was first published on Amazon.co.uk
The pictures are all lush and beautiful, but one wonders at times where is the fog and the drizzle which can present interest too and after all are a part of life, especially in England where most of these pictures were taken. Many times the plant varieties are named, but not always and that would have been better, especially when you see something you might want to acquire.
There are lovely close ups of flowers and plants to emphasize and show the palettes of colour and wonderful photos of natural colour in the urban landscape.
This is a book for gardeners, artists and lovers of colour and of course of gardens, especially English gardens in particular.
"Designer Sarah Eberle used a range of broken hues in this garden, combining ochre stone with a gray-blue glazed screen, gray-brown paving, and a brown lounger. Although the colors have different additives, they combine easily because they share many similar characteristics, producing a calming composition softened by green foliage of bamboo and yucca."
Before reading the book, I was flipping through and read that bit, and was like, "broken hues? Different additives? WHAT similar characteristics?". After reading Wilson's in-depth text, I totally understand where he was coming from in that commentary, and am now able to better analyze color compositions so I can bring some truly new ideas into my landscape designs.
He uses a variety of photos and styles to illustrate his color concepts, and while some of the photos worked for me and some were not things I'd replicate, every single photo and the accompanying text taught me something about WHY the composition was working for me or not. And beyond my pleasure in learning more about color theory, the photos are bold, interesting and evocative. This is lovely enough to be a coffee table book, though the text certainly holds its own.
If you're an artist passionate about the garden, or a landscape designer looking to learn how to create something new and different of your own, then this book is an ideal text to get you started thinking deeply about the colors around us and how best to work with them for different effects.