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Understanding Garden Design: The Complete Handbook for Aspiring Designers Hardcover – August 18, 2010

4.6 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A former interior designer who embarked on a second career in landscape planning, Nagel bemoaned the dearth of resource material necessary for her new endeavor. Knowing that nature abhors just such a vacuum, Nagel fashioned a guide to her own specifications. Starting with the basics, Nagel ventures from concept to completion in a logical sequence, covering topics many other design manuals overlook. Not only does she pay particular attention to the intangible aspects of the design process, such as a garden’s effects on physical health and mental attitude, she also delves into the practical side of landscape projects, from spatial allowances for patio furniture to working with contractors. Along with essentials such as traffic flow, focal points, and sun exposure, Nagel also provides thoughtful coverage of secondary, but no less important, topics such as hardscape, furnishings, and ornamentation. Thorough and thoroughly accessible, Nagel’s reasoned yet personable approach to an often intimidating subject will benefit both homeowners and design professionals. --Carol Haggas

Review

"An excellent guide for beginning home garden designers as well as students in the field."

(Booklist)

"Thorough and thoroughly accessible."
(Garden Design Online)

"A wonderful handbook for anyone to own. Nagel's photographs and drawings clearly illustrate all the major design concepts she discusses in the text.   If you're a designer, the book will remind you about the many details you might overlook.  If you're a homeowner, it'll help you understand why you need a designer -- and how to work with one. What more could anyone ask?."

(Book News)

“For aspiring designers, Nagel, a commercial interior designer who became a landscape designer, details the process of garden design. Using photos and diagrams, she explains aspects like documenting the site, lighting, working with contractors, components of a garden, irrigation, finishes and furnishings, plants, and basic design principles."

(SciTech Book News)

“Details the process of garden design…and basic design principles.”

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 236 pages
  • Publisher: Timber Press; 42127th edition (August 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0881929433
  • ISBN-13: 978-0881929430
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 0.8 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #723,071 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
In spite of the rise in the number of independent-minded gardeners, who care little what others think, most people expect that their garden will not only make themselves happy but will also please their visitors. To accomplish these goals, fundamental principles of design must be respected. These principles are not based upon social or aesthetic convention, as so many free-thinking gardeners believe. When planning any garden, the author suggests that people ought to understand why a landscape needs to be designed, in the first place.

In this publication, the reader will learn that design principles reflect the need to engage the brain in a pleasurable sensory experience that allows one to perceive a garden as beautiful and fulfilling. Furthermore, when a landscape layout meets people's physical and psychological needs, it helps them to function better. Sometimes it encourages an interaction with nature.

According to the author, the intelligent use of space is another benefit of proper garden design. Regardless of its size, a garden may serve very special purposes for a home owner and unless such needs are satisfied, the garden cannot be deemed to be a success. To achieve that level of satisfaction, Ms. Nagel suggests that advance planning is required before the first line of the garden can be drawn. Listed in that preparation are considerations for a play area for children, pets, outdoor work, the drying of laundry, storage, growing food, traffic patterns, entertainment, and a place to be alone.

Dealing with the topic of beauty in the garden, the author introduces the reader to basic design principles and suggests that, when they are incorporated into the planning, they are responsible for creating an aesthetically pleasing landscape.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Why Design a Garden? Think about the projects you do in your life. Sew a dress, build a house, take a trip-these activities usually succeed because of the planning you do before the experience. Planning and design are intention and purpose. They give a project significance."

And so begins one of the most useful books I've yet found for the novice, or even advanced, Landscape Lighting Designer. The author, Vanessa Gardner Nagel, has drawn on her focused study and practice of Interior Design, a later deep exploration of Landscape Design, and a particularly illuminating "light bulb" moment to guide her writing. Mrs. Nagel "saw the light" when she realized that all the books on landscape design begin with a discussion of the Principles Of Design without addressing the much deeper question, "Why Design?"

In my Amazon review of Jan Moyer's 2nd edition of the Landscape Lighting Book I noted, "Once you understand the theory behind the short cuts and rules-of-thumb that other How-To books offer, you are free to create your own. With the freedom you gain when you understand and can apply those fundamental principals and concepts to your landscape lighting, you become like the cook who ignores the printed recipe and creates a masterpiece of culinary art."

I believe UNDERSTANDING GARDEN DESIGN offers a second route into our exploration of landscape lighting design; a deeper understanding of the processes and goals of our fellow professional colleagues who visualize and create the spaces we light. In authoring a book that focused on "Understanding" the why behind landscape design, Nagel has opened a window into the processes of our closest allies in our professional endeavors.
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Format: Hardcover
I am always looking for gardening books that provide a helpful mix of basic, practical (real life) gardening tips and ideas that I can actually follow and do. This is that book. Very helpful and easy to read! From understanding scale to pet friendly plant choices and design, this book provides well written and easy-to-follow garden design steps and methods supported by an abundance pictures. This is exactly the book I needed to encourage and support my growing love for gardening.
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Format: Hardcover
Length: 3:10 Mins
I loved the clear way that Nagel shared her expansive knowledge of design. She was incredibly generous in sharing her professional tips about how she thinks about space, selects plants, draws up a plan, and works with contractors to install certain elements. While she was careful not to discuss the business aspects of being a landscape designer, only the how-to, this is still a wonderfully helpful manual for pros or aspiring pros, since she shares so many shortcuts and tips that will save you time and improve your design ability.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The best thing about this book is that it is written from a DESIGN perspective, not just landscaping. It talks all about figuring what design you want, then how to do it (going beyond just a landscaping how-to book). It also has pertinent, helpful pictures. I got it as a gift for a burgeoning gardener and she loved it!
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By kjvde on February 11, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great
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