When I first got into gardening and then into landscape architecture, I searched the web for books to begin reading that would help prepare me once I got into school. I found it difficult to find those staples of literature that would help me be ahead of the game. Lately I’ve been wanting to find a really good theory book on designing with plants and again, I find myself struggling to find one. So I’ve put together a list of gardening and landscape architecture books I’ve found to be useful the last several years for those searching for some good books.
If you know of any good books that fits into these categories please leave a comment below.
Time Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture by Charles Harris & Nicholas Dines
- This is a book where you will learn sound methods to construction and how to represent them in a document. Even though it sounds pretty boring, it’s information landscape architects will need to know. I used this book in my ‘Materia’s & Methods’ course.
Landscapes in History by Philip Pregill & Nancy Volkman
- This book goes through the history of landscapes from ancient times to modern times. It goes through the styles of different periods & all cultures throughout the world.
Architecture, Form, Space, & Order by Francis Ching
- I love looking through this book. It’s a basic design book that covers the basics in design with shape and pattern. It then expands on all of those and shows these representations through architecture and landscape.
Landscape Graphics by Grant Reid
- Being able to represent your ideas is very important. Reid’s book shows graphic representations of things you’d need to draw like trees, hardscapes, and different types of drawings you would show a client. He also shows you some methods and materials to use. There are different versions of this book. This version is a good one that is updated.
Gardens are for People by Thomas Church
- Thomas Church is a famous landscape architect and this book is written by him. I love going through and reading his thoughts on the landscape and it’s relation to the human. There are also images of his work.
Invisible Gardens by Peter Walker
- This book is about landscape architecture theory and history focusing on the major individuals and firms in the field. It covers the years 1925-1975. This is a good book to learn more about the field as a career.
Form and Fabric in Landscape Architecture Catherine Dee
- This is also one of my favorite design books. It expands upon basic design principles and explains them more in the use of the landscape. I love her sketches throughout the book and her thoughts and perspective is interesting.
Skinny Streets & Green Neighborhoods by Cynthia Girling
- Sustainability is something all people should know something about. Skinny Streets gives examples of what cities and people have done with streetscaping to make it more habitable and friendly on the environment.
Google Sketchup for Site Design by Daniel Tal
- Sketchup is a very important tool in showing landscapes. I wish I had gotten this book while in school because I had a hard time learning sketchup. This book will show you all the tricks and will greatly help in learning to use the program. This graphic representation tool is important to show your work and give vision to a client.
Gardening & Design
I haven’t read any of these books or own them, but after some research I found that these are good possibilities on learning how to design with plants.
Planting Design Handbook by by Nick Robinson
Plant Driven Design by Scott & Lauren Ogden
Gardening with Shape, Line, & Texture by Linden Hawthorne
How to Identify Plants by HD Harrington
- This book is really awesome in learning the shapes and growth patterns of plants. It give diagrams of all sorts of leaf, flower, and stem shapes and growth patterns. If you have any interest in horticulture you will find this knowledge pretty cool.
Encyclopedia of Trees & Shrubs by Michael Dirr
- Dirr is a smart guy and I recommend any of his books. It is a staple in the field and this book gets used a lot by professionals.
Sand County Almanac by Aldo Leopold
- If you have any respect for the environment, care anything about the environment, or just like to read a story about a man doing some tuff things, you will like this. Aldo has a magical way of writing and he’ll leave you wanting to visit the place where he built a home along the Sand River in Wisconsin.
Silent Spring by Rachael Carson
- I haven’t ever read this, but I know it’s an epic piece of literature. It’s was written in the 70s when environmentalism was becoming a ‘thing’. Rachael writes about pesticide use and the use of DDT.