Reviewer Allan Becker: Allan has been designing and planting flower gardens, since he was a teenager in the 1960's. Now retired from the soft goods industry, where he held several positions in design, product development, and marketing, he has turned his passion for gardening into a second career, as a garden designer for private clients in Montreal, Canada.
Author: Andrew Wilson
Publisher: Timber Press
Author: Andrew Wilson
Publisher: Timber Press
Every era brings new trends in garden design and novel ways to use color in landscaping. Generations, previous to our own, planned functional gardens with polite color schemes that served specific purposes for rulers, landowners, parks, and residences. Today, homeowners continue to plan traditional gardens that satisfy their outdoor living needs However, designers who are contracted to handle large expanses of land, both public and private, are turning to a newer and more dramatic style of landscaping based upon a personal concept of the designer.
The author’s goal, which he achieves admirably, is to explain and demonstrate how an idea, a feeling, or a mood, can influence the final appearance of a landscape. This contemporary philosophy of garden design is known as conceptualism and its essential ingredient is color.
Conceptualism refers to a designer’s original idea, or concept, that inspires an overall design. It may be a reflection of a personal response to the garden’s physical location which, according to the author, may appear spiritual, sinister, fascinating, or sensuous. It may also reflect the political or social history of that location. Using plants, stones, wood, metal and resins, the conceptual garden is a creative expression realized through a depiction of warmth, coolness, depth, infinity, brilliance or contrast. All of these aesthetic notions are reinforced in the garden by the use or absence of color in both architectural and plant materials.
Conceptual garden designers work mainly with perennials and ornamental grasses, whose palettes range from monochrome and muted to rich, vibrant, and bold. Similarly, where once the brick, stone, and natural colors of walls, and hardscapes supplied a neutral setting, contemporary designers are covering surfaces with tropical colored paint and are using construction and decorative materials, both organic and synthetic, in vivid and heavily saturated tones. The resulting gardens may be hauntingly serene or electrifying.
Mr. Wilson’s exposition begins with an overview of the science that explains our interaction with and the relationship between colors. Gardeners who are not scientifically inclined or who prefer to experiment with color rather than read about it, might skip this portion without diminishing their appreciation of the book. The author’s work is enriched by lavish illustrations supporting color theory, which are quite powerful and instructive on their own. There is a lot to learn simply by studying the images.
Beyond the introduction to color and its effect on people, the author continues to develop his theme with a demonstration that relies on copious visuals of gardens, created by influential contemporary designers. These spot perfect images help the reader understand personal responses to color, how color can be manipulated, and how contrast between colors ignites energy. They also help to explain the emotive qualities of color in landscaping. The author includes a fascinating discussion on how using a restrictive palette can maximize visual impact and demonstrates, in an eye-opening report, visually riveting results that occur when rules about color relationships are ignored. He concludes with a chapter on the colors found in nature and how they inspire and become part of a landscape design.
The dramatic works of the cutting edge designers, surveyed in this publication, may jolt some readers. It is a reminder that even hobbies based on tradition are not immune from change. Historically, gardens have reflected the cultures that created them. Therefore, it is understandable that they should also reflect changes in society when they occur.
gardeners may consider this modern philosophy audacious, forward
thinking generations will find it inspiring and exciting. This
publication confirms that conceptualism results in exceptionally
entertaining and moving landscape visuals. One cannot remain
indifferent to them. Perhaps that is a reflection of the times in
which we live because concept gardening seems to echo the current
era’s preoccupation with visual technology. By demonstrating how
contemporary ideas push boundaries, this book will rock your boat.
Welcome to a new millennium of garden design.
Click Here To Purchase Contemporary Color in the Landscape: Top Designers * Inspiring Ideas * New Combinations