Our top 5 garden books of 2013

2013 has seen some great garden books published. From tips on Japanese garden design to low cost eco gardening, picking our top 5 was a bit of a challenge.

This could of easily become a top 10 or even a top 50 to be honest with you. However, after much back and forth in the Lazy Susan office, we came up with what we feel is our pick of the bunch.

5 books, well 4 and a Kindle e-book, that every gardener should own from the last 12 months…

Contemporary Designers’ Own Gardens by Barbara Baker

Contemporary Designers Own Gardens

This book was a real eye opener for me. It offers a rare opportunity to take a a little peek into twenty gardens that are generally not open to the general public.

This is one of those truly outstanding garden books that features gardens that are all designed by innovative, influential, and award-winning garden designers.

Great copy and some stunning photography, the book features a detailed profile of each garden, analysing the relationship between the garden and its setting, planting schemes, the aims of the designers, and their final achievements.

For me the highlight is the way the book examines how each designers’ personalities affect their creations, and how their own gardens differ from those of their clients.

An inspirational, informative and beautiful book, which will appeal to anyone who is interested in landscape architecture or garden design, be they a beginner or a professional.

The gardens featured belong to and have been designed by the likes of Patrick Blanc, Fernando Caruncho, Kate Cullity, Jim Fogarty, Ludwig Gerns, Adriaan Geuze, Isabelle Greene, Bunny Guinness, Ron Lutsko, Shunmyo Masuno, Dan Pearson, Antonio Perazzi, Tony Smith, Ted Smyth, Tom Stuart-Smith, Andy Sturgeon, Jacques Wirtz, Ute Wittich, Made Wijaya and Stephen Woodhams.

Serene Gardens: Creating Japanese Design and Detail in the Western Garden by Yoko Kawaguchi

Serene Gardens

I think this book was first published in 2008 but I’m afraid to say is passed me by. It was reformatted and republished in 2013 and a friend recommended I picked up a copy. I was not disappointed.

It is a beautifully illustrated book that provides a very practical introduction to the traditions of Japanese gardens, using natural materials such as wood, bamboo, rocks and pebbles.

Emphasizing the value of shape in trees and shrubs with the subtlety of colour through the varied greens of foliage and moss, Serene Gardens is the only book that explains how western plants and materials can be used to achieve the natural, minimalist look so beloved by Japanese garden designers.

There are instructions and tips for selecting plants and materials which are readily available, as well as plant lists and climate zone maps to aid us western gardeners.

A great intro to this art form, I used it to cherry pick a few ideas that I incorporated into our showroom garden, while some of the photography for our Rattan Garden Furniture collection was inspired by the lines found in Japanese design.

Amazing Spaces by George Clarke and Jane Field-Lewis

George Clarke's Amazing Spaces

This book was published to coincide with the second series of George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces on Channel 4, which I was also a big fan of.

Not a garden book as such, more of a garden room book, it shows how unexpected small spaces can be adapted into practical living areas, wonderful retreats or unusual offices.

The book showcases the spaces featured in both the first and second series, explaining how each build was achieved.

Escapes range from a tiny inspiring beach hut near Bournemouth which cleverly adapts to serve as a lounge, kitchen and sleeping area to a ‘lego’ apartment in Barcelona which is a perfect example of how to make incredible use of every inch of space in a tiny studio apartment on a rooftop.

For me this book is inspiring and practical in equal measure. It perfectly feeds the desire many of us hold for a unique and innovative space to call our own.

RHS Chelsea Flower Show: A Centenary Celebration by Brent Elliott

RHS Chelsea Centenary Celebration

At Lazy Susan we love the Chelsea Flower Show and we’re regular visitors. It has been the go-to annual event in the world of gardening. This book was released in 2013 to coincide with their 100th birthday, and it takes an enduring look at what makes Chelsea so special.

Royal Horticultural Society insider Brent Elliott explains how the show has grown and changed, how it is has formed part of the social calendar and how the nation’s taste in garden design and planting has been reflected and shaped by Chelsea over the years.

Short pieces from some of our greatest nurserymen, nurserywomen and garden designers describe what Chelsea means to them, along with pieces from those who present the show to the public and those behind the scenes who pull it all together.

A wealth of illustration draws from the extensive RHS archive and includes photographs in colour and black and white, plans and posters, many published here for the first time.

Whether you come for the nurseries or the show gardens, to buy gardening gloves or foxgloves, or whether you simply prefer to beat the crowds and read all about it, this magnificent book conjures up the full Chelsea experience.

Low Cost Gardening – A Recycled Garden by PJ Group Publishing

Low Cost Gardening

Definitely my Kindle purchase of 2013, Low Cost Gardening has been a big inspiration on the Lazy Susan team. It provides some outstanding ways to save money and have a great garden at the same time.

You don’t even need to buy all the plants you want as you can swap with neighbours and friends and grow more of your favourites from the plants you already have.

Depending on the type of plant you can take cuttings, collect seeds and divide the root ball. All of these things happen at different times of the year but you will soon have a collection of plants you can swap for plants you would like.

If you are worried about using expensive chemicals on your garden you can make your own to get rid of weeds and pests and diseases. You will have a totally organic garden if you want to as you will be using natural ways to deter the pests and diseases.

And these books are just a starter… I’ll be looking at posting a few more of our favourite furniture and garden related books in the coming weeks. Happy reading, and I usually don’t like shameless plugs, but please don’t forget to check out the Daily Deals section in our shop where you can find up to 70% off limited stock!

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