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Holiday Reading List: Great Books on Landscape Architecture and Design

Posted on by Alison Strickler


Stumped on a gift for someone interested in landscape architecture, design, or garden design? Here are some of our faves, for a wide variety of skill levels and interests, ranging from monographs on the hottest landscape architects practicing today to a simple guide for organic composting. Let’s hear it for last-minute shoppers!


Piet Oudolf: Landscapes in Landscapes, The Monacelli Press
Peter Schaudt’s favorite for this year, Oudolf’s monograph is a generous and inspiring compilation of this Dutch master’s best works. Oudolf is known for his planting design that incorporates fantastically bold drifts of herbaceous perennial plants and grasses. If you’ve been to the High Line for a stroll, you’ve seen some of his latest work. If you haven’t, get this book!


If you love Chicago like we do, Brett Weidl recommends Plans of Chicago by Robert Samuel Roche and Aric Lasher. Full of beautiful illustrations, it reflects on the Burnham plan for Chicago and other historic plans while evaluating the current problems the city faces and how they might be solved by these historic resources. And if you REALLY love Chicago, getting a tote from Cityfabric emblazoned with a very cool map of the city on it would be an awesome way to wrap that book up!


Reconstructing Urban Landscapes, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates
Another of Peter’s all time favorites, this monograph delves into the works of one of the most prolific landscape architects in the US today. Richly illustrated, this is the first publication to explore a wide range of the firm’s projects, focusing on its emphasis on sites requiring complex technological solutions.


Garden Design Workbook, John Brookes
This is an extremely reliable publication Doug Hoerr returns to again and again when explaining the practical aspects of garden design. It’s organized to walk you through the process of designing your own garden, and Brookes breaks down design principles and practical skills clearly through a series of case studies. If you’re an aspiring garden designer and want a solid foundation to build on, this is a worthy guide from one of England’s most revered garden designers.


Carrot City: Creating Places for Urban Agriculture, Mark Gorgolewski, June Komisar and Joe Nasr
Although books on urban agriculture seem to be sprouting out of the sidewalk, this is one of surprisingly few books that delve into the intersection of designed space and the urban agriculture movement. The authors showcase built and imagined projects that utilize existing infrastructure to integrate agriculture into urban environments. Full disclosure is that one of our projects is in this book, but here is a completely unbiased review!


For those of us wanting a practical guide on the most humble of gardening matters, we recommend the little e-book by Organic Gardening Magazine on how to compost organically: Compostology 1-2-3, by Ethne Clarke. This sweet volume will get you on the path to creating ‘gardener’s gold’ in no time!

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