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Contemporary Color In The Landscape: Top Designers, Inspiring Ideas, New Combinations

Color is the first and most important design choice a garden designer makes. Over the past decade, landscape architects and garden designers have moved away from the more sedate shades commonly found in traditional gardens and have used plants and hardscape to experiment with explosions of color. From the layered and textural colors of Piet Oudolf to the high contrast colors of Tom Stuart Smith, this increased focus on color is a trademark of today’s leading designers. Contemporary Color in the Landscape explores the whole spectrum of color: how we perceive and respond to color, how to design with color, how to manipulate contrast and create intensity with saturation, how to maximize impact by minimizing color, how to find your own personal color combinations, and how color is viewed in nature. In gorgeous, color-drenched photos Andrew Wilson showcases the work of leading garden designers as inspiring examples of the way color is used. Innovative gardens from all over the world help the reader visualize the core color lessons throughout the book. Supported by more than 300 stunning photographs, Contemporary Color in the Landscape integrates cutting-edge designers, their landscapes, color theory, new design ideas, and gorgeous photography into one inspirational, instructional, and must-have guide for design professionals.

Hardcover: 280 pages

Publisher: Timber Press; 1st edition (April 20, 2011)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0881929964

ISBN-13: 978-0881929966

Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.9 x 10.2 inches

Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)

Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)

Best Sellers Rank: #1,610,175 in Books (See Top 100 in Books) #166 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > Garden Furnishings #1055 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > Landscape #1511 in Books > Crafts, Hobbies & Home > Gardening & Landscape Design > Garden Design

This lavishly illustrated volume looks at how colour can be used today. There's plenty of inspiration drawn from top designers like Piet Oudolf and Christopher Bradley-Hole; many examples chosen from Chelsea show gardens and other shows such as Chaumont; plus lots of real gardens, both private and those open to the public. These examples are drawn from all over the world, including quite a few from the USA.I've read quite a number of books and articles about garden colour previously, so I found the first few chapters didn't say much that was new to me. However, they should still remain for completeness. The later chapters on The Restricted Palette, Breaking Colour Rules (especially) and Inspired by Nature spoke to me much more. Andrew also has lots of useful things to say about combining hard and soft landscaping and it's good to see both taking centre stage in one volume.Unfortunately I found the text quite hard going, partly due to the mainly three column text layout and also because it's pitched more at the student garden designer level rather than ordinary gardeners like me. However, I did find it very useful to treat each of the pictures as a case study and ask myself whether I thought the plant and/or colour combinations worked or not. From that alone, I now have a notebook of ideas ready to try out in my garden in future years.This is a useful addition to the books on colour I have already, but newcomers to this subject might like to read Andrew Lawson's The Gardener's Book of Colour first.Note: this review was first published on

Andre Wilson presents a coffee table book that is probably equal parts photos and text showing not just the colours of gardens but in other outdoor settings as well. He describes how we see, respond and design with colour. There are also chapters on contrast, intensity, minimizing colour, breaking the rules and inspired by nature.The pictures are all lush and beautiful, but one wonders at times where is the fog and the drizzle which can present interest too and after all are a part of life, especially in England where most of these pictures were taken. Many times the plant varieties are named, but not always and that would have been better, especially when you see something you might want to acquire.There are lovely close ups of flowers and plants to emphasize and show the palettes of colour and wonderful photos of natural colour in the urban landscape.This is a book for gardeners, artists and lovers of colour and of course of gardens, especially English gardens in particular.

As a self-taught landscape designer, a lot of in-depth discussion of color by my artist friends was going right over my head. Here's an example from the book, where the author's commenting on a photo shown:"Designer Sarah Eberle used a range of broken hues in this garden, combining ochre stone with a gray-blue glazed screen, gray-brown paving, and a brown lounger. Although the colors have different additives, they combine easily because they share many similar characteristics, producing a calming composition softened by green foliage of bamboo and yucca."Before reading the book, I was flipping through and read that bit, and was like, "broken hues? Different additives? WHAT similar characteristics?". After reading Wilson's in-depth text, I totally understand where he was coming from in that commentary, and am now able to better analyze color compositions so I can bring some truly new ideas into my landscape designs.He uses a variety of photos and styles to illustrate his color concepts, and while some of the photos worked for me and some were not things I'd replicate, every single photo and the accompanying text taught me something about WHY the composition was working for me or not. And beyond my pleasure in learning more about color theory, the photos are bold, interesting and evocative. This is lovely enough to be a coffee table book, though the text certainly holds its own.If you're an artist passionate about the garden, or a landscape designer looking to learn how to create something new and different of your own, then this book is an ideal text to get you started thinking deeply about the colors around us and how best to work with them for different effects.

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