Great Gardens in Small Spaces by Melba Levick and Karen Dardick, Rizzoli International Publications,
Finally, we have a publication about small gardens that focuses on flowers, colors, and texture. Most of the other literature for this specialty pays attention to hardscapes such as patios, pergolas, pools, decks and focal points. Not this book. Here the emphasis is placed on beautiful tiny oases where plants dominate. This book will take readers on a photographic journey that will inspire them to turn any small plot into a jewel-like work of art.
The essence of designing a small garden, so that it might be attractive and inviting, is so remarkably concise that the author has been able to summarize everything a reader needs to know in only 4 pages of text. The balance of 288 pages is filled with examples of what readers can accomplish by adapting some of the illustrated ideas. Melba Levick is the real star of this publication as the value of the book for gardeners rests on her images. The works of this photographer have been exhibited, published, and licensed internationally for over 20 years. Amazon alone currently sells 28 out of the 45 photographic books to her credit, mostly about architecture, décor, travel, and gardens. The high caliber of images in this publication goes beyond horticultural photography. Each beautiful picture is a pedagogical tool that demonstrates a design technique from an existing, successful, small garden.
Gardeners who do not enjoy reading text will be delighted to see how the theme of this publication plays itself out in images. Over 40 small gardens have been photographed to illustrate the book’s message. While all are located in California, most are adaptable to the North East. The plant varieties and colors used in landscaping are similar to what will grow in colder climates. Included, also, are images of several desert and drought tolerant gardens, sculptural in their brilliant execution, that are meant for home owners located in the South West.
The overall message of the book is that clever ideas contribute to creating beautiful, lush, small gardens. These include: - contrasting colors and contrasting textures, flower pots and urns, raised beds and their strategic location, the use of oversize and bold looking plants, gravel and winding paths, cleverly placed benches, hanging baskets, clouds of ground cover, brimming over paving stones, climbers, terraced beds, gardens divided into rooms, ponds, objects d’arts, arbors, mixing tall and short plants, and the bold use of color to create flamboyant focal points. All of these are details necessary to trick the eye into thinking that a garden is larger than it really is and for creating a comfortable and inviting atmosphere that dispels any feeling of confinement.
The exquisite color photos of 44 gardens also offer readers many choices of style: - romantic, Japanese, hillside, wooded, shade, tropical, simple palette, colorful palette, walled, outdoor rooms, cottage style, Mediterranean, intimate, fragrant, simple, and intriguing. The book offers many inspiring lessons based on the efficient use of space, both above and at ground level, using garden themes and visual chicanery. This publication will become part of my permanent gardening library. Designing small urban gardens used to be a challenging task until I stumbled upon this delightful and inspiring guide.