Cover image for Designing with plants
Designing with plants
Oudolf, Piet.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Portland, Or. : Timber Press, 1999.
Physical Description:
160 pages : color illustrations ; 29 cm
General Note:
Includes index.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
SB407 .O83 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize
SB407 .O83 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Oversize

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Piet Oudolf's gardens excite the senses and stir emotion with an approach to gardening that emphasizes form, texture, light, movement, and color. Designing with Plants is both inspirational and instructive-an informative and visually breathtaking study that shows readers how to create the same effects in their gardens. This paperback reprint includes four main parts. "Planting Palettes" shows the range of plant choice available in form, texture, and color. "Designing Schemes" shows how to combine these elements to create stunning and sculptural gardens. Through stunning photography, "Planting Moods" shows how to create a particular atmosphere. And "Year-Round Planting" emphasizes the importance of choosing plants that have value throughout the seasons.

Author Notes

Piet Oudolf has designed gardens and public parks throughout Europe, and his own garden and nursery (run by his wife Anja) in Holland is world famous
Noel Kingsbury is a garden designer and writer

Reviews 1

Library Journal Review

A garden designer and plant breeder, Oudolf designs gardens that use perennials exclusively, eschewing the current trend toward high-maintenance mixed borders of perennials, annuals, and shrubs. He values perennials for their form and texture, emphasizing structure as the most important aspect in successful garden design. The color of flowers comes in a distant third after the form of the plant and the shape of the leaves; Oudolf's motto is "a successful plant combination relies primarily on shapes." To help gardeners follow this principle, he lists plants he has found valuable based on what he calls a "palette of shapes" and gives diagrams for planning borders based on them. While his approach is novel and thought-provoking, it reflects the context in which he works, mainly Britain and Northern Europe. But even if you do not garden in this ideal maritime climate, his ideas will be helpful, especially his advice on when to break the rules: "To be a successful gardener you need to understand the basics of how plants grow, and how they develop over time." Recommended for large public and academic libraries.ÄDaniel Starr, Museum of Modern Art, New York (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.



Mysticism in the garden depends almost entirely on circumstances which are beyond your control, when the power of the elements combines with nature in the early morning, in fog, or at dusk, for instance to make you feel quite alone. You cannot plant to create mysticism, but certain plants will work best in mystical circumstances; they almost become people in your imagination, taking on human characteristics and attributes. You can imagine that they are looking at you or coming towards you. Mysticism may be a strange word to use with regard to a garden. It is best defined as a spiritual experience where one feels at one with the whole of creation, and hence at one with the divinity itself. The thirteenth-century German Dominican Meister Eckhart is one of the best-known Christian exponents of the same philosophy, while Sufis of Islam are also familiar to many. By turning the conventional view of gardening upside down, however, it is possible to create a vision of the garden which sees nature as supreme. The concept of the sublime has illustrated that it is possible to feel in awe of the garden, and it is only one step beyond this to see the garden as a paradigm of creation, and the human role within it as a minor one. Rather than controloing and taming nature, the gardener merely orchestrates living things that have their own rythems and processes, over which he/she has litle control. The mystic wants to feel as though he is an integral part of nature, the expression of divine beauty, so the mystic's garden is somewhere very personal where it is possible to feel at one with nature gardening as a spiritual exercise! Excerpted from Designing with Plants by Piet Oudolf, Noel Kingsbury All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. 6
Planting palettesp. 14
Designing Schemesp. 40
Combining Forms
Combining Colours
Structure and Filler Plants
Using Grasses
Using Umbellifers
Repetition and Rhythm
Assembling a Planting
Natural Planting
Planting Through the Seasons
Breaking the Rules
Using Plants as Architecture
Moodsp. 92
The Sublime
Year-Round Plantingp. 122
Plant Directoryp. 144
Indexp. 156
Acknowledgmentsp. 160