In the modern age of Instagram wisdom and TikTok advice, architecture and landscape design books have become a rarity. You can always search for “landscape companies near me” and hire professionals to design your landscape. However, to create one yourself, you need some help. Let’s check out a few books that can help with landscape design and construction.
- Landscape Architecture: A Manual of Environmental Planning and Design – This book is one of the best resources to build theoretical knowledge on the basics of landscape architecture. The authors have been authoritative figures in the field for almost half a century and their books have been refreshed with newer concepts and designs to keep up with changing times.
The latest fifth edition has all the new developments in landscape architecture and hundreds of illustrations and images to provide you with a comprehensive presentation. It teaches you how to design your landscape practically for your utility while leaving a significantly low environmental impact. It covers topics like stormwater management, low-impact design, land reuse, sustainability, and more.
- Frederick Law Olmsted: Writings on Landscape, Culture, and Society – Olmsted lived during the 19th century and left an impact that affects you to this day. He is remembered as one of the most prominent American landscape architects and his iconic creations include the US Capitol in DC, New York City Central Park, and the luxurious Biltmore Estate in North Carolina.
This book has been created by compiling his letters, essays, editorials, articles, official reports, design proposals, and more such documents. The book perfectly showcases the role of public green spaces to help cope with the pressures of urbanization. Some of his designs are brilliant enough to work in modern suburban environments and may guide you in a new direction.
- Design with Nature – This book is one of the most influential pieces of literature that has shaped modern landscape planning. It highlights the importance of ecological planning and how you could design an urban landscape in synergy with nature. It will inspire you to look at your surrounding environment with a new lens and exercise the core concepts of this book in your backyard.
- Cities and Natural Process: A Basis for Sustainability – As the name suggests, the book depicts how a city changes human and natural processes and shifts entire cultural value systems. It questions the fundamental perception of nature in urbanized environments and how the approach should be changed to preserve the natural environment without shedding modern technology and innovative solutions. Some of the best topics of this book include landscape ecology, greenway systems, and green infrastructure.
- Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture – This book is a benchmark for professionals on n numerous topics including material details, construction documentation, land planning, and much more. The book is an authoritative resource that is kept by most professionals as reference material.
It teaches you key design elements for almost any design feature and site condition you may face. While it has a lot of key details about large-scale planning projects, it isn’t short on small residential construction projects. Make sure that you buy the latest edition. Landscape architecture constantly evolves, and construction details keep changing. You can’t afford to buy an older edition of this book since it arms you with practical knowledge instead of just theories and concepts.
- Manual of Woody landscape plants – Also known as the “Dirr Manual”, this book is one of the most commanding resources when it comes to ornamental horticulture that’s abundantly used in modern landscapes. The thousand-page textbook by Michael A. Dirr provides you with all the knowledge necessary to identify common woody plants. It also teaches you about propagation strategies and cultural requirements necessary for those plants while also talking about aesthetic adaptations.
The book is nothing short of an encyclopedia on ornamental horticulture and retaining just 10 percent of its teachings would help you identify most plant materials you come across in your landscape. On the other hand, mastering this book would equip you with a better understanding of woody plants, herbaceous plants, and tender perennials so that you can create any type of garden or xeriscape.
- Silent Spring – Just years after the publication of this book, it was recognized by several educational departments across the country for its core message on environmental conservation. You can refer to it for agricultural design, landscape architecture, environmental design, and much more.
The author of this book, Rachel Carson was a journalist who highlighted environmental problems to the American public with her book. The book showed the devastating effects of chemical pesticides used in both agriculture and urban landscapes and highlighted its short-term and long-term consequences. It also consists of alternatives that can be adopted instead of relying on harmful toxic fertilizers and how you can create a landscape that is diverse and self-reliant.
- The Death and Life of Great American Cities – When you’re designing your landscape, you may have to visit the municipal city planner’s office for permits and other documentation. On the bookshelves of those offices, you’ll find a few books on ordinances, zoning codes, planning documents, and Jane Jacobs’s The Death and Life of Great American Cities.
Jacobs was a journalist like Carson, and she investigated top-down revitalization happening across neighborhoods in Manhattan. The book recorded those findings and criticized them without pulling back any punches. This was revolutionarily that forced city planners to change their outlook on the matter.
The book teaches you how society is made up of diverse blocks and the landscape and architecture should work to facilitate communication and cohesion between those groups. While the book is more suited to urban planners, you may find some valuable insights from it to use in your project.
Landscape design and construction are complicated work. While social media influencers with their beautiful landscapes may inspire you to build something similar, you need the above-mentioned resources for more practical knowledge and the basics. Otherwise, you can search for “landscape companies near me” and hire pros for the job.