Envisioning the Garden: Line, Scale, Distance, Form, Color, and Meaning

Overview

An expert shares practical, easily achieved principles for making beautiful gardens.
What style to give a garden and how best to lay it out are perennial puzzles for creators of gardens. Gardener/designer Robert Mallet shows how the basic elements of design—line, scale, distance, shape, color, and other sensory associations—can open the viewer’s outlook toward broad perspectives or, conversely, can lock us up in a cage. Reviewing all these elements, Mallet explains what really ...

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Overview

An expert shares practical, easily achieved principles for making beautiful gardens.
What style to give a garden and how best to lay it out are perennial puzzles for creators of gardens. Gardener/designer Robert Mallet shows how the basic elements of design—line, scale, distance, shape, color, and other sensory associations—can open the viewer’s outlook toward broad perspectives or, conversely, can lock us up in a cage. Reviewing all these elements, Mallet explains what really works, offering a range of practical ideas that can be adapted to visually enlarge space and liberate the mind. He illustrates his ideas in 160 beautiful photographs and the skillful drawings of architect Yves Poinsot.
Mallet was for over twenty years in charge of Le Bois des Moutiers, a park created by his grandfather in Normandy, one of the most beautiful gardens in France, where he was able to put his ideas to the test within the context of a masterpiece of scenic design.

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Editorial Reviews

Michigan Gardener
“[I]deal for a gardener longing for a thorough understanding of what creates a more artistic mood, feel, or voice in a garden.”
Woman Around Town
“Any gardener, no matter how proficient, can benefit by reading Envisioning the Garden…Inspirational for those who love their outdoor space.”
GardenDesignUnlimited (UK)
“[A] fresh look and feel...excellent photographs.... [U]nderstanding these principles can make the design process very exciting and enable the designer to achieve the maximum potential of each site...Mallet somehow brings a new and interesting way of explaining and illustrating the various techniques and certainly made me feel that almost anything is possible.... [F]ull of excellent ideas on how to make the most of our garden spaces.”
Current Books on Gardening and Botany published by the Chicago Botanic Garden
“This book is enjoyable to read and a visual feast, with a number of ideas that could be adapted to more humble settings.”
Hugh Johnson
“I am delighted to see this masterwork of French garden art and technique translated into English. Robert Mallet lays out the elements of garden composition so clearly and illustrates them so well that I cannot imagine a gardener failing to profit from this book. Wherever you garden it will open your eyes.”
Gordon Hayward
“Designing a garden is a visual pursuit, and so the educated eye is central to the designer's success. In Envisioning the Garden, a book about conscious seeing, French garden designer Robert Mallet explores how garden makers employ universal elements of composition—line, scale, distance, form, color—to create gardens that evoke emotions. Mallet would admire photographer Edward Steichen's statement: 'Once you really commence to see things, then you really commence to feel things.'”
Lynden B. Miller
“This book provides what every gardener needs: a splendid education for the eye, the mind, and the soul. Using elegant diagrams and beautiful photographs of French and English gardens to illustrate his points, Robert Mallet offers new insights into the importance of design in the garden and the landscape. In his unique voice, Envisioning the Garden tells the reader how to understand what we see and how to use the different elements of design to achieve what we want in our gardens.”
Christopher Schoppa - The Washington Post
“This classy paperback takes a cerebral approach to garden design, offering insightful essays on some of its essentials…The author's goal was to balance the text with a bounty of visual elements, which include his own lush photographs and drawings by architect Yves Poinsot.”
Library Journal
In this translation of his book published in France in 2004, Mallet, who for over 20 years was in charge of Le Bois des Moutiers, one of the most beautiful gardens in France, writes about the art of garden design as the alignment of various factors to fulfill the designer's complex and individual vision. He discusses the workings of human perception and the way elements of line, scale, distance, form, and color can come together to evoke emotion, and he explains how varied shapes and nuanced textures can make spaces seem larger and how specific color combinations, such as the placement of light-colored plants in front of darker ones, can create the appearance of depth. The 160 outstanding photographs, taken by architect Poinsot and others, clearly illustrate these ideas and show how and why they work. Poinsot's line drawings demonstrate ways of understanding dimensionality, perspective, and proportion (the Blondel formula, for example, which determines optimal staircase proportions). VERDICT This beautiful book is an excellent primer, laying out the principles of garden design and showing how they can be accomplished. A great inspiration for gardeners and students of horticultural design.—Phillip Oliver, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence
Christopher Schoppa
This classy paperback takes a cerebral approach to garden design, offering insightful essays on some of its essential facets…
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393733426
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/9/2011
  • Pages: 144
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Mallet was for more than twenty years in charge of Le Bois des Moutiers, a park created by his grandfather in Varengeville-sur-mer, Normandy. He is also the author of Rebirth of a Park, about Le Bois des Moutiers.

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