Conran is an iconic design figure in Europe for good reason. This book, as well as his previous, The Essential Garden Book, are collaborations with young, up-and-comers and are large scale feasts for the eyes. Outdoors showcases many contemporary gardens, as that is Gavin’s forte, but Conran’s influence shines through in the gorgeous vegetable gardens and lush potagers. Especially fresh are the images of kid-friendly gardens, which tend to be under-represented in design books. Straight forward text is well supported by photos with captions that explain what is on view, how it works and why. The section on selecting a professional lets the reader know what to anticipate from a designer, an architect, design-build firm, etc (from a designers perspective, mind you). It even let’s the reader know what will be expected of them as a client should they hire a garden pro. While most design books are a collection of unrelated photos, a nice feature of Outdoors is the “Case Studies” of individual gardens where a full appreciation of the unified vision comes clear. Design concepts such as the repetition of materials, for instance, are revealed in the thirteen case studies, each accompanied by a line drawing of the landscape plan. I revisit this book often for inspiration, as I have Conran’s others and think it appropriate for anyone looking for novel gardening ideas.
Monacelli Press offers other wonderful garden titles www.monacellipress.com