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- Publié sur Amazon.com
If you're the type of person who likes to fully understand the options available to you, you'll love the thorough text in this meaty book. The author goes into great detail on a number of different topics having to do with designing your new lawn-free space.
Hadden begins by talking about living carpets, plants that will form a thick groundcover and give that same open look that a lawn does, while growing tall enough to suppress weeds. She then moves into talking about shade gardens, meadow and prairie gardens, and rain gardens, giving some solutions for each type of space.
Her section on patios includes some helpful photos which give inspiration on some different styles for designing the patio, as well as a lot of practical tips for designing that most people wouldn't think about until AFTER they made a design mistake with unfortunate maintenance or aesthetic consequences. I also really liked her section on play areas, which included some unusual natural spaces that would encourage kids and grown-ups alike to want to be outdoors.
In her section on ponds, Hadden cleverly points out that "a pond can outperform a lawn as a low, open expanse to look across from your home or patio, bringing light, movement, wildlife, and possibilities for play into your garden." This is something that I've seen in my own landscape design practice. In small or skinny areas where maintaining a small lawn can be a real chore, a pond, either natural or in a geometric shape, can instantly add a huge amount of design appeal, yet takes about the same amount of time each month to maintain as a lawn. Most people don't even think of a pond as a lawn alternative, yet it is an elegant and dramatic one.
She also discusses xeric gardens, edible gardens, stroll gardens, and smarter lawns which get a more lawn-like effect without needing so much mowing or care. Towards the end, she talks honestly and clearly about the installation and maintenance processes of some of the techniques she espouses (a refreshing change from many design books, which act as though gardens just maintain themselves), and then has a small encyclopedia, about 30 pages long, of recommended plants. While plant choices in a general sense are so specific to each region, the author does a good job of covering a variety of plants that do well across the country. You will still need to check her recommendations with a local landscape consultant or nursery to make sure that these plants will grow well in your region, but that is the case with plant recommendations in any book.
I have two minor complaints. First, the text is printed smaller than I'd like and is printed in a brown color that is harder to read than black, which leads me to think that perhaps this would be better as a digital edition than on paper, so you can adjust the text size if needed. Second, I wish the publisher had worked with the author to find more photos of design solutions. While there are beautiful photographs on every page, about half of the photos are close-ups of plants or don't reflect the new ideas the author is sharing in her text. I would have liked about half of the photos replaced with more effective ones.
However, the text itself is outstanding; thoughtful, detailed, horticulturally accurate and full of innovative ideas. I love the author's emphasis on environmentally friendly techniques for installing and maintaining your new lawn free space. And I really liked the sheer number of inspiring ideas and different approaches that she suggested. I think that if this book goes into a second edition, I'd recommend a larger hardcover format with glossy pages that would allow the hopefully expanded selection of photographs to shine even better, and the text to have enough space to be more easily scannable.
Overall, if you're a homeowner looking to replace your lawn with something a little bit more useful and interesting, this book would be a great place to start. You'll find the author answers nearly any question you might have about the different styles of garden or planting you'll be considering for your new garden space, so your book will end up dogeared and well used.