Actually, I would give this book 3 1/2 stars, if that rating had been available. The reason this book did not receive a higher rating is that it has proved somewhat disappointing for me as a homeowner, even though I did "look inside" before I purchased it.
As a textbook, which one could argue is its basic purpose, "Planting Design" is quite good. The author covers the basic aspects of landscape design (line, form, texture, color, repetition, etc.) in a focused but understandable manner. The progression of the text is logical, with concepts and chapters methodically building on previous exposition. Many of the basic premises of designing a landscape that other books or forums assume you already know or only briefly refer to are knowledgeably explained. Clearly the author has an excellent grasp of his subject.
The drawback for the homeowner or novice reader looking for an introduction to this subject is that a textbook works best in a class with a teacher to explain, integrate, and illustrate key aspects. Without this, "Planting Design" can be challenging to read and comprehend in spots.
The biggest disappointment for me in this respect is that the pictures are sparse, mediocre in quality, and in black and white. In one glaring example, the author is discussing texture and color, which is illustrated with a poorly exposed black and white photo. I had to use an online landscaping course in order to find the requisite color photos that illustrated many of the points the author was trying to make.
Similarly, the author seems to take for granted that the reader already has some knowledge of the field. For example, in one table labeled "Textural Impressions" the author uses the abbreviations M, C, and F (which I assume is Medium, Coarse, and Fine) without any reference to what these abbreviations referred to.
The reader should also be aware that approximately half the book is given over to "Plant Classifications on the Basis of Design Qualities and Cultural Requirements." In other word, a plant such as Daphne is described in terms of size, USDA zone, form, foliage color, texture, form, features, and comments. I can see where this kind of manual or appendix could prove valuable to the designer or to certain gardeners, but I was somewhat disappointed that so much of the book had been given over to this area.
Overall, I would still recommend this book and I am learning a great deal. However, it is not for everyone. I wrote this review mainly to inform others whose needs may or may not match with what this book had to offer and to help them to avoid any unpleasant surprises.