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From Art to Landscape: Unleashing Creativity in Garden Design

By W. Gary Smith

A primer for design students in a number of fields and an important reference for professional landscape and garden designers.

Landscape Architecture

Garden designers face some daunting questions: How do I begin the creative process? Where can I find design inspiration? How will I know if my design is successful? If you approach these questions like an artist, with an artist’s tools and ways of looking at the world, you will be able to design gardens that combine the unique character of a place with your innermost creative spirit. You’ll make inspiring gardens that have real meaning, for yourself as well as others.

In this luminous volume, landscape architect and artist W. Gary Smith explores the various means that artists use — including drawing, painting, sculpture, meditation, poetry, and dance — to create personal connections with the landscape that enrich and inform garden design. Part 1 focuses on simple techniques that anyone can use to nurture creativity, unleash the imagination, and get ideas down on paper. Part 2 shows how these techniques have shaped actual design projects — with spectacular results.

Throughout, the author’s friendly and encouraging voice removes the shroud of mystery surrounding the creative process and shows how even the least artistically inclined can tap into inner resources they never knew they had. Smith’s own exuberant sketches and bold paintings illuminate the path from art to landscape.

Infectiously engaging and unfailingly inspiring, this eye-opening book deserves to be read and reread by anyone who aspires to master the rich and demanding art of garden design.

Awards for this book: American Horticultural Society Book Award

Media reviews

"Encourages gardeners to think like artists."

—Valerie Easton, Seattle Times

"Some of Smith's studies are truly beautiful as works of art themselves, which makes the book stunning."

The Designer (APLD)

"A primer for design students in a number of fields and an important reference for professional landscape and garden designers."

—Peter Jacobs, Landscape Architecture

"An expansive volume filled with projects designed to teach a landscape architect how to conceive of projects artistically."

SciTech Book News

About the author

W. Gary Smith

One of North America's leading landscape designers, W. Gary Smith specializes in botanical gardens and arboretums, as well as public art installations and private gardens, often weaving together local ecological and cultural themes. He has received many awards, and currently resides in Toronto.

Read more about W. Gary Smith

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