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Designing with Conifers: The Best Choices for Year-Round Interest in Your Garden

By Richard L. Bitner

Offers a great deal of practical information for creating harmonious landscapes that employ conifers to their best effect.

American Gardener

Perhaps no group of plants is so poorly used in our gardens as conifers. Everyone has seen looming spruces squashed up against a house or rows of kettledrum-shaped yews along a sidewalk. But used intelligently and creatively, conifers can be star players in creating beautiful, long-lasting plant combinations or serene backyard havens.

Designing with Conifers is about using conifers as garden plants: selecting them for their habit, foliage, color, or potential as accents. Even more importantly, it's about making better choices when we select conifers for our landscapes or integrate them into our mixed borders. With blue, gray, and gold foliage and shapes ranging from spiky to weeping, conifers have the potential to be garden design stars.

Whatever landscape situation or challenge you may face, Designing with Conifers will show you how to make the most of this beautiful, useful, and versatile group of plants.

Media reviews

"Offers a great deal of practical information for creating harmonious landscapes that employ conifers to their best effect."

—Anne Marsh, American Gardener

"Abundantly illustrated."

Reference and Research Book News

"The book features a host of dreamy, conifer-heavy gardens."

—Ann Stratton, Fine Gardening

"Organized in a practical, gardener-friendly format."

—Jerry Belanger, Conifers Quarterly

"An idea book for using conifers in garden design ... [that] will inspire professional designers as well as armchair gardeners. Recommended."


"Richard L. Bitner wants designers to be creative with their use of conifers, and this guide is intended to help achieve that by describing species in terms of shapes and colors, to give landscape architects a better chance to envision a plant as part of a larger plan."

Landscape Architecture

About the author

Richard L. Bitner

Richard L. Bitner is a garden writer and photographer whose work has appeared in numerous national and regional magazines. He studied horticulture at Longwood Gardens in Pennsylvania, where for many years he has been an instructor in the Continuing Education program.

Read more about Richard L. Bitner

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