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The garden as canvas

The Abundant Garden: A Celebration of Color, Texture, and Blooms Barbara J. Denk and Debra Prinzing Cool Springs Press; $29.99

January 19, 2006|Nancy Yoshihara

Imagine your outdoor space as a blank canvas to express yourself artistically. The idea of designing a garden may be irresistible but it requires special considerations. "Think of it as a watercolor painted with understated washes of color rather than bold contemporary canvas with high contrast colors or shapes," advise the authors.

Richly photographed and written from a design angle, the book features nine gardens in Bainbridge Island, Wash., where Denk, an architectural designer and photographer, lives. Coauthor Prinzing, a garden and design writer, is based in Seattle.

This is not a step-by-step gardening book. Each garden is used to introduce and illustrate a design concept -- spontaneity, layering, intimacy, framed views, ornamentation, movement, patterns, color, timelessness -- all useful in any garden design regardless of geographic location.

Still, given their rainy Pacific Northwest locale, the authors focus on lush, richly diverse landscapes with plants that may not do well in the Mediterranean-like climate of Southern California.

But the point is to think of the garden as a palette of color, texture and patterns, and the authors give tips on how to achieve that in any location.

-- Nancy Yoshihara

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