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Sunset updates its garden design advice in 'Western Garden Book of Landscaping'

Redesigned 'Sunset Western Garden Book of Landscaping' emphasizes Earth-friendly gardens and landscaping ideas.

April 09, 2014|By Anne Colby

Some garden advice can be heeded no matter where you live. But much in gardening and landscaping revolves around the specifics of location — weather, terrain, soil type and design preferences.

That's where the redesigned and updated "Sunset Western Garden Book of Landscaping," edited by Sunset magazine's Kathleen Norris Brenzel (Oxmoor House, $29.95, paper), has an edge over a more general guide.

A section on plants, for example, includes chapters on palms, ornamental grasses, tropicals, succulents, cactus and natives. It's not the kind of vegetation you're likely to find in Connecticut or upstate New York. And many outdoor living areas pictured in the book appear to be designed for year-round use.

The new volume — companion to "The New Sunset Western Garden Book" (sometimes called the "gardening bible" for the Western U.S.) — gives a good overview of elements to consider when creating a residential landscape. This edition focuses on Earth-friendly design.

Sections on structures, plants, finishing touches and planning are lavishly illustrated with 600 color photographs of Western gardens that offer ideas and inspiration. Short chapters with expanded captions briefly tell the story of each garden and include plant types and landscaping details.

A planning section outlines the basics of site evaluation, goal setting and design principles. Also included are chapters on coping with fire and wind, capturing rainwater and using vegetation to cool a garden and provide privacy.

Landscaping for pets and wildlife is discussed as well. To keep dogs from digging under a fence, the book suggests adding a landscaped "river" of stones along the base. And if you want to attract butterflies, provide a shallow container of water with pebbles on which they can perch while drinking.

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anne.colby@latimes.com

Twitter: @acolby

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