How to Design a Garden by John Brookes MBE, has been edited and with an introduction by Gwendolyn van Paasschen and a foreword by Andrew Duff and is published on 7 October 2021 at a paperback price of £20 by Pimpernel Press.
“Relying entirely on planting as the backbone of a garden all year round is too much to ask.” So wrote award-winning landscape designer John Brookes MBE (1933-2018) for House & Garden Magazine in 1963, setting out a new design philosophy and methodology that revolutionized garden design.
Promoting the idea that gardens are about the people who live there and should be used as an extension of the home in his 1969 book, A Room Outside, Brookes’ approach at the time was unprecedented. He understood the then novel idea that people of all income levels could have designed fashionable gardens to suit their needs, low maintenance and beautiful. It was an extremely popular post that hasn’t lost its appeal. In this new book, his writings remind us that good design doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive.
His gift was to combine simplicity and functionality with excellent design. His essays, articles and lectures collected here embody John’s thinking while being accessible and informative. Here are his basic “grid-based” lessons for designers as well as homeowners, with plenty of fundamental advice for both. Here, too, are his prescient views on the environment and conservation, the importance of preserving local identity, and the links between art and garden design.
Although some of these pieces were written decades ago, his design advice and philosophy remain utterly relevant and forward-looking.