3rd Edition

The Planting Design Handbook

By Nick Robinson Copyright 2016

    Since the first edition was published in 1992, Nick Robinson's The Planting Design Handbook has been widely used as a definitive text on landscape architecture courses throughout the world. It remains one of the few titles written by a practicing landscape architect and educator who is also a horticulturalist and accomplished plantsman, and which deals with the application of planting design on a large scale in landscape architecture and urban design projects. The Planting Design Handbook is distinctive for its elegant integration of an ecological approach with an understanding of visual and spatial composition. It emphasizes the role of vegetation layers and designed plant communities in complex and diverse plant assemblages for all kinds of sites and uses. This expanded and comprehensively updated third edition still provides a complete examination of principles and practice of design for public, institutional and private landscapes. It takes account of developments in theory and practice, especially in the use of perennials, and reflects a variety of media and approaches current in landscape architecture and design. All chapters have been revised and re-written to ensure updated references and new references have been added. Many new photographs of planting and projects around the world have been included, with examples of current professional drawings to illustrate the design process. It is generously illustrated, including a colour section and the beautifully detailed line drawings of the Chinese architect and painter Jia-Hua Wu.

    Introduction, Part I: Principles, 1. Why Design? 2. Plants as a Medium for Design, 3. Spatial Characteristics of Plants, 4. Creating Spaces with Plants, 5. Composite Landscape, 6. Visual Properties of Plants, 7. Visual Composition, 8. Plant Assemblages, 9. Ecological and Horticultural Factors, Part II: Process, 10. Design Methodology, Part III: Practice, 11. Large-scale Planting, 12. Small-scale Planting, Conclusion


    Nick Robinson is a practising landscape architect and educator with a private practice in Auckland, New Zealand. He has lectured at the universities of Sheffield and Gloucestershire in the UK, at Lincoln in New Zealand and at Cal Poly, USA.

    ’As a lecturer in planting design I find Nick’s book provides a valuable academic approach to the principles of visual, ecological and spatial design with plants for a wide variety of design parameters and landscape conditions. The 3rd edition’s coverage of wild flower meadows and naturalistic perennial make useful additions to this scope.’ Penny Cliffin, Unitec Institute of Technology, New Zealand ’Ever since its first edition, I have regarded The Planting Design Handbook as the standard work on the method and process of planting design. But it is far more than that and stands as an excellent and clear introduction to the principles of spatial design in its own right. As a long-standing text, the book stands outside of the vagaries of any prevailing fashion or trend. While holding on to its key strengths, this latest edition has been thoroughly overhauled and updated to include current ecological and environmental approaches to designing with plants that pervade the whole book, and it is illustrated throughout with classic and contemporary examples. This book is an essential requirement for practitioners and students of landscape architecture and garden design: a highly intelligent, rigorous and practical guide to the art, science and ethics of planting design.’ Nigel Dunnett, University of Sheffield, UK ’It has always been difficult to find academic texts on planting which do more than explore the horticultural qualities, or just identify the aesthetic qualities of plants; this book does that, looking beyond the aesthetics of planting as a medium. The first two editions introduced the now well established section on Design Methodology, ensuring planting design is rightly part of the wider spatial design process. With the addition of new sections on herbaceous, wildflower and naturalistic perennial planting, this third edition of Nick Robinson’s Planting Design Handbook is now the most comprehensive and engaging volume on the use of planting as a