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A Landscape Legacy


It is no exaggeration to say that John Brookes transformed twentieth-century garden design, not only in his native Britain but throughout the world. He fundamentally changed the way people think about their gardens. In his first book, Room Outside, in 1969, he wrote, “A garden is essentially a place for use by people . . . not a static picture created by plants . . . plants provide the props, the colour and texture, but the garden is the stage and its design should be determined by the uses it is intended to fulfil.” Today, nearly fifty years on, he emphasizes “the importance of reconciling nature and the character of a landscape with the needs and visions of the people living in it.” Over those fifty years he has designed gardens – and taught garden design – in the United States, Canada and South America, in Russia and Japan, in Iran and Kashmir, and all over Europe – always consulting “the vernacular of an area, its materials and how they are used, as well as its plants”. Now, in A Landscape Legacy John Brookes tells the story of his life and work and reflects on how his thinking about garden design, and design generally, has developed.

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