If you're a designer or a designer-wannabe, you will treasure this book. In Gardens in Detail: 100 Contemporary Designs (Monacelli Press, 2014), British garden designer and writer Emma Reuss features hundreds of garden elements that make the designs come together.
As Reuss explains in the introduction, the book will "enhance your appreciation of every garden you visit, and it will provide inspiration and practical ideas that you can apply to your own garden."
More than that, it's a compendium of top designers and landscape architects from around the world, featuring 100 of their landscapes. Reuss divides the gardens into chapters featuring major landscape features like Art, Composition, Lifestyle, Color, Plants -- and then offers a four-page summary of each with gorgeous photos. There's a brief summary of each garden, followed by explanations and photos of the main "design ingredients."
Design ingredients range from reptition and ordered space to mass and void, symmetry, and clean, precise geometry -- just to mention a few. Each ingredient is identified in the photos and accompanied by a brief explanation.
The book includes projects by famous designers -- Piet Oudolf, Isabelle Greene, Andy Sturgeon, Dan Pearson, Andrea Cochran and many more, but also designs by many others that will be entirely new to you.
The gardens featured comprise many styles and even include some historic landscapes by Roberto Burle-Marx, Gertrude Jekyll, Sir Edward Lutyens, Naser Ad-Douleh and others.
It's a great reference work and it's filled with ideas and inspiration. I can't imagine a dedicated gardener or a designer who wouldn't want to have a copy on his or her desk.