Garden Gear - Gardening Books

Book reviews: Landscape makeovers

The Landscape Makeover Book:
How to Bring New Life to An Old Yard
by Sara Jane von Trapp;
Taunton Press;
softcover; 170 pages;
list price $34.00

With so many books being published on how to create a new landscape from scratch, it's refreshing to come across one that celebrates the values of an older, tried-and-true garden. Age brings change to every garden setting, and it's inevitable that renovation will be necessary after 10 years. But most gardeners are reluctant to bring in a bulldozer and start anew, preferring instead to make over or upgrade an area. The Landscape Makeover Book began as a journal of the author's own landscape renovation in suburban Connecticut, but grew to include other unpretentious houses and cottages with typical trees, plants, walkways and patios. Photographs and illustrations are instructional, with good examples of how not to prune evergreen yews and lay a walkway, and useful demonstrations of the right way to take down small trees, re-shape planting beds and renovate a lawn. The text of basic information could have been longer; only cursory attention is given to important issues such as budgeting time and money, quick and cheap fixes, and long-term projects. Also, be aware that some of the construction methods involving stucco, mortar, grout and cement may not be adaptable to the deep cold of Canadian winters.
-- Judith Adam

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