Our pick of the best books on designing your garden, some of which are available from the RHS Shop

The Royal Horticultural Society Encyclopedia of Garden Design : Editor in Chief, Chris Young, DK, 2013, ISBN: 978-1409325741

Good for: a really useful overview of the whole process of garden design, from working out what you want to do in your space, to the plants and materials that you can use.


The English Garden by Ursula Buchan, Frances Lincoln, 2006, ISBN: 978-0711226388

Good for: a sumptuous exploration of English gardens (with beautiful images by photographer Andrew Lawson) - read this, and you start to understand the many design styles and taste references that we have as gardeners.

The Garden Source by Andrea Jones, 8 Books, 2011, ISBN: 978-0955432279

Good for: a visual canter through a myriad ideas for gardens, from fences to fountains, planting to paving.


The Landscape of Man by Sir Geoffrey Jellicoe, Thames and Hudson Ltd, 1995, ISBN: 978-0500278192

Good for: this is one of the most important books for understanding the value of landscape, and the potential it has for human enjoyment – all based on a deep understanding of our historic and cultural relationship with the land.

RHS Small Garden Handbook: Making the Most of Your Outdoor Space by Andrew Wilson, Mitchell Beazley, 2013, ISBN: 978-1845336813

Good for: provides an all-in-one guide for small space gardeners and draws on the experience in growing, planting, landscaping and design for which the RHS is world famous.


RHS The Urban Gardener by Matt James, Mitchell Beazley, 2014, ISBN: 978-1845337964

Good for: exploring how to design an urban outdoor space, no matter the size or location - from balconies and roof terraces to courtyards, basement areas and front gardens, factoring in areas for relaxation, play and growing your own produce. 

Dream Plants for the Natural Garden by Henk Gerritsen, Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd, 2000, ISBN: 978-0711217379

Good for: the book provides complete growing information for each plant and advice on how to use them to best effect. 


Planting: A New Perspective by Piet Oudolf, Timber Press, 2013, ISBN: 978-1604693706

Good for: offers keen gardeners, garden designers and landscape architects a unique insight into how Oudolf & Kingsbury combine these areas of expertise to create some of the world's most memorable parks and gardens

The RHS Garden Designer by Robin Williams, Frances Lincoln Publishers Ltd, 2007, ISBN 978-0711226326

Good for: showing how to make beautiful gardens in which every element fits harmoniously into a whole.


Designing Gardens on Slopes by Elizabeth Davies, Packard Publishing Ltd, 2012, ISBN 978-1853411380

Good for: simple and informative guide detailing the survey, through design, to construction and planting for designing real gardens on slopes. 

The Royal Horticultural Society: Colour Your Garden by Jill Billington, Quadrille Publishing Ltd, 2004, ISBN: 978-1844000791

Good for: a great introduction to the concept of how and where to use colour, especially in terms of a plant's flowers and foliage combinations.

The New Tech Garden by Paul Cooper, Mitchell Beazley, 2007, ISBN: 978-1845332914

Good for: a visual feast of the unusual and rare materials, and combinations that can be used to create a one-off, unique garden.

The Book of Garden Plans by Andrew Wilson, Bounty Books, 2011, ISBN: 978-0753721070

Good for: those who want to draw out, to scale, their new design by looking at a range of different styles and artistic approaches to making a garden plan.

John Brookes' Garden Design by John Brookes, DK, 2001, ISBN: 978-0751309812

Good for: a real 'bible' for budding garden designers with wise words and plenty of inspiration from the man who helped form the concept of garden design in the UK.

All the above books are made available through the RHS garden libraries at Harlow Carr, Hyde Hall, Rosemoor and Wisley and through the RHS Lindley Library.

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The Royal Horticultural Society is the UK’s leading gardening charity. We aim to enrich everyone’s life through plants, and make the UK a greener and more beautiful place.