I like the premise of Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love by Julie Moir Messervy – your home doesn’t end with the boundaries of your four walls. Most homeowners have no problem choosing new paint colors, furniture or rugs to update their interior space but once it’s time to look at outdoor living areas they lose their confidence.
In Home Outside, Messervy walks the reader through a six-step process to ‘demystify the art and practice of landscape design’. As a professional landscape designer, I can tell you the six-steps outlined in this book basically mirror the process I use with my clients.
That’s a good thing. Any way to make the process of landscape design more accessible to gardeners is to be applauded. I would never advocate ‘giving your property a name’ – that’s just too hokey for me – and to tell you the truth, I don’t think the author makes a very good case for it either, but the majority of the rest of the information is sound and makes sense.
Home Outside does offer both photos from real gardens as well as plan view drawings to illustrate the six-step process that really make the text come to life. The Cottage in the Woods case study in the Afterword of the book is an excellent addition which helps to illustrate how each of the six-steps was applied to one property.
While I enjoyed reading Home Outside and would recommend it to anyone thinking about designing their outdoor space, I think you’ll be better off borrowing this one from the library rather than buying it. For the purchase price of $30, this book is not one that many gardeners will refer to time and again. Your money might be better spent on a gardening reference book that will be dog-eared in a few years or on a few perennials or a shrub to start personalizing your Home Outside.
Note: This book was provided to me free-of-charge by the publisher, The Taunton Press.