If you dream of giving your garden a facelift this spring, you may be interested in a new book that focuses solely on creating a beautiful and affordable Marin garden.
"Marin Landscape Design" ($39.95), authored by San Rafael landscape designer and builder Dane E. Rose of Mystical Landscapes, is a great look-book with minimal text.
It was conceived as a companion to his more text-heavy book, "Successfully Landscaping Your Marin Home" ($20) published a few years ago.
You don't need to have both books to benefit from this one, however. It showcases more than 600 photographs of his work or examples of good landscape features that he's photographed in his travels throughout Marin.
"If readers want to add a fence, they can turn to the fence chapter and see lots of examples that they can use or modify," he says.
The same is true for other design features.
Rose, who has worked on gardens here for 22 years, specializes in doing one project at a time, spends a lot of time with his clients.
It was though this close client relationship that he realized how helpful it would be to have a book that spelled everything, such as basic design principles, project prices and permitting.
"As a designer, I would have to lug around six or more different books to show my clients, he says. Now, he just gives each one a copy of his book.
Coffee-table books generally don't spell out the various costs of a photographed garden, either.
"Most people have no idea how much a garden costs," he says. "If someone shows me a picture, I can tell them that's a $30,000 garden or a $100,000 garden if I replicated it."
By including costs in his book he hopes readers become better informed, the design process is elevated and the landscape process is less stressful.
"This book is about nuts-and-bolts," he says. "It's not plant encyclopedia and doesn't have the poetic narrative that is normal coffee-table book fare."
The first half of his new book is divided into 16 chapters, including walls, fences and hedges, sheds and garage doors, mailboxes and sheds, trees, rocks, planters and water features, steps and paving.
A chapter of Great Plants is an assemblage of more than 70 plants that are drought-, freeze- and deer-resistant, water-efficient, provide year-round interest and work well in our county.
"It's not a long list because I didn't want people to be overwhelmed by it," he says. "There may be situations where a plant won't work in a particular garden but it's a starting point."
As this is a print-on-demand book, Rose can easily update future editions. In the latest, he's added 40 pictures of American Soil products along with current rough prices to save readers time.
The final portion of the book focuses on 10 of his Marin landscape projects.
"I hope this chapter gives readers a sense of how important they are in the process," he says. "A lot of clients make the mistake of thinking that a professional can tell them why to like or what they should do, but a client should own this part."
Rose believes that a good professional can help clients accomplish what they want in a garden in the most cost-efficient, attractive, and functional way.
"But, each garden should reflect the owner, not the professional," he notes.
He encourages interested Marin residents to join him in the Marin Landscape Design Meetups to get even more ideas.
The last meet-up was a wine-and-cheese garden tour of a Marin landscape he designed.
"I talked about the garden, why is was designed this way, how much it cost, and how much it takes to maintain, all things a homeowner needs to know."
Copies of "Marin Landscape Design" are available at the following San Rafael locations: American Soil, Copperfield's, West End Nursery, United Market Nursery and Andy's Market; Ace Hardware in Fairfax, Book Passage in Corte Madera and Sunnyside Nursery in San Anselmo. It can also be ordered through Amazon.
For more information, call (415) 455-9161 or go to www.mysticallandscapes.com.
“Successfully Landscaping Your Marin Home” helped me tremendously in gaining insight about landscaping and answered all the questions and concerns I had about improving my yard on a budget that was right for me."
- Five star Amazon Review