Plants in Design
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Plants in Design

A Guide to Designing with Southern Landscape Plants

Title Details

Pages: 592

Illustrations: 1760 color images

Trim size: 9.000in x 11.000in



Pub Date: 07/01/2021

ISBN: 9-780-8203-4173-6

List Price: $62.95

Subsidies and Partnerships

Published with the generous support of Wormsloe Foundation Nature Books

Plants in Design

A Guide to Designing with Southern Landscape Plants

A handy reference guide for creating hardy and beautiful southern landscapes

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  • Description
  • Reviews
  • Awards

Plants in Design emerged from Brad E. Davis’s and David Nichols’s love for plants and well-designed landscapes and a previous frustration with landscape design guidebooks. While most landscape and garden design resources focus either on design principles or on plant materials, the unique strategy of Plants in Design provides a palette of options organized by mature size and scale, covering many genres of plants from grasses to herbaceous perennials, woody shrubs and trees, and even annuals and interior plants—all of which are necessary for consideration when composing a well-designed landscape.

Plants in Design combines two fundamental components of landscape and garden design: (1) principles and uses of plant material (e.g., color, line, texture), and (2) resource information for analyzing and selecting a broad range of plant materials, from annuals and ground covers to shrubs and trees, for southern landscapes (USDA hardiness zones 6 to 9). Introductory chapters discuss plants and their uses in creating outdoor landscapes in settings ranging from small-scale applications (e.g., courtyards, walkways) to medium- and large-scale projects (e.g., streetscapes, parks).

Richly illustrated with approximately 1,750 color photographs, Plants in Design depicts plant shape, form, characteristics, and landscape use, both to aid identification and to envision how individual plants might appear in a composition. The authors promote the use of native species to benefit native wildlife and point out the dangers of many nonnative plants widely used in the past and now threatening natural ecosystems. Featuring five hundred southern landscape plants organized into fifteen categories, ranging from large trees to ferns and flowering annuals, plant accounts include scientific and common names, hardiness zones, flowers and fruit, growing conditions, and pests and diseases. The guide also includes drawings, a hardiness zone map, glossary, bibliography, index, and design-use tables for quick reference.

Davis and Nichols tackle design from a holistic point of perspective, not falling into the trap of the 'latest and greatest' cultivars (which have their place), but rather the best species and cultivars available for the masses. . . . This book teaches students, peers, and industry the core principles of ornamental horticulture. . . . This text is exceptional.

—Matthew R. Chappell, director of Tidewater Agricultural Research and Extension Center, Suffolk, Virginia

Plants in Design is a particularly well-conceived and beautifully illustrated contribution to the field as an idea-book, reference, or textbook. The organization of the book makes it highly useful to both professional and amateur garden designers.

—Jack Ahern, professor emeritus of landscape architecture at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Plants in Design goes well beyond other standard landscape plant references... by offering important information on issues such as Invasive Exotic Plants, Interior Plants, and Plant Lists for Difficult Situations. I’ve compiled lists of available websites of similar information for my students, and there is no one website or reference that offers the extensive information offered in one guide such as this.


Excellence in Page Design, Southeastern Library Association


Communications Merit Award, Georgia Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects

About the Author/Editor

Brad Davis (Author)
BRAD DAVIS is an associate professor in the College for Environment and Design at the University of Georgia. He researches the aesthetics of native plants and their use in ecological landscape designs. Major public projects of his include the Sailfish fountain downtown entrance to Stuart, Florida; The World’s Fair Park Greenway expansion to the Tennessee River in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the Ayres Hall Quad restoration on the campus of the University of Tennessee, as well as many private residences.

David Nichols (Author)
DAVID NICHOLS is an associate professor and director of the Founders’ Memorial Garden at the University of Georgia. His work has appeared in the Handbook of Landscape Architecture Construction as well as over thirty professional journals. His current research is on landscape plants that can be used to produce FDA-approved drugs.