Landscaping for Privacy: Innovative Ways to Turn Your Outdoor Space into a Peaceful Retreat by Marty Wingate

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Landscaping for Privacy: Innovative Ways to Turn Your Outdoor Space into a Peaceful Retreat
by Marty Wingate (Timber Press, 2011)

Whether a homeowner wants to limit a neighbor’s noise or the stray deer, this book from Seattle-based garden and travel writer Marty Wingate will seem heaven sent. Designed for both city and suburban garden living, the well-laid-out guide offers useful options and ideas on how to deter nearly any sort of intrusion.

The book is divided into three sections: buffers, barriers, and screens. Those sections are further split into categories such as “Kids and Dogs: Keeping Play at Bay” and “Living Fences.” Beyond fences and hedges as problem-solving solutions, however, Wingate gives tips on creating visual illusions designed to make a space feel better protected or to distract from an unwanted view or noise disturbances. There are also recommendations for minimizing environmental woes: tree species that can provide shelter from heat and cold or plants that work successfully as salt buffers. For noise issues, the author discusses soothing distractions, such as the sound of falling water in special features or the gentle rustling of tree leaves in the garden’s background.

Wingate comes out firmly against plastic and vinyl fences but goes into detail on other wood, stone, metal, concrete, and brick options. She also discusses extensively the pros and cons of using bamboo as a barrier.

The book’s best asset may be the photographs, which come from dozens of photographers and feature the work of many different landscapers. Gorgeous images fill every spread, while extensive captions provide information on the goals of the landscapes and barriers depicted. Wingate helpfully finishes the book with an extensive plant list that includes information on everything from hedges to hide nuisances, to vines for trellises as attractive screens, to thorny plant options to deter intruders.

Reviewed by Allison Knab


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