Design and Renovation of Larger Gardens
by Douglas Coltart


“Very little has been written about larger gardens, let alone estates, for some time.  Yet, if the truth be known, it is the larger gardens of the world on which most labour is spent and design is lavished-partly, of course, because they present more problems than small gardens do.

So a book on designing and renovating larger spaces is to be welcomed.  It is out of Scotland that a new voice and practitioner of landscape and garden design has emerged.  Douglas Coltart bases his new approach on earlier well-founded principles that seek not only to develop larger gardens, but also to rationalize them in the light of contemporary requirements.

For designing a larger garden is different from designing a small one.  Scale, views, driveways and the general relationship to the wider landscape make it so and, very broadly, the rules are identical the world over for people, the common denominator, work in much the same way wherever they live.

The author quotes earlier design practitioners like Thomas Mawson, Jekyll and Weaver, and even Edward Kemp of 1864.  There’s something very reassuring about this rural re-vamp, which is so different from the ephemeral new urban design scene.  For Coltart writes about real situations, and his words are accompanied by readily understandable plans, drawings and diagrams.   His examples and case studies are applicable everywhere.

Coltart takes his reader into the philosophy of landscape, encouraging consideration and analysis of the site before moving on to develop a practical, sustainable solution to its management and maintenance.  The author reflects upon our current society-user-friendly minimalism, the meadow and herbaceous perennials-and puts in a plea for a return to shrubs where climate and maintenance allows.  With design theory, then, comes horticultural knowledge.

What conditions the viability of any landscape is its maintenance and management which Coltart states must be the starting point of any proposal.  Yet, so often it is regarded as an afterthought-the finishing line.
Having worked all over the world and, in particular, the United States of America, I know Coltart’s theories to be correct, and the nuts and bolts of how we live do not change very much wherever our gardens may be.  Views may be different, trees may be taller and sites shadier, but the theory of how to cope remains the same.  Climates differ of course, as does the plant material that thrives there-and although this book’s main focus is design and renovation,

Coltart does give a full and practical list of plant material for varying situations-plants for a purpose.

This book makes design on a large scale understandable.  Do read it.”

John Brookes MBE, Hon.D.Univ., FSGD

Signed copies available upon request



“It goes straight to the heart of garden design and……it is practical.  This book would be of benefit to the heritage garden sector, students of garden history, local authority Landscape Architects and designers of gardens of all sizes”
Garden Design Journal, UK, November 2007  read the entire article


“Unprecedented and welcome….. an innovative design manual which provides inspiration and practical guidance for anyone with a property of significant size”
Gardens Illustrated Magazine, UK, August 2007


“This book takes the anxiety out of working on a bigger scale….an invaluable tool for anyone renovating or considering taking on a larger garden”
Garden Heaven Magazine, Ireland, August 2007


"If you find yourself with a five-acre property and the desire to do something grand, Scottish landscape architect and garden designer Douglas Coltart has advice for you. ... This is a book for serious gardeners and garden design professionals."
San Luis Obispo Tribune, California, America, December 2007


"Focuses on ways to stamp your character onto a big, blank canvas — whether that means breaking up the space into more manageable sections, creating a woodland or turning the space into a grand, sweeping vista."
George Weigel, Harrisburg Patriot-News, Pennsylvania, America November 25, 2007


Customer reviews of this book:

"Great! I learned a whole new way of planting a large garden, one not covered at all by most landscaping planning books."
Robert H. from Rochester, New York, November, 2007

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