Discussion in 'Landscape Architecture and Design' started by ryan41, Mar 13, 2013.

  1. ryan41

    ryan41 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    I am looking to get some books to further my knowledge in this industry. Im looking for books that are meant for the landscape contractor not the home owner. If you guys know of any books that are great resources let me know!

    1. Shrub & Tree encyclopedia
    2. Perennial/flower encyclopedia
    3. Hardscaping
    4. Ponds
  2. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

  3. PaperCutter

    PaperCutter LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,996

    Everything by Michael Dirr. Everything by Allan Armitage.
  4. agrostis

    agrostis LawnSite Silver Member
    Messages: 2,545

  5. andersman02

    andersman02 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 579

    Your somewhat in my zone, We use DIRR's Hardy shrubs and trees, the color version. Best book IMO for woody plants
  6. JContracting

    JContracting LawnSite Bronze Member
    Messages: 1,878

    Ryan, I have a book, "Residential Landscape Architecture" is the title I believe, I'll take a pic of it and text it to you.
  7. ryan41

    ryan41 LawnSite Senior Member
    Messages: 326

    Thanks buddy!
  8. Trees Too

    Trees Too LawnSite Gold Member
    Messages: 3,907

    Dirr's Encyclopedia is excellent. For ornamental tree I.D. And his personal comments and recommendations are priceless. I get a chuckle on his remarks about poplars. And couldn't agree more!!!! Another good book is "Home Landscaping" Cant think of the author at the moment.
  9. JimLewis

    JimLewis LawnSite Fanatic
    Messages: 6,876

    In my area, the essential book on plants and trees is the Western Garden Book. But that book is mostly just for Western States. I see that Sunset makes a similar book for the Northeast called the Sunset Northeastern Garden Book. I'd highly recommend that. The one we use (Western Garden Book) is required reading here before you can even get your license in landscaping. That book should cover items 1 and 2 that you listed: Shrubs/Trees/Perennials/Flowers.

    Other books in my collection that I feel are worth reading include:
    • Ortho - All About Trees
    • Ortho - All About Perennials
    • Ortho - All About Groundcovers
    • Ortho - All About Annuals
    • Ortho - All About Evergreens

    For Ponds, there are several books on constructing ponds and water features. One decent one is Ortho - All About Building Waterfalls, Ponds and Streams.

    But there are plenty of books on how to BUILD water features. What you really need to learn is the proper way to DESIGN water features. And there's really only one book you need for that: The R.I.S.E. Method by Rick Bartel.[​IMG] This is one of the best books in our entire industry. I had an article in Pond Trade magazine earlier this year based on a water feature we built after me and my crew read this book. It changes the way you think about water features, from one of the country's most experienced waterfall builders. Can't recommend this book enough!

    As for hardscaping - that's a more difficult one. I have several books on it. But I wouldn't necessarily recommend any of them. They are very basic. And often they don't necessarily teach methods of building hardscapes that are right for your exact area, soil type, or climate. So I hate to recommend any of them. One that is really good on landscaping and hardscaping in general is Landscape Construction by David Sauter. It touches on not only how to build hardscapes properly, but pretty much all phases of landscaping, water features, hardscapes, fences, decks, etc. It's a spendy book - around $70.00. But when you get it, you'll see why. This is another book that is required reading for the Landscape exam here in Oregon. And for good reason. Phenomenal book.

    Otherwise, on hardscapes, I think it's better to learn best practices from the top guys here in Lawnsite's Hardscape forum. Or from your local hardscape suppliers. If you get to know your sales rep. at your local hardscape supplier (every branch or supplier usually has an outside sales rep. Get to know him), then he can really be a big help to you as to learning proper methods of installation for your climate, your soil type, what's common practice in your area, etc. Couple that with some book knowledge, knowledge you get from guys in the hardscape forum and you'll be 50% there. The other 50% can only come from experience, I'm afraid.

    Hope that helps.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013
  10. New2TheGreenIndustry

    New2TheGreenIndustry LawnSite Senior Member
    from GA
    Messages: 925

    Very true. Dirr and Armitage put the UGA hort program on the map and continue to have their hands on the latest and greatest cultivars.

    One thing I'd highly recommend is get in touch with your county extension agent. They should be able to answer most questions you have and point you towards educational and training sessions.
    Last edited: Dec 20, 2013

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