Landscape Outlook – Book Review

By Louise McDaid

‘Landscaping stalwart and expert Michael Bates has written an incisive account of 18 Australian gardens of particular significance. Sub-titled ‘Landscapes for Living’, he has chosen the featured projects based on their relationship between architecture and garden – presented as a new movement in Australian landscape design.

Michael contributed to the creation of each of these gardens, either as the designer or in collaboration with other design talent, and the theme is Australian even if the gardens are all in New South Wales. He presents each of the gardens with a description detailing the challenges, solutions, features and other specific elements relating to it, reinforced by Jason Busch’s sumptuous imagery that captures details of the gardens and houses, as well as broader-scope shots to provide a sense of the setting.

Conversations with the landscape designers and architects for each garden offer further ‘behind the scenes’ enlightenment, and a layout sketch with a plant list is included. The landscapes extend across a range of styles, many with sculptural elements and an emphasis on the heritage of the site and its links with the past. There are city and country, alpine and mountain locations, including Michael’s private gardens about which he talks openly….’