The Private Gardens of SMI Landscape Architecture – edited by Jorge Sanchez

It might not be immediately obvious what relevance or appeal a book on American gardens – almost all in Florida – would have for an Irish readership but the value of this book become obvious very quickly. Here we are presented with an insight into gardens in a completely different climate, in an area culturally different to ours and with a plant palate only vaguely familiar to us, yet it is informative, instructive, appealing and very enjoyable.

An example of a garden plan – there is one for each garden in the book


When we read gardening books it is generally with an interest in plants but, when that is side-lined, it is the design of the garden which comes to the fore. All of these gardens could be described as architectural; they were planned and built to compliment the houses on the properties and to suit the needs of the owners, a case of form following function and, as a result of this approach, they are excellent examples of garden design. Plants are selected to compliment and furnish the design, a secondary though nonetheless a beautiful addition to the gardens.


A selection of illustrations from the book, indicative of the high quality of gardens and designs throughout.

The gardens are simply outstanding, that category of garden you see in the very glossiest and highest-class of magazine and they are a joy to study and admire and even drool over a little – eye candy of the gardening kind! Text is kept to the essential: an introduction to each garden and then extensive captions to the excellent photographs illustrating each garden, perfectly judged. Very enjoyable!

[The Private Gardens of SMI Landscape Architecture – edited by Jorge Sanchez, Merrell, London and New York, 2018, Hardback, 208 pages, £45, ISBN: 978-1-8589-4672-6]