Less is More

Hey guys!  I read a great book about how less is more in landscaping your backyard garden oasis.  I like this book for several reasons.  The first reason is that it has excellent ideas for designing your backyard if it is small.  In addition, the book has good-quality photos to inspire and envision your landscape design.  Finally, the book gives practical advice that will not overwhelm your landscape ideas.

The book is called “The Less is More Garden” ( Morrison,2018) and, here is an excerpt from the book:

”A better approach is to set design objectives not based on decks or structures or even plants, but rather on how the space will be used. 

To help clients figure this out, I’ve developed key questions based on the three Ws.  These aren’t traditional design considerations, but I have found them invaluable. 

●             What will you be doing in the garden?

●             When will you be outside?

●             Who will you be with?

Beginning with the three Ws often leads to a completely different design than what homeowners initially envision.  For example, I once consulted with a couple who had three small children.  The family spent a lot of time outside, and wanted their backyard to be more attractive, as well as more practical.  This was a newer home, and the backyard was organized in the typical style of what I like to call “the contractor’s special” – a concrete rectangular patio leading to a rectangular lawn, within a thin moustache of plants around the edge. 

Defining their goals was easy.  They wanted to maintain play space and make their backyard look bigger.  Most homeowners would assume as they did, that the solution would be to increase the size of the lawn at the expense of the already-small planting beds.  In design-speak, I could have said that making the largest elements in their backyard even larger would throw off the scale and balance even more than it was currently, but how meaningful would that have been?  Instead, I focused on creating a design that addressed their lifestyle goals:  family time in a beautiful but modest outdoor space.”


Morrison, Susan. The Less is More Garden: Big Ideas for Designing Your Small Yard. Timber Press, Inc., 2018.

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