Date of publication

July 2014

Paperback ISBN-13

978 185341 145 8 (paperback only)




141 colour photos, 8 plans and drawings


210 x 297 mm (A4 landscape format)


475 grams



Conceptualist Landscapes An Alternative Way to Design Gardens
Paul Cooper


Conceptual gardens depend on inspiration, which is the result of an exhaustive intellectual Conceptual gardens depend on inspiration, which is the result of an exhaustive intellectual process. The starting point is an idea or stimulus that pushes the design along, rather than observing more conventional styles – whether classical or modernist – into which ideas or relationships are fitted. Horticultural considerations, architectural or aesthetic doctrines and practically-based problem-solving are either abandoned or regarded as a means to an end rather than the end in itself. So idea-driven design means that it cannot be taught by a ‘rule-of-thumb’ methodology, and thus, how to design a conceptual garden is not the theme of this book; nor does it contain ‘off-the-peg’ solutions for garden and landscape designers.

This book is part of the series, Workshops on Garden Design.


Introducing THE IDEA; THE THEORY - What is a Conceptual Design? The Influence of Art, Landscape and Environmental Art, The Garden as Art; IN PRACTICE - The Hard Landscape, The Soft Landscape, Conceptualist Planting - The Design Process, The Design Brief, Deciding on a Strategy, Getting Inspiration, Gathering Source Material - Site-based, Present-day or Proposed Activity, Historical Reference - Site or Social History, Client History, Project-specific - Single Visual Motif, Imported Visual Motif - Eclectic or Persona, Alternative Ways of Making - Autobiographical, Developing the Idea - Working with the Site, The Narrative Approach, The Visual Method, Autobiographical and Art-based, Ways of Making (Building Ideas), Unconventional from the Commonplace - Paving to create an Illusion, Drawing with Bricks, Painting in Concrete and Turf, Constructivist Timbers, Modern Materials and Methods - Portable and Disposable, Theatrical and Kinetic, Planting Technologies; SELECTED PROJECTS: Site-specific (5), Narrative-based (6), New Ways of Making (7), Garden as Art (6), Specialist (2); Further Reading; Index.


Paul Cooper

Paul Cooper was born in Manchester in 1949 and now lives in Wales. He was a professional sculptor at the start of his career, and taught the subject at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1972–74 and then art and design at the University of Lancaster, 1974–86. He was a visiting professor and artist in residence at the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, in 1984.

Paul became interested in garden design in 1984, and later lectured at Central St Martin’s College, London, the Inchbald School of Design, London, Writtle College, Chelmsford, Essex, and Leeds Metropolitan University. He has won Royal Horticultural Society bronze, silver and gold medals, and his ‘Cool and Sexy’ garden at the RHS Chelsea Show in 1994 caused a sensation and established him among the most thought-provoking contemporary designers in Britain. He has published four books: The New Tech Garden , Living Sculpture, Interiorscapes and Gardens Without Boundaries. He now lectures widely and continues to design gardens for private and public clients. Paul is now recognized as one of the front-runners in the emergence of conceptualist garden design.


Direct from the Publisher; RHS Wisley Bookshop; RIBA Bookshop, London; Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London; Summerfield Books, Cumbria; NHBS Environment Bookstore, Totnes, Devon.

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