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How to write a garden design book

How to write a garden design book


Designer Stephen Woodhams gives top tips on producing a book on gardens

Establish a body of work: My book Garden Design Solutions took nine months, but we had been working on the planning side for six to nine months prior to that. We had been photographing projects for approximately 12 years, so the book is drawing on a large body of work.

Make time to write: I find writing about a subject that I am so passionate about easy as I love to share my ideas – that’s the only way I have learnt things over the years. I tend to write for a few hours then take a break and always sleep on it.

Decide what to include: It’s difficult to draw from current work when producing a book, as many of the gardens need to mature before they can be photographed. Order your material: Once we had decided on the chapters, we all worked on the same masterplan to pull it together.


Work collaboratively: We worked on the layouts with Manisha Patel, our design editor, alongside the words editor, Eszter Karpati, and we had focused meeting times to do this over the nine-month period. Captions, however, are another matter. It’s the author’s job to write the captions and they seem to go on forever.

Research your images: We did all the picture research. The images were of our own projects – about 70% were taken by professional photographers and 30% were my own.

Plan for foreign editions: There will be a German and a French edition this spring. To plan for this, we limited the amount of architecture in the images so that the gardens would be universally appealing.

Consider the future possibilities: A book acts as a luxury printed catalogue for your work. I would love to do a bigger book, showing some of our larger garden projects around the world.

Garden Design Solutions is published by Jacqui Small (£25, Hardback).

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