The New Australian Garden: Landscapes for Living

By Michael Bates (Murdoch Books, Aug 2017, hardcover $59.99rrp)

I was delighted to be asked to review Michael Bates’ latest book ‘The New Australian Garden’.  Michael is a landscaper with over 30 years’ experience in the garden industry. In this book he gives an overview of 18 different gardens. The photography is by Sydney based Jason Busch.

Michael writes about the value of collaborating with many involved in the design and creation of a garden and how each must serve a genuine desire in giving what the customer wants. In a day and age of instant gratification, I love that Michael says ‘The joys and challenges of garden making are much like raising a family – it takes time and commitment’.

Having made over 1,000 gardens, this book is a portfolio of some of his work, demonstrating a range of different garden styles where ‘architecture and landscaping are seen as one’. Here is a world where people want to have a ‘seamless transition between the inside and outside’ and where there is an ‘acceptance of individual styles where almost anything goes’.

Michael talks about his background, the history of education as a gardener and showcases several gardens, all very different, all beautifully presented in this wonderful new book.  He worked either in the construction or as the designer of each of these gardens. I love that he also showed the plan for each garden and the plant list too.

If you’re looking for landscaping ideas, or would just like to read the experiences of a prolific landscaper, this would be a great book to get.  My personal favourite? I feel he saved the best to last. Pirramimma – the photography just takes my breath away of this stunning garden and water features.

Kathie Thomas

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