Books on Creating Beautiful Outdoor Rooms

While we have been working on our terraced Reading Garden here at Old Scrolls Book Shop,  I have been fortunate to come across a wonderful gardening book (on landscaping and garden design, to be exact) that I thought I would share with you.   I picked this up for a song at the Corning Friends of the Library book sale, and as soon as I opened it I was hooked.

It offers oodles of wonderful drawings of landscapes and layouts for lots of any size and shape,  written and designed by a very forward- thinking landscape architect, Henry B. Aul.

How to Beautify and Improve Your Home Ground was published in 1949, yet all of the author’s creative ideas are very applicable to the needs of modern day homeowners and seem extremely up-to-date, featuring today’s most sought-after features like outdoor fireplaces, outdoor kitchens, water features, and combo vegetable / flower gardens, lovely borders, arbors, composting space and service areas for the home (space for garbage pick-up, etc.).

Henry Aul was a garden writer for the New York Herald Tribune and through his writings was our country’s leading exponent of “outdoor living rooms.”    A graduate of Pennsylvania State College (Landscape Architecture), he traveled extensively, studying the gardens of England, France, Germany and Italy.  His writing and drawings could inspire any gardener and show them the way to literally transform a plain yard into a lovely outdoor extension of the home.  His plans are practical as well as beautiful.

Suggestions are offered on choice of trees for shade, types of shrubbery to use for privacy and as backdrop for flowers, placement of the vegetable garden, and orientation of the garden to the sun.  Consideration is given to flat open areas as well as sloped, wooded or hilly ones.

The author also wrote How to Plan Modern Home Grounds (Sheridan House, NY, 1959)  and a book titled, How to Build Garden Structures: grills, terraces, shelters, arbors, fences, gates, etc., published in 1950 by Sheridan House,  which goes into detail on how to build these structures beautifully and economically,  also well illustrated with drawings.    I’m looking for a copy of this book now, too — for what better time to plan next year’s planting and landscaping than during the long winter nights in a comfy chair by the fire?

“Who loves a garden still his Eden keeps, Perennial pleasures plants, and wholesome harvests reaps.”

– Amos Bronson Alcott

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Published in: on 11/04/2010 at 7:25 pm  Comments (4)  
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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I’ve had his book on Beautifying the HOme Grounds for
    a number of years (signed no less) and use it to teach drawing methods for my landscape students. I’m also very much inspired by his interesting and creative ideas. His drawings are extraordinary!Recently found his book on hardscapes as well at an
    Antique Shop for a few bucks, and will
    be searching for How to Plan Modern Home Grounds next.
    This man should not have slipped into obscurity. He had too much to offer the landscape and horticulture world. It was a joy to rediscover him.

    • Thanks for your comment, Stan! I hope other readers and gardeners discover his books — I felt lucky to stumble upon this book and and to learn that he wrote others, as well.
      – Cathy Petruccione

  2. I am so thrilled to see that others have found Aul’s work and appreciated it. I found his book on building garden furnishings in 1980 in the Omaha City Library. Unfortunately, I did not photocopy it before we moved.
    He had such a pragmatic view on varieties, seating, siting features, and really knowing how people used gardens. I wish someone could bring back his work!

    • Thank you Laurette — I’m so glad you left a comment, and that you appreciate Aul’s garden design work. I hope my blog entry continues to revive interest in this talented landscaper who really did know how to make gardens that were comfortable and beautiful to live in!

      Catherine Petruccione
      Old Scrolls Book Shop


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