Mid-Century Landscaping: Seminal books by Garrett Eckbo

Ted Cleary says that his icon when it comes to mid-century landcape design is Garrett Eckbo. I have added several of Eckbo’s books to my Pamazon store. Some used copies can be very inexpensive, I got one of mine for like, $1.98. Update: Reader Steve Keylon commented with a recommendation for a House Beautiful book by Howland – so I have added that as well. See his comment for more info; note: I have not necessarily read all of these books, but am going through two Eckbo books right now… Thanks, Steven.

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  1. Steven Keylon says

    In addition to the books you’ve listed here, I would recommend Thomas Church’s “Gardens Are For People”


    Of the Eckbo books you’ve listed above, “The Donnell and Eckbo Gardens” deals specifically with two particular groundbreaking gardens. The biography of Eckbo by Treib and Imbert is very well done, but I think that those are probably not the best place to start.

    For a better overview of modern landscape design, the Eckbo book “Landscape for Living” is probably a good place to start, in terms of examples, photographs, drawings, and philosophies.

    The books on patios and gardens that Sunset magazine put out in the 50s and 60s have lots of good ideas from the prominent landscape architects of the day.


    there is a book from 1958, “The House Beautiful Book of Gardens and Outdoor Living” by Joseph E. Howland, from Doubleday, which has the nicest photographs and the best overall text for the beginner. It can be found on eBay, Amazon and AbeBooks if you watch out for it. I really think this would be the best overall place to start to get a sense of what the landscape architects were doing in the mid-century.

  2. midmodms says

    Thanks, Steven! I must have at least two or three of these. Been looking for this kind of thing for a while.

  3. Mike Hohn says

    Agree with recommendation on Howland book. I picked up a copy last year and enjoy leafing through it. A friend with good 50’s style taste was the first to borrow it. One of the best features of the book is the fairly large format, which means the excellent photos are easy to see. Nicely produced book. Photos have a warm cast to them, unlike the dead gray of most b&w books.

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