Book review: The City Gardener

For urban spaces big and small, The City Gardener provides design-driven solutions and inspiration for urban living.

By Richard Unsworth. Photography by Nicholas Watt

This is a visually stunning book with unique insights into designing for small urban spaces.

The City Gardener demonstrates how inspired design can optimise the space we have, whether large or small, to create a plant paradise.

Our urban gardens provide an essential green refuge amid the expanding concrete jungle. Even without the luxury of sprawling suburban lawns or vast garden beds, there are many ways to create unique verdant spaces in the inner-city – from a succulent-laden, full-sun rooftop to an entertainer’s semi-tropical courtyard. 

The book explores twenty private gardens created by Richard Unsworth and his design practice, Garden Life. Ranging from 38 to 1385 square metres, the gardens run the gamut of possibilities for revolutionising urban home life outdoors. 

Garden plans detailing layout and materials, as well as full planting lists, accompany each case study, and expert tips on design principles, planting palettes, furnishings and finishes make this the ultimate urban gardening resource. 

The City Gardener will inspire, educate and empower readers to celebrate and engage with their outdoor spaces. 

Richard Unsworth is a leading garden designer and writer based in Sydney, and the owner of renowned outdoor design store Garden Life. Having grown up in England, Richard moved to Sydney in the 1990s, where he furthered his love of gardening with formal study in urban horticulture and started his first business, focusing on inner-city garden design. In 2001, he opened his first store, Garden Life. He has since expanded his practice to work in larger spaces both in the city and further afield. Passionate about the natural environment, he spends his free time restoring the heritage garden at Trincomalee, his home in Pittwater, and helping people better connect with nature and with each other through a series of bushwalks to raise money for the Indigenous Literacy Foundation. 

Published by Thames & Hudson

Price AUS$49.99 NZ$55.00

Available in local book store or purchase here.

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