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It is with great sadness we report the sudden death of Michael Packard on Wednesday June 1st 2022.

The family are working through his affairs, and as such, no trading is possible that would usually have occurred through Michael himself, however some books are still available from his distributors.

For anything urgent, email   but please be aware that this address is infrequently monitored.

Your patience and understanding will be appreciated through this difficult period.

Conceptualist Landscapes


Students of garden design and landscape architecture are entitled to discounted prices when ordering direcly from the Publisher.

Conceptualist Landscapes
  • Date of publication: July 2014
  • Paperback ISBN-13: 978 185341 145 8 (paperback only)
  • Pages: 112
  • Images: 141 colour photos, 8 plans and drawings
  • Dimensions: 210 x 297 mm (A4 landscape format)
  • Weight: 477 grammes (unwrapped)
An Alternative Way to Design Gardens
Author(s): Paul Cooper


The starting point for a conceptualist garden depends on an inspiring idea which governs the design. The ultimate result, though considering the context or feelings of the client very deeply, does not reflect conventional solutions (e.g. Classical or Modernist rules). This book encourages student designers to think 'outside the box' at the beginning of the designing process, and gives examples of many ideas and solutions by one of the leading conceptualist designers. However, it is not a book of 'off-the-peg' design remedies.

This book is part of the series, Workshops on Garden Design.


Introducing THE IDEA; THE THEORY - What is a Conceptual Design? The Influence of Art, Landscape and Environmental Art, The Garden as Art; IN PRACTICE - The Hard Landscape, The Soft Landscape, Conceptualist Planting - The Design Process, The Design Brief, Deciding on a Strategy, Getting Inspiration, Gathering Source Material - Site-based, Present-day or Proposed Activity, Historical Reference - Site or Social History, Client History, Project-specific - Single Visual Motif, Imported Visual Motif - Eclectic or Persona, Alternative Ways of Making - Autobiographical, Developing the Idea - Working with the Site, The Narrative Approach, The Visual Method, Autobiographical and Art-based, Ways of Making (Building Ideas), Unconventional from the Commonplace - Paving to create an Illusion, Drawing with Bricks, Painting in Concrete and Turf, Constructivist Timbers, Modern Materials and Methods - Portable and Disposable, Theatrical and Kinetic, Planting Technologies; SELECTED PROJECTS: Site-specific (5), Narrative-based (6), New Ways of Making (7), Garden as Art (6), Specialist (2); Further Reading; Index.


The term 'conceptualist' gardens was coined by the garden writer and critic, Tim Richardson, when describing unconventional garden spaces containing very little traditional planting and materials. Conceptualist gardens depend on inspiration which is the result of an exhaustive intellectual process. The starting point is an idea or stimulus that pushes the design along, rather than observing more conventional styles - whether classical or modernist - into which ideas or relationships are fitted. Horticultural considerations, architectural or aesthetic doctrines and practically-based problem-solving are either abandoned or regarded as a means to an end rather than the end in itself. Idea-driven design, therefore, cannot be taught by a 'rule-of-thumb; methodology. The conceptualist approach encourages students or professional designers to think further towards their designed solutions.


Students of garden design and landscape architecture; historians interested in garden art.

Author / Compiler

Paul Cooper

Paul Cooper

Paul Cooper was born in Manchester and now lives in Wales. He was a professional sculptor at the start of his career, and taught the subject at the University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1972-74, and art and design at Lancaster University, 1974-86. He was a visiting professor and artist in residence at the Maryland Institute of Art, Baltimore, in 1984. He became interested in garden design in that year and later lectured at St Martin's College, London, the Inchbald School of Design, London, Writtle College, Chelmsford and Leeds Metropolitan University. He won gold, silver and bronze medals for gardens at RHS Shows, and his 'Cool and Sexy' Garden at the 1994 Chelsea Flower Show caused a sensation. Since then Paul has lectured widely and has become recognized as one of the front-runners in the emergence of conceptualist garden design.


Direct from the Publisher; RHS Wisley Bookshop; RIBA Bookshop, London; Foyles, Charing Cross Road, London; Summerfield Books, Cumbria; NHBS Environment Bookstore, Totnes, Devon; Gardners Books, Eastbourne (wholesaler).


Packard Publishing Ltd
14 Guilden Road
PO19 7LA

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