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Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection

Paul Kelly, Publisher, St. Lynn’s Press
Photographs Anne K Moore

Why do some gardens make us feel so wonderful, relaxed, and refreshed? In her latest book, Heaven is a Garden, professional landscape designer Jan Johnsen draws on her 40 years of experience to illuminate the surprising role that shapes, water, place, trees, and color play in transforming our state of mind outdoors. She shares her passion for creating peaceful, enticing gardens and espouses the idea that a serene landscape consists of three primary features: simplicity, sanctuary, and delight. A simple sweep of a curve, a sheltered corner and a delightful flowerbed or boulder can work together to create a lovely and inviting setting.
Johnsen’s insights embrace the concept that was so aptly phrased by Rudyard Kipling, ‘The glory of the garden lies in more than meets the eye’. Richly photographed with verdant landscapes (many that she created), the book beautifully illustrates the principles that Jan describes. For example, she explains why north is the direction for contemplative viewing of gardens and how well placed stones can add a sense of calm to a setting.
Heaven is a Garden - Designing Serene Outdoor Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection is of interest to all gardeners as well as landscape designers. It is an enlightening garden design book that you will refer to over and over. Chosen as an Amazon ‘Big Spring Book 2014’ it will be available March 15, 2014.

About Jan Johnsen
Jan Johnsen is a professional landscape designer and is a principal, along with her husband, of the established design/build firm, Johnsen Landscapes & Pools, in Westchester County, NY. She is an adjunct professor at Columbia University and an award-winning instructor at the New York Botanical Garden. For the last several years, Jan has written the popular garden blog, ‘Serenity in the Garden’ and its Facebook equivalent, ‘Serenity in the Garden blog’. She also writes for Garden Design Magazine. The author of several books, her latest is Heaven is a Garden: Designing Serene Spaces for Inspiration and Reflection (St. Lynn’s Press, 2014).

Jan loves to share her insights in the beneficial effects of informed garden design with others. Her unique approach, incorporating ancient practices with contemporary ideas – combined with her beautiful photographs – makes for fascinating presentations. She combines the “why” with the “how-to” in an engaging manner. And as always, she adds a large dose of stunning ‘eye candy’ to make everyone realize that heaven is indeed a garden.

Jan Johnsen’s landscapes have been featured in shelter and consumer publications, including This Old House, Landscape Architecture, NY Cottages & Gardens, Wallpaper, Westchester Home, Westchester Journal News, Westchester Magazine, Woman's Day, and Redbook.

Photos of her work have also been in books such as Northeast Home Landscaping, Pool Idea Book, Feng Shui Revealed, Taylor's Guide to Landscaping, Sunset Guide to Hillside Gardening, Backyard Design, Landscaping with Stone, Taylor’s Weekend Guide to Soil and Composting, Plants for Problem Places, and Walls, Walks and Patios.

Posted March 14, 2014

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