Photographer Stacy Bass has been taking images of gardens and nature for a good many years. In this, her second book, Gardens at First Light (athome Books, 2015), she concentrates on 12 classic northeast gardens, all photographed at early dawn. They're all formal in style, but she's selected lovely features of each -- stonework, furniture, benches, plants, water features, and more. It's large format, perfect for a coffee table, but if you're a designer you'll want it as a go-to reference for ideas.
There's a brief description of each garden by writer Judy Ostrow, and in the back of the book, there's a reference page for each with a plan -- so you can study the design -- and written material that highlights the main features of each one.
It's a beautiful book that bound to be dog-eared in a few years' time.
This book as well is a great reference for designers and dedicated gardeners. in The Bartlett Book of Garden Elements (David Godine, 2015), Michael and Rose Bartlett have amassed more than 1000 photos of garden elements -- allees, paving, planters, walls, stairs, porches and decks, pergolas, fountains, fences and many more. There are 24 chapters, each devoted to one element, and text that describes the major features of each.
The authors discuss climate and weathering, general maintenance, design, installation techniques, and also the general history of each item.
It, too, is a wonderful idea book that any designer would welcome.