Book Review: Terrain

Terrain Book Review

“Terrain: Ideas and Inspiration for Decorating the Home and Garden”. Edited by Greg Lehmkuhl and the gardeners of TERRAIN

Terrain is a beautiful book. Aptly named, it’s named after a garden nursery located in southeastern Pennsylvania. The Terrain nursery took root in 2008, but its location is at a historical nursery once called Styer’s, which traces its roots back to 1875. By the photos in the book, the historic nursery has some unique old buildings which makes a great backdrop to the types of home and garden decorations Terrain creates.

The book is a collection of garden and home decor, made by Terrain, that you can recreate at home. Natural, rustic, botanical, cottage, simple, elegant- these are a few words I could use to describe the styles throughout the book.

The book is full of photos, but also has directions and advice on how to create or replicate the decorative projects. To me these types of projects are not geared toward the average decorator. If you have a keen passion for decorating with natural materials, definitely check this book out. But many of these projects would probably interest someone who has a strong hobby in gardening and decorating combined, or advanced floral arranging.

The decor ideas are based on season, type of material, and type of decoration such as a container planting, wreaths, and arrangements. While you could likely open any Martha Stewart book and find ideas on any of these, Terrain goes beyond the typical and has some unique spins of these common types of home/garden decor.

All of the decorations build upon a base of using fresh, dried, or live plant material. Even some of the artificial elements, like string lights or terrariums, you can tell, are deliberately chosen to fit in with the natural, botanical look.

There is a generous section on holiday decor specifically. The materials here of course are natural elements of evergreen cuttings and live Christmas trees. My favorite idea is to save the dried flower heads of alliums and spray paint gold. They look like starbursts you can use to decorate a Christmas tree!

I could probably look through this book 100 times and see something new each time or think of an idea I could do at home with materials easily accessible to me. Honestly, even with the descriptions of some of the decor, I wouldn’t know how to begin making some of this stuff. I could probably figure out something similar if I put my mind to it. You have to think, these projects were created by professionals who make these decorations as their career and have a lot of resources available from the nursery trade. However when looking through this book, like the title and preface suggests, we have to remember this is a book of ideas to inspire some creativity.

If you have a lot of plant material accessible to you (evergreens, spaces to grow flowers to dry, room to store all kinds of potted containers and decorative tidbits) you may have more advantage. It’s always my thought too, to make these types of temporary decorations on a frugal budget by being resourceful with materials. Maybe you can use some things already around your home to create a seasonal centerpiece. Even if you don’t have plans to make any of the decorations, it is a still a pretty book to look through.

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