Book Review – The Nonstop Color Garden: Design Flowering Landscapes Gardens for Year-Round Enjoyment, by Nellie Neal

Nonstop Color Garden book review

The Nonstop Color Garden: Design Flowering Landscapes & Gardens for Year-Round Enjoyment
By Nellie Neal
Cool Springs Press
Paperback, 192 pages
Available December 14, 2014
$24.99 USD / $27.99 CAD

‘The Nonstop Color Garden’ starts with a gallery to inspire you to keep going with the book- those pictures will make you want to start on the garden as soon as you see them.

Like most books on using color in the garden, it goes into color theory right away, but also talks about line, form, and texture – all very important to garden design. Amazingly, the author does not show us a color wheel and talk about shade and hue – things that are easily found in any art book or on line.

She does write about her method of creating top down color – starting your color design with trees, then moving to shrubs and finally to perennials, ground covers and annuals.

Nonstop Color Garden book review

The author’s top-down method of design ensures you use every chance of adding color to your garden

Finally, she shows us how to deal with those problem spots in the garden – shady places, xeriscaping, creating winter interest, small spaces.

After that section, we get the plant encyclopedia, which, like the author’s top down theory, starts with trees, progresses through shrubs, and then moves to perennials and ground covers. This has good pictures of the plants and describes various species, cultivars and hybrids.

This is followed by a planting chart, which shows the various plants preferences in soil, exposure, watering, fertilizing and pruning.

Then there is a not-quite-two page section of more colorful plants – annuals, plants with interesting bark, plants with good variegation, and shrubs that can be grown in containers – the things that didn’t fit in anywhere else.

back cover of Nonstop Color Garden book

You’ll learn how to have color in all seasons

At just under two hundred pages, this isn’t a massive book. The section on working with design elements is very short – only a few pages. The emphasis is on the plants themselves- and not just on the flowers, but on leaf color, autumn and winter berries, bark, shape, and size.


4-shovel rating from GPRThis would be a great book for someone who needs some inspiration or who is getting started on designing their first garden. It doesn’t go as deep as some garden color books but makes up for it with gorgeous photographs.

Two caveats: many of the photos don’t identify the plants in them (except in the encyclopedia), and, like most any garden book, she recommends plants that are invasive in some areas. Check online for your state’s list of invasive plants before planting things that are new to you!

Four shovels up.

Where to Buy

The book is available on Amazon, as well as select book stores.

BUY IT HERE >> The Nonstop Color Garden: Design Flowering Landscapes & Gardens for Year-round Enjoyment

And now over to you – What’s your favorite new gardening book? Let us know in the comments below.