The go-to tome for inspiring photographs of outdoor rooms and practical gardening tips is back with a new look. The magazine's editor-in-chief, Norman Vanamee, talks to us about the redesign, garden bloggers, and more.
The newly relaunched Garden Design magazine is now on newsstands with a fresh, new modern look. According to editor-in-chief Norman Vanamee, the redesign includes not only stunning photographs of some of the most awe-inspiring gardens from around the world but also expanded editorial content that includes in-depth pieces on designer inspirations, modern homes that blur the lines of indoor-outdoor living, and gardening tips that are applicable and accessible to a wider audience.
In conjunction with the redesign, the magazine took the lead in renovating the James Beard House Garden -- the former home of the famed food writer and chef. The entire renovation is showcased in Garden Design's upcoming Nov/Dec issue, so swing by a newsstand and check it out.
Scroll down for our Q&A with Vanamee about the big changes for the mag.
1. We're longtime fans of Garden Design magazine. Why the redesign now?
We wanted to keep the elements that have always been hallmarks of Garden Design: inspiring photography and useful, resource-packed articles.
But at the same time, we wanted to cover a wider scope of topics and to bring in all sorts of readers who might not be familiar with the magazine.
All of the redesign choices, including enlarging the word "Design," on the cover, so that it has equal weight with "Garden," emphasize the importance of creating a magazine that resonates with many readers. There are now many more entry points-with sidebars focusing on plants, products, and the techniques of garden design-that can bring a reader into the text and images in an inviting and engaged manner.
2. What's the main difference between the old Garden Design magazine layout and the new one?
The spread of the garden with hedges is from 2009 and the one showing a fireplace is from our most recent issue. As you can see, we are layering in a lot more information, both with visual elements and with text.
On the fireplace spread, we have an interview with the designer that describes his inspiration for the space, callouts on the photograph, describing the key decisions that he made when working with the space, and a sidebar describing other fireplace options to consider. The idea is that along inspiration and how-to info, we want to give readers insight into the process of designing outdoor spaces.
Rather than us dictating how to create your garden, we're showing our readers how to develop and perfect their own aesthetic.
3. Do you think garden blogs have changed what people expect from a garden magazine?
Yes, I absolutely think that gardening blogs have changed how people view both exterior and interior design. Design has become much more democratic, with the rise of home and garden tours (such as our My Garden feature). Ideas that were previously just aspirational are now inspirational, as people see how easy it is to incorporate some of these ideas into their own homes and gardens. And our website, GardenDesign.com is certainly a part of that online conversation.
Now, the medium counts as much as the message and our print redesign focuses on creating that layered experience that is so unique to print, while our website, which was also redesigned, can play to the strength of the web, with large, beautiful gallery and new information daily.
4. What trends do you foresee coming up in the gardening world?
I think garden design used to be seen as much more of a niche interest and it was often delegated to professionals. Home gardeners didn't necessarily see themselves working on the same level as the professionals. But now there are all these passionate enthusiasts talking about everything from what gets planted to how people use furniture to shape their outdoor spaces.
The farm-to-table movement has had a huge sway on what people cultivate, more and more interior decorators want a say in what happens outside the home, and environmental considerations have had a huge impact on landscape architecture. Garden design has undergone a great democratization in the process and it reminds me of what has happened in the food world over the past 15 years and what happened in interior decorating in the 1970s. Our approach has been to open the pages to a wider sphere of ideas and contributors. People want to get in and get their hands dirty and try what works right away.
5. Do you have a favorite public garden?
I was in Paris at the beginning of August and spent two days walking around the Tuileries Garden. I've been there before and read tons about its evolution from a private garden for Catherine de Medici to the site of revolutions and protests to a beloved public park. I love that Parisians still argue and jockey over every statue and proposed alteration.
But mostly I love how it makes me feel. There are benches and chairs everywhere and it's impossible not to sit down and daydream. Or nap. Also, it is the make-out capital of Europe. Each time I visit I see couples locked in full-on, summer-of-love embrace. Clearly, a sign of good garden design.