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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments

Get answers FAST with the Landscape Architects One-Stop,Take-It-Anywhere Guide

In the office or out on the job, the Landscape Architects Portable Handbook puts the 20% of information you need 80% of the time at your fingertips! You get instant data for every architectural landscaping project: public and private gardens…athletic facilities…highways…urban/suburban settings…MORE! From project administration, planning, design standards and analysis to site development, construction, materials, field techniques, and common rules of thumb, hundreds of handy tables, diagrams and schematics, checklists and field guides give you the accurate how-tos and expertise you need – ANYWHERE, ANYTIME! It packs easily in your briefcase, so you can cut down on time-consuming trips and calls between field and office, or get satisfyingly fast facts and guidelines when youre catching up on work at home. Its a distillation of the entire profession… and provides the perfect ASLA registration exam review. You get:

* A framework for interpretation, conceptualization, evaluation, and communication at multiple scales, regardless of the type of landscape planning or design project

* Standards, techniques and devices

* Analysis-to-project administration guidelines and checklists

* Step-by-step procedures

* Mechanics and design calculations, formulas, worked examples and models

* 193 clarifying illustrations — from USDA plant hardiness zones to basic layouts and schematic diagrams…from approval processes flow charts to a CPM bar chart

* 98 quick-check tables let you instantly pinpoint area space standards…tree mortality causes and remedies…recommended live loads for different decking uses and maximum decking spans…irrigation system selection criteria – and much, much more * Scores of easy-to-use, easy-to-remember rules of thumb

* General unit cost factors for materials, systems, and construction

* More!

From the broad overall aspects of a project to the smallest detail, find the specific data you need on… Project Management; Permits; Site Selection and Clearing; Grading; Drainage; Decks; Fences; Lighting; Paving; Plants; Ponds; Pools; Retaining Walls; Billing; More


by Deborah W. Dalton, ASLA, professor of landscape architecture at the University of Oklahoma

The latest addition to McGraw-Hill’s Portable Architecture Series, Landscape Architect’s Portable Handbook, is a stripped-down, portable version of Harris and Dines’s Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture. The back cover describes the handbook in somewhat hyperbolic terms as “Providing a remarkable distillation of the entire profession…giv[ing] access to the 20% of the data you need 100 percent of the time.”

The handbook concentrates on what ought to be considered the traditional core of the profession as practiced in the private office in urban and suburban development listings. It is organized in a four-part format as an introductory chapter, appendix, and index. Part One provides information on pedestrian, vehicular, and community standards, among others. Part Two briefly reviews techniques for documentation and design of layout and surveying and grading. Part Three addresses the detailed information needed for such devices as paving, spaces, walls, and lighting. The final part reviews aspects of contract administration, including permitting.

Given the emphasis on this as a field handbook for professionals, there are some inconsistencies in what is covered and what is not. The introductory chapter provides a framework for design addressing the range of scales from the very detailed up to regional-level planning. It is a marvelous piece and will be useful for beginning students, but it does not seem necessary given the intended use and audience for the handbook. In the same vein, there are chapters on basic grading design, layout, and surveying that many may find handy but that do not seem to be critical in a field handbook.

The book is tightly organized, with many charts and tables judiciously supplemented with text, supplying information on standards for design, as well as critical data for basic landscape construction elements. The standards addressing recreation needs to be oriented toward traditional urban parks, play spaces, and field sports. However, if you need to find specific standards for green-way designs, such as minimum dimensions for equestrian trails, these are not there, although there is a chart articulating classification systems for trail design.

The section on deck design is quite thorough, including detailed requirements for both public and private conditions, and beam tables that provide guidelines for doubling and tripling light framing lumber to create larger members. Strangely, though the design calculations for retaining walls are provided in full, none of the details or information addresses how to size and locate steel properly in the footings. There is good basic information on fences and walls, but absolutely nothing on gate design and structure.

The section on stormwater will enable one to calculate runoff rate using the Modified Rational Method and runoff volume using the Schueler’s Shortcut Method. Infiltration seems to be the focus for the devices illustrated, which include retention ponds for sediment removal, filter strips, subsurface sand filters, recharge trench, and bioretention ponds. However, there are no hard data or graphics on sizing inlets, pipes, and swales. Also, this is not the reference if one needs field-ready information for erosion and sedimentation control devices, since none are discussed or illustrated. The one flat-out error I found was in the surveying chapter, which describes the datum for latitude as the prime meridian in Greenwich, England.

Regardless of the book’s limitations, many professionals as well as students will find it quite useful, particularly as a condensed, portable, half-price version of Time-Saver Standards. I believe that the profession needs to continue discussions about the legitimate purview of the field as represented by the material covered in our construction handbooks and field guides. This is particularly important in light of recent challenges to landscape architectural licensure by allied fields such as civil engineering, which in a number of states have sought to limit the landscape architect’s ability to prepare and stamp grading and drainge plans as well as to do sedimentation and erosion control work.


Answers in the palm of your hand


An unparalleled source of landscape architecture expertise from the most respected names in the field, this unique guide lets you keep useful data always close at hand. Providing a remarkable distillation of the entire profession, Landscape Architect’s Portable Handbook gives you instant access to:

* the 20% of the data you need 80% of the time

* field methods, rules of-thumb, standards, codes, and energy guidelines

* scores of handy visual summaries, checklists, and tables

* general unit cost factors for materials, systems, and construction

* analysis-to-project-administration guidelines

* perfect license exam review



About the Author

Nicholas T. Dines, FASLA, is a professor of landscape architecture and former director of the landscape architecture graduate program at the University of Massachusetts where for over 30 years, he has taught courses in site engineering, structures, design studio, design drawing, design theory, and professional practice. He is the co-editor of McGraw-Hill’s Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Architecture; co-author of Time-Saver Standards for Landscape Construction Details CD, and its companion publication, Time-Saver Standards Concise Site Construction Details Manual; and author of, Landscape Perspective Drawing. He has over 32 years of professional experience, including a 10-year period of work on residential and recreational design projects in Greece. He currently is conducting research in multi-media applications to both professional and academic design and planning practices, with a special focus on site construction and sustainable design. He has a bachelor’s degree from Michigan State University and a MLA degree from Harvard University. His home is in Williamsburg, Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Project Administration.

Chapter 2: Planning and Design Standards.

Chapter 3: Analysis Techniques.

Chapter 4: Site Development Techniques.

Chapter 5: Devices.

Chapter 6: Materials.

Product Details

Publication date:
Series info:
McGraw-Hill Portable Handbook
8.37 in.
5.37 in.
1.32 in.
McGraw-Hill Portable Handbook
Grade Range:
College/higher educa
Number of Units:
Copyright Year:
Series Volume:
UPC Code:
Kyle Brown
Nicholas T. Dines
Dines Nicholas
Kyle D. Brown
Per Ostergaard
Nicholas Dines
Portable Handbook,landscape,useful English idioms,landscape architecture,Club,expressions,English idioms,students,Site Development Techniques,features,common,Low-Intermediate
Landscape architecture
Architecture-Landscape Architecture


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