Book Review: Landprints: The Landscape Designs of Bernard Trainor

Landscape Architect Bernard Trainor designs pastoral and coastal projects on the California coast and countryside. His projects use native plant palettes, recycled materials, and a ever-so delicate touch that almost makes you think that a stunning view of a rocky coastal bay had been that way all along. His appropriately titled book, LANDPRINTS, takes us on a tour of Trainor's ten most ambitious projects. The landscapes are indeed beautiful and reflect how working with nature, instead of imposing a strict design, can ultimately yield a wonderful result.

Growing up in Australia, Bernard Trainor was influenced in a way that has carried throughout his work. The wilderness, with its innate honesty reflected in texture and pattern, resonated with him and thus Trainor, "made it his life's work to honor California's spirit in gardens across the state."

His projects read like picturesque postcards you might see from California. A scenic bay flanked by jagged cliffs with an modern home sitting blissfully amongst the rocks. These are the projects Trainor is attracted to. And who wouldn't be? When a designer is given a masterpiece to work with often the greatest challenge is not to mess it up. Like any good museum housing priceless pieces of art, a poor presentation can ruin it for the viewer.  Trainor uses a delicate hand to make living amongst these natural wonders feel seamless.

"I want my gardens to connect seemlessly with the surrounding plant communities; to look as they were meant to be," says Trainor: "Nature is not a place to visit - it is home." - Gary Snyder, poet

Trainor believes that it is a losing proposition to impose strict geometries on irregular, naturalistic sites. "My designs," he notes, "are not based on any simple point or perspective. They respond to the complexity onsite and work with it to make landscapes harmonize with the bigger picture."

While there are many lessons that can be gleaned from his work, finding the right situation to apply them takes some consideration and talent which Trainor himself has mastered and is clearly showcased in his book, LANDPRINTS: The Landscape Designs of Bernard Trainor.

All images by author.  Please do not use without permission.

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Comment by Andrew Spiering on June 28, 2013 at 11:33am

Excellent review... love his work!

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