Artful Rainwater Design by Eliza Pennypacker, Stuart Echols

Artful Rainwater Design is beautifully illustrated yet extremely informative and well presented. It lives up to the title, thoughtfully educating on the various ways that rainwater is collected, showcased, stored, and disseminated. From watersheds to storm drainage, nature preserves to art pieces. There’s something for everyone here: landscapers, scientists, policymakers, environmental advocates, urban planners, and even home gardeners looking for inspiration.

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The book breaks down as follows:

Part 1: The history of storm water management and background for artful rainwater design.

Part 2: Achieving amenity with artful rainwater design (education, recreation, safety, public relations, and aesthetic richness in artful rainwater design).

Part 3: Achieving utility with artful rainwater design (gray and green infrastructure techniques for sustainable storm water management; the ARD utility axioms)

Part 4: Case studies of artful rainwater design. Included: Educational applications, recreational applications, safety applications, public relations designs, and aesthetic richness examples.

Although highly technical, the case studies are definitely the highlight of the book.  Needs and design are merged at places such as The Dell at the University of Virginia, Rain Garden at the Oregon Convention Center, Ladybird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin, and the Queens Botanical Garden. Examples of great rainwater designs cross the US – from Arizona’s deserts to rainforest Portland.

Though mostly of an industrial nature, I learned quite a bit and, even more, greatly inspired. This isn’t a book full of pretty pictures; great pains were taken to thoroughly discuss the subjects presented. As well, inner City to nature locations give testimony to the scope of the book.

In all, a fascinating book that is well researched, nicely photographed, and useful for both education and inspirational purposes.  Reviewed from an advance reader copy provided by the publisher.

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