Image by Gibbs Smith

Q&A with Zahid Sardar, Author of "In & Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delights"

by Shelley Pierce December 20, 2015

Q&A with Zahid Sardar, Author of “In & Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delights”

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Zahid Sardar is the author and contributor to eight design books including New Garden Design, West Coast Modern and In & Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delights. The exhibition he curated, Hands Off: New Dutch Design at the Confluence of Technology and Craft opened at the Museum of Craft and Design in San Francisco and traveled to Dutch Design Week in Eindhoven, The Netherlands, during 2015. He was the design editor of the San Francisco Chronicle for 22 years, writes for Dwell, Interiors and San Francisco magazines among many other national and international publications and is the Editor-in-Chief of Marin At Home magazine that launches in January 2016.

Read on for more information about Zahid’s latest book, “In & Out of Paris: Gardens of Secret Delights” and find out how to win a copy from Gibbs-Smith Publisher!


1.    Of all the gardens you visited in and out of Paris, which was your favorite and why?

Oddly, the garden by American architect Michael Herrman which we photographed first and which coincidentally also provided us with a stunning cover image, is my favorite because it enmeshes old and new garden techniques, and alludes to a surreal garden Le Corbusier designed during the early 20th century for the bon vivant, Charles Beistegui. Herrman’s contemporary version of that garden also echoes design aspects he explored while working with contemporary architect Jean Nouvel on prominent projects that incorporated living green walls by botanist-designer Patrick Blanc.  Blanc’s own home is also featured in In & Out of Paris.    

2.    What sets Parisian gardens apart from all the rest?  What is their allure?

Parisian gardens have to rely on hardscape structures that can withstand harsh winters and their often beautiful configurations contrast with Mediterranean gardens — that inspired the first Parisian gardens — which often remain evergreen and verdant even during the coldest months and have less need for hardscapes.

3.    Sculpture has been a part of Parisian gardens for centuries.  What are some of the best uses of sculpture you encountered in a Parisian garden?

The use of allegorical and monumental sculptures in Parisian gardens has Greek, Roman and even Egyptian precedents and many gardens in Paris have original works from antiquity within their walls. However, for me, the follies in Meudon by mid-century artist and architect André Bloc that are shown in the book, are the most arresting, sculptural forms I encountered. Because they are actually expressionistic brick buildings that are composed of African mask-like forms, they can be enjoyed from a distance, entered and climbed. 

4.    How can we bring the essence of Paris into our garden at home?

That is a long and difficult list to make, but in short I would say that there were many rules of perspective that the landscape designer André Le Notre deployed at Versailles and other famous royal gardens that anyone can also use at home even in small gardens. There are several gardens by landscape architects Christian Fournet and Hugues Peuvergne in the book that are good examples.

5.    As you compiled information for this book did you notice any common threads in each of the gardens you visited?

That is perhaps one of the goals and successes of the book: It shows that Parisian gardens can be dramatically different from each other, explore new ground and present fresh perspectives on garden design even when they echo Classical lessons.

WIN A COPY OF “In & Out of Paris“!

To enter, simply leave a comment on this blog post by midnight on Thursday, December 24, 2015 (be sure to provide a valid e-mail address) in answer to the following question:

What is your garden inspiration?

Be sure to include a valid e-mail address. The winner will be drawn at random from all qualified entrants, and notified via e-mail. (See Rules for more information.)


UPDATE 1/3/2016: Congratulations to Daniel Morrell, the winner of the In & Out of Paris book giveaway!

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24 person already talking about this.
    Patricia Simpkin
    Answered on December 25, 2015Reply

    My garden inspiration is simply nature! I love dealing with everything natural!

    Saegan Anderson
    Answered on December 25, 2015Reply

    my aunt would love this book. she went to paris and loved the gardens there

    Emilee Bond
    Answered on December 25, 2015Reply

    My inspiration is delicious, fresh, healthy food! I also have a flower garden and just LOVE color. Thanks so much for the chance to win! emileebond2004@gmail.com

    Rosanne
    Answered on December 24, 2015Reply

    The gardens I saw in the English countryside made me want to come back to the US and try and create one but we don't have the climate where I live.

    rosemary
    Answered on December 24, 2015Reply

    To look natural

    Annie
    Answered on December 24, 2015Reply

    I am inspired by Thanksgiving Point Gardens in Utah. It is AMAZING! I go there to feel peace.

    Razia Khan
    Answered on December 24, 2015Reply

    Bursts of colour in chipped terracotta pots, heady fragrances and lots of texture against a backdrop of old wrought iron.

    Miz Vickik
    Answered on December 23, 2015Reply

    My garden inspiration is to make it as natural and woodsy as possible!

    Meghan Berdelle
    Answered on December 22, 2015Reply

    My inspiration is simplicity, love it to look clean and natural

    susan smoaks
    Answered on December 22, 2015Reply

    i am inspired by the plants growing.

    Deborah Colucci
    Answered on December 22, 2015Reply

    You need a garden for DELICIOUS tomatoes ... Can not beat your own home grown ... YUM

    Saree Shogren
    Answered on December 22, 2015Reply

    My garden inspiration is to be as eco friendly and humane as I can, Thanks!

    Jill H
    Answered on December 22, 2015Reply

    My garden inspiration is color, scent and movement. I like concrete ornaments, that look like that have been around a long time. My husband does the vegetable garden and we grow what we eat.

    Caroline B
    Answered on December 21, 2015Reply

    This book looks like a great place to get ideas.

    RD
    Answered on December 21, 2015Reply

    Monet's Giverney Garden

    Dan Sampeck
    Answered on December 21, 2015Reply

    Smells are my inspiration.

    Sharon Kaminski
    Answered on December 21, 2015Reply

    My garden inspiration is when my flowers bloom and smell so nice.

    Daniel M
    Answered on December 21, 2015Reply

    from others on the internet

    Wehaf
    Answered on December 21, 2015Reply

    I am inspired by English country gardens. I love the slightly wild look!

    Elizabeth Dowell
    Answered on December 21, 2015Reply

    My garden inspiration is my neighbors. One likes to have a neat orderly garden and the other is more of a free grower. I try to be somewhere in between!

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