"Lawnscapes: Mowing Patterns to Make Your Yard a Work of

Art" by David Parfitt (Quirk, $14.95): The cover of this little board book is

coated in artificial grass, but make no mistake: This isn't child's play.

Detailed directions - along with instructional sketches and illustrations of

the final product - demonstrate how to turn your lawn into a masterpiece.

Create a maze in your front yard, mow your house number into your lawn, create

a checkerboard pattern or pay tribute to Elvis with a custom lawn design. Tips

and lists of necessary supplies are provided for creating 18 different designs.

"Rain Gardens: Managing Water Sustainably in the Garden and Designed

Landscape," by Nigel Dunnett and Andy Clayden (Timber Press, $34.95): Dunnett

advertisement | advertise on newsday

and Clayden make an interesting case for water conservation in the garden and

offer creative ways for gardeners and landscapers to capture, channel, divert

and recycle rain and snow in unique and clever ways. Stormwater planters,

porous paving, green roofs and natural swimming pools are among the fresh ideas

presented in this environmentally conscious guide. The ideas presented aren't

naively idealistic, as the authors provide case studies from around the world

and sketches and photos that illustrate how to make a rain garden a reality.

"Easy Plant Propagation: Grow Your Own Landscape Plants at Home Without a

Greenhouse!" by Michael J.

McGroarty (AuthorHouse, $13.99): Multiplying your own trees, shrubs and

advertisement | advertise on newsday

perennials is not only cost efficient, the author points out, but easy as well.

Layering, air layering, softwood and hardwood cuttings, grafting and

propagation by division are covered in a straightforward, reader-friendly

manner and are accompanied by detailed instructions that take the mystery out

of the process.