Courtyard Gardens of Kyoto's Merchant Houses

Author: 
Katsuhiko Mizuno
This is a beautiful book.  In fact, you might mistake it for just another big, beautiful coffeetable book.  But  gardeners will discover a wealth of information.
 
Did you know that almost every type of stone used in one of these courtyard gardens has a name, and that garden connoisseurs in Japan would recognize each type and know it's geographic source?  That water basins and stone lanterns come in several distinct styles- and each may have it's own specific name and proper use?  Every illustration has descriptive text that details the classic design principles built into that garden.  And the (few) pages devoted to text cover details on materials and construction that you will find very useful if you decide to add a bit of Japan to your own yard... or balcony.
 
There is so much here.  It has taken me more time to read through this book, and inspect and consider each of the (spectacular) illustrations, than I spend on some novels.   And it's a great investment of time.
 
Much to see.  Much to think about.