James R. Cothran, an Atlanta landscape architect and author whose three books provided different looks at Southern gardens, died Sunday. He was 71.

His first book, "Gardens of Historic Charleston," was published in 1995, and eight years later he penned "Gardens and Historic Plants of the Antebellum South," a comprehensive look at some of the South's earliest gardens.

His most recent book, "Charleston Gardens and the Landscape Legacy of Loutrel Briggs," was published in 2010.

A Greenwood native, Cothran worked at Park Seed Co. and graduated from Clemson University. He later received a master's degree in city planning from Georgia Tech. In recent years he focused increasingly on historic landscape preservation and worked on plans for Drayton Hall and Magnolia Plantation in Charleston.

He is survived by his wife, Lynn; a daughter, Caroline Cothran Augustin; son-in-law, Patrick Augustin; a sister, Mary Francis White; and a granddaughter.

Donations may be made to the Cherokee Garden Library or the Endowment for the Founders Memorial Garden at the University of Georgia. A memorial mass will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at The Cathedral of Christ the King in Atlanta. A memorial reception is set for 3-5 p.m. Friday at the Cherokee Garden Library in Atlanta.