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In terms of what type of art belongs in your garden, my personal opinion is that if an object or a piece of art grabs your soul, then by all means use it! Don’t worry about so-called rules, or what others may think - it’s your garden after all. However, a basic understanding of the different types of art and how best to place them can prevent your garden from ending up looking like a garage sale and more like a finely created masterpiece.
There are three main categories of garden art: formal, semi-formal and casual.
Formal art tends to be something you might see in an old, classic estate – traditional stone statuary, wrought iron obelisks, sundials, stately columns, etc. This type of art lends an ‘old world’ feel to your garden, giving it a sense of timelessness, like it’s been there forever.
Semi-formal art might be best described as art that’s a little more casual or contemporary. This type of art belongs in most any garden, and usually reflects a gardener’s personality - be it whimsical, modern or slightly more casual. Examples might be geometric metal sculptures, kinetic art, or animals.
Casual art is the giant ‘catch-all’ category that contains fun, imaginative, or homemade objects. Really, the sky’s the limit here. This is probably my favorite type of art since it’s totally open to your interpretation and limited only by your imagination.
When placing art in your garden, there are a few things to keep in mind. The first to consider is the object’s scale and proportion in relation to its surroundings. For example, if you have a large garden, open to the surrounding space beyond, a small gazing globe will seem a bit lost and look out of place. But a larger object, like this oversized pot elevated on a pedestal makes quite a statement. It’s simplicity and sheer size hold up to the surrounding space beyond, neither competing nor distracting from its surroundings.
Another consideration is the art’s placement in your garden. This seems to be what stumps most people – now that you’ve found your favorite birdhouse, where do you put it?
Remembering that art should complement your garden and your garden’s overall ‘feel’ will help in deciding where to begin. You don’t want to necessarily place an object up front and center, causing it to scream out ‘look at me, look at me!” Rather, tuck it discreetly in a garden bed to be accidentally ‘discovered’. There’s something magical about stumbling upon a hidden treasure.
Or, place the art at a key focal point within your garden, such as the end of a pathway. This is an excellent way to draw the visitor through your garden, encouraging them explore and linger just a little bit longer.
Or perhaps use the art to turn an ordinary brown fence into a stunning focal point fence. Have a ‘blah’ section of your garden? Use a little creativity to make a statement, instead!
Or even using that art as a bit of ‘comic relief’ in a garden, letting everyone know that you have a sense of humor!
The whole point in accessorizing your garden with art is to have fun with it, enjoying the entire process. If you’re successful with that, your garden will reflect it