Monday, May 30, 2011

Adding an artistic touch to the garden

Garden art can be interpreted in many different ways. It might means extravagant sculptures, urns, water features, birdbaths or stone figurines. Even the good old garden gnome can be considered garden art!

Many people will tell that there are plenty of dos and don'ts when it comes to garden art, but most importantly, it should come down to personal taste. This doesn't mean you should completely discount factors such as style, scale and proportion. However, you shouldn't' simply go to a garden centre and choose something because the style seems "in" at the moment. It's your garden. You will be looking at this work of art all day - so you should love it.

So when making that personal decision, here are a few things you can keep in mind:

- Garden art is a wonderful way to add some boldness and character to a garden, this can work in different ways. For instance, a sculpture can act as the focal point of the garden or be a more subtle feature, that catches guests by surprises and gives them a chance to ponder.

- Be creative in where you choose to position the sculpture. Instead of smack bang in the centre of the garden, thing about a less obvious place so it can give visitors a gentle surprise. Also on the note of placement, try positioning sculptures at different levels, for instance where they have to be looked down or up to, rather than eye level.

- Embrace different materials. Garden art comes in all kinds of materials whether it be wood, stone, marble or glass. The differing textures of the materials create an interesting contrast to the surrounding greenery. Again, choose a material that best suits your tastes and the style of your garden.

- Considering portable pieces that you can move around will allows your garden to almost have a new look every month if you choose! It will also make you reconsider that old garden sculpture in a new way.

- Personal touches. Growing up with a father who spent every waking moment in the garden has given me an appreciation when it comes to garden art. Although, in the past my father has gone a bit too overboard with the sculptures in the garden, one of his best was his modernist interpretation of Rodin's, Thinker in his home in Malaysia (below). So on this note, don't think of garden art as just something you have to fork out a small fortune on. If you're feeling creative, why not create some new additions to the garden yourself or even get the family involved. If you have kids, chances are they have brought home all sorts of wonderful sculptures created during their visual arts class at school. My parents still have a clay bird I made in year 7 (and which I got top marks for!) next to the front yard's water feature. It adds a very personal and memorable touch to the garden.

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