Think of the most beautiful garden you have ever seen. Close your eyes and recall the content and magnificent detail that made it reside in your memory. You know what I am talking about. The color. That third dimension. The visual and physical effect that it had on you. What made it stand out? The design is the foundation to be sure. What completes the design however, is the choice of individual accessories, or garden art, that brings it all into perspective for the viewer.
My intention here is to educate you to achieve the look or goal that you want to project. I want to provoke you with a thought process to help you reach the ultimate contrived outdoor living space.
There should always be a focal point, or one key piece of art, that which draws the eye in to the space.. A fountain, a gazebo, a trellis, or something significant to capture your attention. It could be a specimen plant or tree that captures you. Sometimes the decorative outdoor furniture or grouping can be your focal point.
So, with that said….first decide what would you like to see out there? There is a variety of ways to contribute to the overall mood of your space. Whimsical pieces, formal pieces, abstract pieces, or re-purposed items can each reflect a different personal style. Recycled metal art, decorative planters, pedestal fountains, bird houses, and even DIY’s can all be considered ‘garden art’.
Intention is the key, so be conscious of yours.
You must be careful not to overdo it. Overkill with garden art can ruin a design, and we all can visualize what that looks like. (If you are guilty of it...you probably own it proudly and like it that way. That is a personal reflection on your individualism, and I don’t want to change you.)
This topic brings to mind the time I was secretly contracted by a local woman who wanted a ‘Fairy Garden’ in her backyard. Her area was approximately 20’ x 20’ and surrounded by banks of ground cover. I say secretly, because she did not want her husband to know. It was a surprise. She stated that she had some ‘fairies’ in a variety of sizes in boxes on her porch and conveyed that I could place them where I felt appropriate, then she went on vacation with her family…..
I designed and with a team installed a sitting garden for her with some blooming shrubbery, designated walkways, and a variety of perennials with year round interest. We moved her bench, her fountain, and her decorative iron table and chairs into place, then we un-boxed a variety of fairies (about 7) and placed them strategically to complete the garden. In my professional opinion, it had all the ingredients for a ‘wow factor’ sitting garden.
She came from vacation and called me in…..She said she loved what we did, but the remaining 30 fairies were still in boxes on her porch….Yeh...30 fairies. She said “I wanted a fairy garden, and what we gave her was a garden with some fairies…..could we put the rest out in the garden for her”??? 30 more fairies...
So what did I do?? I carried out her request with a sense of humor, respect, and professionalism. After all, it was HER sitting garden and she wasn’t going to change her mind about it.
On the other side of the spectrum, understating, that is little or few accents, can be equally as hazardous leaving the viewer with a question subconsciously. What is missing? Why don’t they have a bird feeder in that tree? Why don’t they ???
You get the picture. It just leaves the viewer questioning or wanting to complete the design for the owner. Again, a reflection of your unique personality.
You might laugh, but you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their landscape and their
choices of, or lack of, garden art.