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Incorporating Art in your garden design

Incorporating Art into your garden is a great way to express your personal taste in your backyard or front garden. From the follies of English gardens, that were designed and built to look like classical Greek, Roman, Romanesque or Gothic ruins, to kitschy plastic flamingoes designed in 1957 by Don Featherstone, to garden gnomes that originated in Germany in the 19th century, Art in the garden has come a long way.

What do you want to say with garden Art? The first thing you want to think about before you buy garden art is: What am I trying to say to my garden’s visitors? Or, put another way, what mood do you want to evoke in your garden? Do you want to evoke a “classical” feeling with urns and vases? Do you want to create the rustic homestead with scarecrows and wagon wheels? Do you want to make garden visitors think about the power of nature, with gnarled driftwood or a large, immovable boulder? Do you want to make people chuckle at a quirky sculpture of a fish reading a book?

What style of garden Art would look best? Your garden and its design are an extension of your home. So, when choosing Art for your garden, it is best to keep to the same style, period, and colours. Nostalgic, minimalist, romantic, rustic, Japanese, Italian, French—these are all choices you might consider, depending on the style and décor of your home’s interior. You want to create a unified look in your garden, so it is best to pick one style and stick to it. Don’t mix styles, unless you are purposefully going for the kitschy look.

Here is the Majorelle Garden, a 2.5 acre garden in Marrakech, Morocco, created by French ex-pat painter Jacques Majorelle (1886 – 1962) where the unifying theme is the famous Majorelle Blue, a shade of cobalt blue. Since 1980 the garden has been owned by the late fashion designer Yves Saint-Laurent and Pierre Bergé. After Yves Saint Laurent died in 2008, his ashes were scattered in the Majorelle Garden.

What is garden Art? Sculpture, whether it is carved stone, cast metal or poured concrete, is just one example of garden Art. To a huge degree, Art is in the eye of the beholder. You can also make up your own Art: garage sales, flea markets, and thrift shops are frequently the source of collectibles which you can turn into Art for your garden. Old ceramic jugs, planters, or antique garden tools can all become great garden Art. Or, you can buy cheap stools or chairs and paint them all the same colour: sunny yellow, burnt orange, or lime green.

Ways to use garden Art

  • At the end of an allée of trees.

  • Under an arch or a pergola.

  • In front of a clipped hedge, which provides a plain background.

  • At the entrance to your garden.

  • Beside a garden pond, if you have one.

  • If you have a spectacular view on a hilltop, strategic placemen of Art will enhance it.

  • In a flower border, to provide visual interest in the early Spring and late Fall.

  • In the middle of a lawn, to act as a focal point for the garden.

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