New Garden Style

For Information and Sales
Call 01273 253067

Garden Art Guide

High Gloss Cherry Ornament

Gardens and art have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship for centuries, and gardens are a timeless source of inspiration for artists. Plants, trees, colour and light collide to provide the perfect artist’s muse, from fine art to abstract.

However, the use of art in the garden remains an often overlooked aspect of garden design. Garden art can be used to add drama, rejuvenate a tired garden or highlight your garden’s style. The last few years have seen increased interest in garden art, and we believe that some carefully curated garden art will enhance any outdoor space.

For some, choosing artwork for the home can be a daunting task – nothing makes a stronger statement about your taste than your artworks. This guide has been written to introduce the newbie to the world of garden art and to help you make informed choices. Seasoned pros will benefit too: gardening is a constant process of refinement so this guide may help you to make some useful additions to your space.

Garden Art Theory: Understand Your Space

Gardens are unique spaces with differing aesthetics and functions. It may sound obvious, but you need to understand the garden’s look and feel before you begin your search for that perfect piece of garden art. Classical, urban, natural or wild…there are many styles of garden. The goal is to select pieces that compliment your garden’s style, and avoid any clashes.

You should also consider the garden’s function – is it predominantly a space for entertaining, or perhaps a place for quiet contemplation? Asking such questions will guide you toward selecting the right piece of art for your garden. For example, stone and slate work well to promote a sense of calm, while colourful murals or coloured glass will have a much stronger visual impact.

Relaxed Garden Design

Focal Points and Framing

Considering focal points and framing will help you when deciding on where to position your garden art. Both of these concepts are adapted from interior design principles, re-purposed for the garden.

Focal Points

A focal point is where your attention is focused when you enter a room, or garden in this case. A focal point can be described as a ‘centerpiece’ placed predominantly in the garden, which acts as the viewer’s chief point of reference when surveying the space. Traditionally, pieces such as sculptures, armillary or sundials would be used to guide the eye around a large classical garden.

Naturally, the majority of us don’t have a large classical garden so you should be aware that multiple focal points can leave the space feeling cluttered and confused. Everything will depend on the dynamics of your space, but be careful not to overwhelm with multiple focal points. If in doubt, remember the old maxim that less is nearly always more.

Armillary Focal Point

Framing

Framing essentially describes how the artwork interacts with the surrounding elements. For example, framing the artwork with plants can seamlessly blend the piece into the surrounding garden, making the piece appear more subtle.

Alternatively, you may want your artwork to stand out from the surroundings. The classic method to achieve this effect would be to place the piece in front of some tightly trimmed foliage, so the foliage works as a non-distracting backdrop. You could also consider having no framing at all, leaving the piece to stand proudly on its own.

Making a Statement

Garden art need not be big and brash, but you should ensure that your art not only compliments your garden but also you as a person. What kind of a person are you, and how do you enjoy using your space? Your garden art should reflect your personality and aspirations. When you connect with a piece of art it will stir something inside. If you can increase this connection, you will increase the emotional response.

Corten Panels

These Corten Steel panels work great in a contemporary styled garden

Garden Wall Art

There are many ways in which garden wall art can improve your space. The obvious would be to enrich the appearance of an entertaining area or patio, but garden wall art can also be employed to break the monotony of a fence or boundary wall. Everybody has a corner in their garden that appears unloved or an area that needs brightening up. Some inspired use of garden wall art is the perfect solution for these problem areas.

Advances in technology and improved methods of production have allowed for the introduction of new product types and uses for garden wall art. Let’s take a look at the main options that are available to the gardener.

Metal Garden Wall Art

Usually crafted from steel or aluminium, metal garden wall art can be fabricated entirely by hand or a combination of machine production with hand finishing. Popular designs are based on animal and nature themes, though there are an increasing number of abstract designs available. There has also been a recent trend for using lazer cut corten steel. This lazer cutting process has enabled ever larger pieces to be produced, allowing the art to also function as screening.

One of metal garden wall art’s most endearing features is that it will often improve with exposure to the elements. The process of oxidization (rusting) can give the piece a thin layer of sheen known as ‘patina’. This gives a weathered appearance and makes the piece unique.

Roses Metal Wall Art

Wooden Garden Wall Art

Probably the most accessible category of garden wall art, pieces created from wood will work in any outdoor space. Without wanting to state the obvious, wood and gardens go hand in hand. Animal and nature themes are again popular, along with totems and pieces created from driftwood. Wooden wall art pieces often feature hand painted or digitally printed artwork, with a protective layer added to keep the piece weather resistant.

Garden Fence Art

Outdoor Canvas Art

With the introduction of weather resistant inks, images can be digitally printed onto weatherproof polyvinyl canvases and hung in the garden all year round. Brightly coloured images are usually the most effective, so you may want to be bold with your choices.

Canvas Garden Art

Installing Garden Wall Art

Installation follows a similar process to hanging art inside of the home. You should of course follow the instructions provided with the product, and be aware that the heavier the piece, the more time it will take to install.

Depending on the size and weight of the artwork, you may already have a fixture kit included with the product and attachment points pre-drilled. You will need to measure out the distance between attachment points and mark them on the target surface. Drill into the target surface and attach screws or brackets as necessary. Ideally the piece should be attached to the target surface in each corner to prevent a breeze from getting underneath and damaging the artwork.

Garden Sculptures

Nothing makes a statement quite like garden sculptures. With a tradition spanning several centuries, garden sculpture often evokes images of renaissance – style statues in grand classical gardens. Yet today garden sculpture is more accessible than ever. Whilst it is true that sculpture is where the big money is spent in the garden art world, technology has greatly increased choice and availability, with prices to suit any budget.

Chris Webb Garden Art

Considerations

When buying a sculpture, you need to take your time when considering your purchase. Selecting a sculpture offers plenty of potential for a faux pas, but with a little thought you can avoid making a mistake.

The key is to think about how the sculpture connects with the surroundings. The piece should be in scale with the background and in tune with the setting. Although garden sculpture is often associated with strong focal points, you don’t need a sprawling garden to integrate some garden sculpture. As long as the piece is proportional, sculpture can compliment any space.

With sculpture, as with many things in life, less is often more. It pays to be sparing with your garden artworks as it will be easy to make your space feel cluttered. Sometimes, the greatest statement is to be understated.

Materials

Another key consideration is the durability of the material that has been employed to create your sculpture. Generally, sculptures made from concrete, plastic or wood are the cheapest, but also the least durable. Terracotta and ceramic pieces are more durable but can also be fragile.

The very best pieces are often created from cast stone or metal (bronze, copper, steel or lead). These pieces are not only highly durable, but also age well with exposure to the elements, developing a ‘patina’ (a sheen created through the oxidization process) which enhances the sculpture’s appeal.

Garden Ornaments

Whilst sculpture works best at providing a focal point for your space, garden ornaments can be used as accent pieces to provide a splash of colour, add some interest or to augment a garden’s theme. There are ornaments to compliment any style of garden, so it helps to be familiar with the various types before making your selection.

Figurative Ornaments

The most popular category, figurative garden ornaments are a common sight in gardens throughout the world. For animal lovers, there is an abundance of pieces with dogs, cats, butterflies and lizards proving to be perennially popular. If you are looking for something a little more original, seek out contemporary ornaments in high quality poly resin. The choice available has risen exponentially in recent years.

This category would include the controversial garden gnome. With a history spanning over two hundred years, no piece of garden art polarises opinion as much as the humble garden gnome. Loved and derided in equal measure, you can make up your own mind on this one!

Garden Deities

Deities are divine characters whom are regarded as holy or sacred. In the world of garden art, there is one deity who features more than any other….the Garden Buddha.

Created from stone, wood or resin, garden Buddhas are popular as they promote a feeling of calm and spirituality; the same emotions that many gardeners seek to elicit from their space. There is a staggering choice available to the buyer, but if you are considering curating one for your garden, you should be aware of the meanings behind Buddha poses and postures.

Small Buddha Wall Hanging

Kinetic and Solar Ornaments

Derived from the Greek word kinesis, meaning motion, a kinetic ornament is one that moves with the power of the wind. Usually staked or hung from trees or a structure, these pieces are better known as spinners, whirligigs and wind chimes. Usually crafted from metals, wood or fabric, the attraction here is in the movement of the piece. Lights and glass can also be incorporated to create intricate patterns that catch the eye.

The increased availability of solar powered LED’s has led to the creation of this new category of garden ornament. LED’s have been added to traditional figurative ornaments so they emit a glowing light after dark, such as a cat ornament with glowing eyes. Solar powered LED’s have also been attached to stakes intended for lighting paths or boundaries, though the solar panels on such objects are too small to power any useful light.

Glass Garden Ornaments

Stained or coloured glass reflects glistens and sparkles…a tried and tested way to brighten up your outdoor space. The use of stained glass dates back to the 7th Century, and there are many contemporary glass ornaments available today, from glass panels to sun catchers.

Interior designers have long known that the use of mirrors can create the illusion of a larger space, so you might want to consider adding a mirror if space is at a premium. Mirrors will always work well in enclosed spaces, though you might want to give some thought to how the light reflects at various times of the day.

Stained Glass Garden Art

Metal Garden Ornaments

Metal has long been used for ornamentation in the garden, and there are as many figurative pieces available in metal as there are in stone or resin. Again, your style of garden will help to inform your choices. For example, wrought iron in decorative gate works well with classical garden designs, whilst copper and bronze pieces will lend a sculptural feel.

Try and think beyond the ubiquitous animal ornaments if you really want to stand out. There has been a recent trend for rusty letters, used to spell out words, or perhaps a gazing ball would work in your space? Metal garden ornaments are at the cutting edge of ornament design; the perfect material if you are looking for something contemporary or abstract.

David Haber Sphere

Whilst we hope that the above guide is helpful, our greatest hope is that you are inspired to curate some garden art for your own space. We are not suggesting that you turn your garden into an art gallery, but some well-considered garden art will be an asset for year to come. Whatever your taste or style of garden, that perfect piece of garden art is waiting to be discovered.

Need some further inspiration? Please check out our garden ornaments and garden decorations