Three Principles for Garden Art

garden ornaments on a lawn

Modern garden ornaments punctuating a lawn

I believe that some carefully curated Garden Art will enhance any outdoor space, and everybody should have at least one piece incorporated into your garden’s design.

With winter just around the corner and your garden retreating toward hibernation, some well-placed Garden Art will also bring some much needed visual appeal. You may not feel like investing in your garden after Summer, but Autumn is a great time for the garden.

I also recognise that for most people the notion of selecting art can be a little daunting, even intimidating. Nothing makes a stronger statement about your personal taste than your choice in home décor and particularly your artworks.

However, selecting your Garden Art shouldn’t be a source of stress. Follow these three basic principles and you will select those pieces which will add interest and aesthetic appeal to your outdoor space for years to come.

1. Understand How Garden Art Effects Your Space

It may sound obvious, but many people get this wrong, both inside and outside of the home. You really must understand your garden’s style. Cottage, urban, formal or natural…there are many styles of garden. Your Garden Art should complement your garden’s style and vice-versa.

For example, I just love contemporary garden design and would therefore be looking for contemporary / abstract pieces of Garden Art. Now imagine that piece in an English cottage garden…train wreck! Whilst it is very tempting to buy a piece based on a flattering image on the internet or some deft exhibiting skills at a garden show, think long and hard whether the piece will be an asset to your garden.

Snail in Contemporary Garden

This snail garden ornament works in a contemporary garden

2. Think Garden Art for Focal Points and Framing

Considering focal points and framing will help you to decide where to locate your new piece of Garden Art. Again, failure to understand these concepts, both inside and outside of the home, can lead to some pretty awful results.

Focal Points

Applied from elementary interior design principles, a focal point is where your attention is focused within the room, or garden in our case. Focal points are often thought of in terms of the ‘centrepiece’ or a statement piece placed prominently in the garden. Traditionally, these would be pieces such as sculptures, armillary or sundials.

Whilst I am an advocate of such pieces, you should be aware that more than one focal point in the average garden can lead to the space feeling confused and cluttered. As outdoor spaces are increasingly used for socialising, the focal point is often an entertaining area with the garden forming a backdrop. Of course, everything will depend on the style and dynamics of your space, but be careful not overwhelm the eye with multiple focal points.


Framing essentially describes how the artwork interacts with the elements surrounding it. For example, framing your art with plants can seamlessly blend the piece into the surrounding garden, if that is your desired effect. Alternatively, you may want your artwork to stand out from its surroundings. The classic way to achieve this effect would be to place the piece in front of tightly trimmed foliage, which would act as a non-distracting backdrop to your artwork.

You should also consider perspective and how and from where the artwork will be viewed. This is particularly important as we move toward winter; it’s nice to be able to see your artwork from indoors on those days when it’s just too fierce to step outside!

Cherries Garden Ornaments

These Cherry Garden Ornaments make great focal points

3. Make a Statement With Garden Art

I’m not suggesting that your Garden Art should be big and brash, but you should ensure that your art not only compliments your garden’s style but also you as a person.

So what kind of a person are you, and how do you enjoy using your outdoor space? Are you an extrovert who loves to entertain or perhaps your space is intended as an oasis of calm and contemplation? Your Garden Art needs to reflect the lifestyle for which the space intended. Is your space predominantly an activity area for the family, or would something risqué or erotic convey your personality?

Asking yourself these questions will steer you toward the selection of the perfect piece of art for your garden. For example, stone and slate would work well to promote a sense of calm, while colourful murals, glass or mosaics will have a much stronger visual impact. If you are still unsure on where to start, I suggest you read my article on types of garden art.

Above all, you should feel passionate about your Garden Art in the same way you do with your other favoured artworks. You are likely to own your art for many years, and you will find that your emotions attach to it in exactly the same way as your interior art and treasured possessions.

Hearts Garden Sphere

Pieces such as this heart shaped garden sphere can really convey your personality

Would you like to learn more about Garden Art? Please see our comprehensive guide to everything about garden art.

What do you think?