It used to be that gardens were simply a way to add color to otherwise unused portions of a yard. Now, gardens are considered an extension of your home. In some cases, gardens are even designed as outdoor rooms. In order to maximize the potential of these outdoor spaces, you'll want to add some garden art to accentuate its features. In choosing garden art, there are four questions you'll want to ask yourself.
- What type of garden art appeals to you? Almost anything that isn't a plant can be considered art, such as fountains, sculptures, rocks, benches, swings, mobiles, ornaments, fences, birdhouses, gazing globes, arbors and terraces. Think about which type of art seems like a good fit for your garden. Fountains tend to blend in more naturally in a somewhat formal garden, while sculptures, benches and similar items will fit in almost anywhere.
- What scale fits best within your garden? Although a large piece of art in a small garden can create a focal point, in general, you'll want the scale of your art to match the scale of your garden. If you're not sure whether or not a piece is too large for your garden, measure the piece, then map out this amount of space in your garden. If it dwarfs everything around it, it may be too big.
- What mood do you want to convey? Some gardens are very formal, and traditional--symmetrical artwork will usually work best in a garden of this type. If you want to establish a peaceful feeling in your garden, try to keep most of the garden art low to the ground and unobtrusive. Then again, if you want your garden to be invigorating and energizing, use lots of vertical elements. You may be drawn to more whimsical garden art, which will create a fun, almost childlike feeling in your garden. Color can also play an important part in creating a mood in your garden. Selecting natural colors or colors similar to your plants will create a more restful feeling, while contrasting colors create excitement. The kind of garden art that you choose can really help tie together the elements of your garden and create the feeling that you want.
- What is your budget? Sculptures, fountains and terraces are the most expensive kind of garden art. If you're not willing to spend a lot, start with something smaller, such as a one-of-a-kind mobile hung from a tree, or a gazing globe nestled in among some wildflowers.
Once you've decided what type of garden art you wish to buy, there are many outlets in which to start looking. A home improvement store, such as Lowe's or Home Depot, will have many reasonably-priced, but maybe not very original options. Local craft shows are also an excellent source of garden art. If you can't find what you're looking for at a craft show, many exhibitors will be happy to make what you want. There are also lots of sources on the Internet for garden art. Some of the best are Home Garden Accents and Plow and Hearth. Of course, if you're a crafty kind of person, you can always make your own garden art. Stepping stones are a fun, easy way to add personality to your garden!
When garden art is done well, it seems almost inseparable from its environment, as anyone who has toured the St. Louis Botanical Garden's Dale Chihuly exhibit can attest. Most of us can't aspire to anything quite that grand, but every piece of art added to a garden speaks of the gardener's personality. Be sure that your garden reflects well on you!