For homeowners and landscape designers, a garden is not complete without the art that is ideal. But how do you pick it to be complemented by the plants and find the appropriate spot for a bit of art?
Step one is finding a job that actually speaks to you, then “allow the artwork to help define the landscape,” says landscape architect Edmund Hollander. He recommends working with gallery or an artist, when possible, to make a connection between garden and art.
“It is really not so different from the relationship between a home and its surrounding landscape,” he says.
Susan Lowry, coauthor with Nancy Berner of Private Gardens of the Bay Area says artwork in a garden should improve its environment. “Scale, feel and mild all play off the thing, and there’s also an emotional content that affects how we see the garden itself,” she says.
Less is more, she warns: “We’ve seen many a garden destroyed by a lot of extraneous voices jumbled to the framework.”
The most frequent error when putting artwork in gardens, Mr. Hollander warns, is “sticking a job where there is too much other things. It is like a museum hung a painting on a wallpapered wall rather than on a white one.”
So experts recommend that functions be placed against backdrops, like yards, hedges or evergreens.
Karen Daubmann, public participation at the New York Botanical Garden and associate vice-president for exhibitions, has helped design plantings by many others and glass artist Dale Chihuly around works. The principles for selecting and showing art are similar, she says.
“It’s wonderful to go for something as a bigger focal point — something you can see from the window and enjoy throughout the year, and then some smaller functions which you just wind up near,” she says. “And when you are determined where to put something, do not forget to look up. It’s a great surprise to look up and see a pergola, chandelier or lantern.”
Most significant, Ms. Daubmann states, is to select art you truly love. “Odds are, if you are placing it in a backyard you’ve planted and designed yourself, it is going to work, as it’s the exact esthetic.”
Bear in mind when and from where the job will be looked at. In the kitchen window? The living room? She says, if you’re going to be seeing it consider colors.
“White glass or white flowers make for a excellent moonlight garden, while dark blues will have a tendency to get lost in the day,” Ms. Daubmann states. “A mossy, shaded garden could be spiced up rather a lot with brightly colored artwork.”
And the art does not have to be costly. “I occasionally find wonderful pieces in antique stores or at barn earnings that actually spark my creativity,” she says.
For inspiration, experts suggest visiting with botanical gardens or sculpture gardens, museums.
“There are tons of sculpture gardens of all sorts around nowadays, and the mixture of art and landscape, when done correctly, can be quite inspiring,” Mr. Hollander says.