Your backyard should relax and refresh you, but it should also delight you! Choosing garden art that reflects your personality and makes you feel good is an important key to creating the ultimate backyard.

Art can mean many things to many people but basically there are 3 types:

1. Formal Art

Think larger stately pieces that you see in more traditional backyards, like a classic sculpture of a Greek goddess or a stone angel. Heavy iron garden ornaments like obelisks and sundials also work well with most backyard landscape designs.

These pieces create an old-world feel and lend a sense of drama to the yard. Others might include columns, carved fountains, birdbaths, and classical architectural salvage.

2. Semi-formal

This is the most popular type because it suits so many styles of backyards. It‘s more relaxed in theme, a little more nostalgic and decorative.

For example, light hearted sculptures of animals or children in concrete, resin or bronze, contemporary metal sculptures of flowers and insects, stained glass stepping stones, artistic birdhouses, and hand painted garden pots, copper wind chimes.

3. Informal Art

I call this art “your imagination gone wild”. Everyday objects are placed in the garden to create art that is fun, whimsical, and even campy.

I‘ve seen all kinds of items used as garden d├ęcor like: old rubber boots planted with flowers, a nostalgic wire bedroom headboard , an antique window frame, an old-fashioned bathtub, a dressmaker’s dummy, and fancy china plates.

Remember that the type of art you choose should be in keeping with the feel of your backyard but it should also be an expression of you.

The most important thing is that you should feel some emotional attachment to your garden art.

Tips for placing Garden Art

In the garden, art becomes a focal point. Your eye is naturally drawn to it and it commands your attention. So where you place it is important. Put garden art:

• In a boring, bare part of the yard to add interest and stimulate conversation

• At the end of a path to add drama

• In any area to add comic relief. I have a cute bronze frog lying on a back on a lily pad beside my waterfall and pond.

• In front of an ugly spot to hide dead patch

• Directly in line with an unwanted view of the neighbour’s yard to create privacy

• On a wall or fence to visually break up the long monotonous line. I have a beautiful concrete painted face hanging on one part of my fence and a mirror hanging on another to add interest.

• In front of a colourful burst of foliage to punctuate the space. My classical white bird bath looks gorgeous just in front of my huge pink rose bush

• Hidden behind some greenery so it just peeks out a little to create a feeling of antiquity. This will put plants in the spotlight.

• Within the frame of a beautiful view to enhance the view even more. My backyard is on the lake and the view is made even more beautiful by a large fountain of Poseidan the sea God that we have made part of the view.

• In a rock garden to create feeling of garden gallery. The rocks are natural pedestals for the art and create a wonderful playground for eye to bounce around in and land on art.

Don’t forget about the view from inside. Take a look out your window to see where you might place art so that it draws you out into the backyard.

Finally, less is more. Too much garden art will make your backyard look junky. All you need is a few interesting pieces to personalize your backyard and give it a sense of place.

Deborah Boland © 2006 All Rights Reserved

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