Half the fun of gardening is plunking a plant in a new spot and seeing what happens–the results could be just blah, thrilling, or really terrible (my purple/pink Black Beauty Lilies looked atrocious growing next to my salmon Christopher Marlow roses). Due to my short-ish growing season here in New England, sometimes it may take a few years to know if I’ve had a garden design success or failure. That’s why I love using garden statuary, sculpture or art–instant garden design satisfaction with no waiting!
I’ve written before about how using garden statuary adds year-round visual interest and variety in gardens that are short on space or plant variety, but I feel like garden art in general doesn’t get enough attention in the garden design world. Garden statuary and art can add balance, variety, and whimsy to a tired space with very little effort. Have a large meadow with wildflowers? Sounds lovely…but add a garden sculpture to the meadow and now you are making a bold statement!
But you don’t have to go big with statuary–sometimes just a little touch can make a huge difference. Is your garden a little trio of pots on your balcony? Add a stone bunny or two and now you’ve got a bunny family to keep you company for years. Let your friends or your kids name the statuary and now you have a familiar conversation starter for years to come.
On my last two recent garden tours, I don’t think I visited a single garden that didn’t use a piece of garden statuary or sculpture. Sometimes it was a little cherub statue tucked behind a planter, in other places, it was a large two-tiered fountain that dominated a courtyard.
I think the point was hammered home that statuary and art are the design equivalents of curtains, rugs, and wall art. They add that final level of style that lets the designer really make a statement. It’s hard to pass by a little shady corner if it’s accented with an amazing palm-shaped birdbath. Remove the birdbath and there’s some nice ferns and hosta, but I probably wouldn’t have lingered long in that spot to appreciate the delicate foliage without that statuary!
Design is of course a personal choice, and sometimes experimenting with form and color can have amazing results, but by adding design features and focal points with items like statues, birdbaths, art and sculpture, you truly personalize a space and tell stories, which takes your landscape design up to a whole new level.