Sculpture in the Garden

Sculpture in the Garden

A recent trip to Hyde Hall reminded me how a well-placed piece of sculpture never fails to add the wow factor, even in the best designed garden. It can be used to reflect and emphasis the style or mood of the garden, compliment the architecture or purely to indulge your personal taste. A thoughtfully chosen feature can give the garden personality, purpose and atmosphere, bringing to life the planting and spaces. Whether modern or classic, natural or manmade it provides that human element in contrast to the organic foliage.

Even a tiny detail, such as this exquisite birch owl can be used to highlight the darker areas under a canopy and creates an element of surprise as you explore the garden.

A standing stone creates a powerful statement, with that sense of permanence and timelessness. against the backdrop of glossy holly.

The large chrome water feature at Hatfield House is used to frame the view. That sense of space can also be emphasised by placing a distant focal point, that can draw you further into the garden. But it can also be playful or a hidden detail waiting to be discovered, or just simply elegant.

A simple feature can create a meditative mood to a garden. Be careful not to have too many focal points in sight at once, as they with detract from each other. But a seat with a calm element to focus on can produce a calm, contemplative environment.

My personal favourite is the utterly brilliant Mud Maid at the lost Gardens if Heligan. This is one of the most striking garden features I have come across. It pays homage to the surrounding landscape, formed from materials found where she lies in the woodland. It was totally unexpected to turn a corner and suddenly find this beautiful girl sleeping soundly on, and in, the ground. The effect was quite profound, creating a hushed atmosphere. I was torn between gazing at this sleeping giant and creeping past so as not to wake her. She was peaceful like the surrounding woodland and at one with the earth and plants, yet at the same time so human too. If only I had the space!

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