Pairing Plants, Site and Piece

Sculpture and the garden is a natural combination, one that offers almost endless possibilities.  Ideally sited, the background with its tone and texture and the quality of its light and shadow become an actual part of the composition of the piece, which in turn can make it the core of the garden design. When a piece becomes very heart of the space, the placement is successful.

The well-defined, shining marble statues of Italy find a perfect foil in the low; dark tones of the yew. Or the matted color of a hemlock hedge is an excellent background for a lighter piece. Where the desired effect is to be light against dark and placing a piece against a flat surface, as in the picture below, these plants are good choices for obvious reasons.

At times you may want a different effect. Maybe you want the work to be seen as a dark silhouette, which would make the sky an ideal background. One of the best examples I can think of is the North Salem, NY garden designed by Doyle/Herman Design Associates as seen below.

(See “ A French Normandy-style home ” on the project section of their website:   The walking figure is silhouetted by the sky and reflecting pool. An allee of cherry trees (Prunus serrulata) provide the frame. A lovely, uncluttered composition.  The bronze sculpture is by Dutch artist Hanneke Beaumont.


About christinedarnelldesignstudio

Christine Darnell Design Studio is a landscape and garden design studio in Chester, CT. Imaginative plant combinations characterize the work with an artist’s eye towards texture and color. A strong commitment to environmentally considerate design runs through the practice, the support of local nurseries, and guidance towards the most environmentally sustainable materials and products. Adjunct Professor, Horticulture Dept. of Naugatuck Valley Community College, Waterbury, CT , Wetlands Commissioner for the Town of Chester, Vice President, APLD, Connecticut Chapter.
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