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There's an art to art in the garden.

It's not just what you show but also how you show it that matters when displaying art in the garden. Elizabeth Rocchia, owner of a garden art gallery in West Linn, Oregon, puts it this way: "As people become confident with their gardening and garden design skills, they become more daring, able to add ornament to the garden with confidence and a light heart." Garden art can be anything from a cast-concrete duck to an original sculpture. The key is to select a piece-or pieces-that work best in your garden, or to make your garden work best for your art. Here's what to keep in mind when you choose and position artworks outdoors. Style and mood. In the garden, art focuses attention. A simple granite sphere might look great sunk into a grouping of prostrate juniper. A clay cupid set on a 6-foot-tall steel pipe could hover above a clump of delphinium. Your choice of art can add drama (a sculpture at the end of a long path) or comic relief-perhaps a stone hog rooting in a dense patch of lettuce. Artwork can sit on the ground, stand on a pedestal or platform, or hang. In any of these situations, you'll want it to fit in with the garden's overall mood. Placement and scale. As with artwork indoors, try outdoor art in different places to see where it fits best. Step back and view the whole-plants and art-as one picture. Since moving artwork from place to place can be impractical-if not impossible-try prowling your garden first with an empty 8- by 10-inch picture frame. Hold it at arm's length and look through it with one eye closed: this helps you isolate views and imagine where a piece of art could work best. When choosing art, keep in mind an object's scale in relation to the space available; a very large statue on a massive pedestal would probably look out of place in a small garden. Backdrops and plantings. An art object set against a solid mass of plants or in front of a structure can break up a garden's visual monotony. A wall of brick or needled evergreens, a carpet of ground cover, or slate paving all work well as backdrops. Art can also serve as a visual oasis in a riot of bloom, or pull together a wildly divergent collection of flower colors and plant forms.
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Copyright 1989 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunset
Date:Aug 1, 1989
Words:397
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