Several years ago I was invited to a collaborative art opening being held at the home of an artist friend, featuring her works in addition to works from other friends. I had never been to her home and liked her work and those of the other artists, so I was looking forward to this occasion. Little did I know how inspiring this event would be!
Her home was situated on a small street near the edge of town where all the homes were located well below the street level. The ‘show’ experience started as I entered the top of the walkway that would take me down to her home. A pathway meandered through a garden trail of indigenous shrubs, flowers, boulders, and shabby-chic furnishings.
From the start and as I descended, every turn in the path featured artwork staged on rocks or old ironwork and furnishings, or was nestled among the shrubbery with the use of small display easels. It was absolutely enchanting!
My artist friend played it smart. Displaying each piece in charmingly staged garden vignettes spun stories around them that promoted connection. The experience she created encouraged her guests to name each piece along the path as their own. I can tell you for sure that her sales were high.
In short, our artsy host created a sanctuary for all of us to experience. It’s the way we need to think as we create our own sanctuaries. Artwork is a way to connect with an emotional experience. But simply hanging a piece of art isn’t always going to create that enchanting adventure like that of the story I shared.
Going with some of the ideas from my artist friend’s romantic designs, avid gardeners or small-scale landscapers have general rules for setting up informal outdoor havens. Here are some of them:
- Group together similar or complimentary colors;
- Vary sizes;
- Avoid straight lines, such as hedges - apologies to those with hedges, but nature doesn’t grow in straight lines …
- … speaking of which, Avoid symmetry;
- Where appropriate, add ‘treasures’, such as statuary, boulders, gazing balls, old ironwork, to be discovered among paths through the groupings.
What does this have to do with artwork in your home? Sometimes, a piece is so strong that it stands alone – no additional need to ‘accessorize’. But other times, these garden rules could apply.
The natural tendency is to hang art lined up at eye level along the wall, but did you know there is no rule to keep all artwork at eye level? What if you created groupings instead, with works hung high and low, and added meaningful surprises among the groupings? Much like the gardening ‘rules’, create areas of color, size variations, style variations, and personal treasures.
Places to think about are open areas, such as an entry, that will create an evocative experience for your visitors. Use a long access hallway to add interest for guests. Family rooms or guest bedrooms are often great areas for sharing.
Or, keep it all for yourself!
We encourage you to use your imagination combined with these gardening ideas to express your flowering personality in your own enchanting retreat!