Artificial Effects In The Garden – The range of materials that can be used in a garden includes the old and the new. Both can be used in all kinds of ways, and they must either merge with and enhance the existing look, being dictated by the planting scheme and atmosphere, or wittily stand out, catching visitors by surprise.
The best gardens have a touch of both, using a wide range, from stone, shells and water to concrete, metal, plastic, stained glass, colored pebbles, ornamental tiles, paint, wood, artificial lighting and slide projectors. In short, anything goes, but only if it looks good.
Antique statues are expensive, but it is now possible to buy modern reproductions of such high quality that it is often hard to tell the difference, especially when yogurt has been smeared over them to encourage the growth of lichen.
Statues can be used as focal points at the end of a vista or wherever there is a quiet part of the garden that needs a dash of grandeur. One grand statue on a plinth in a modest garden will look pompously out of place, but add a couple of smaller, more modest statues, with a face poking out of a border, one behind a pond, or one at the base of a tree, and suddenly you have created the right context for toe first statue, and it will look entirely appropriate.
Using modern materials in gardens does not mean that they must stand out like eyesores. Rusty metal discs, hub caps or roof tiles can be used to enhance a traditional gravel path, contributing to a rustic look. Replace them with shiny aluminium discs, and the look is lively, upbeat and 21st century. In both cases they inject a sense of movement, especially if the discs are packed close together at the beginning of the path, gradually being spaced further and further apart in the distance to make the path seem longer than it is.
Modern materials as an artificial effects in the garden can also be used to create a stylish, elegant look. Traditional, high-quality Victorian arbors were incredibly ornate, with intricate wrought-iron patterning, but they can also be bare and minimalist, being used like a picture frame to highlight a topiarized plant. Modern sculptures can be used in witty ways. An elongated, angular face, unlike a rounded classical one, is just the right shape for a grassy, punk-like wig of hair. And the whole effect is softened when other grasses are planted nearby.
A sense of style
If artificial effects in the garden begin to dominate the planting, it becomes more of a gallery or playground than a garden. The only time when that does not matter is when you are creating a children’s garden.
Although anything goes that gives pleasure, it is usually best to stick to a theme. A path with discs can become a river with stepping stones leading to a monster’s lair. Sculptured heads can be given a devilish twist with a coat of paint giant spiders’ webs can be made using lengths of cane, topiarized shrubs may become monsters, and hiding places can be created by close-planting upright shrubs in a semi- circle. lf you are artistic, create a mosaic design on a plain wall (perhaps a dull garage) or use oil-based paints to add a trompe l’oeil door, apparently opening mysteriously to a secret garden beyond.