With the arrival of spring comes the perfect time to get out in the garden and make the most of your outdoor space. One way to completely transform your garden for 2021 is to invest in a garden sculpture. With so many styles and sizes to choose from, Ian Hay, Art Director at the Saul Hay Gallery (www.saulhayfineart.co.uk) shares his tops tips:

  • Think about WHY you want a sculpture – When it comes to buying sculpture for your garden, ask yourself, what do you want the sculpture to bring to the space? Is it to offer sharp, bold contrast to the living elements of the garden, or blend in with natural forms? Is it to make a statement or bring in a surprising element that will inject fun and intrigue?
  • Make an impact – I believe that garden sculpture should be impactful but never too dominant or it can jar with the overall view of the garden. You can choose sculpture that adds contrasts to the natural forms and colours of the garden by introducing bold colours and geometric shapes.
  • Use your sculpture as a guiding post – Sculpture has the power to create perspective that leads the eye through the overall garden design and helps to tie the whole space together – dividing sections and creating structure.
  • Work out how much space you have – When it comes to buying sculpture, so much depends on space. But if you’ve got a small garden, don’t be put off. Sculptural pieces can range from 30cm to a few metres in height so there are options for everyone. My advice is not to overcrowd the garden as you will lose the impact of individual sculptures – and that’s true if you’ve got a big or small garden. Make sure you choose work of the right scale and size for your space.
  • Ask a specialist – When it comes to buying fine art sculpture that is truly unique, approach a specialist gallery who will not only show outdoor sculpture but can offer advice on selecting the right work for your requirements. Sculptural works can be purchased ‘off the peg’ or can be specially commissioned just for you, to fit your space, taste and budget.
  • Choose your materials – The range is huge – you have marble, stone, stainless steel, painted steel, Corten steel, bronze, aluminium, wood, ceramics and of course the combinations of two or more of these media. Make sure you have a look at similar sculptures in the materials so you know what the final product will look like.
  • Choose your style – When it comes to style, think about if you want something that is lifelike or abstract. Both work well in gardens. Lifelike animal representations are particularly popular while brightly colour pure abstraction can bring a complete contrast to the space and stand out. It’s all down to personal choice and I’d recommend visiting galleries who sell sculpture and doing a lot of research online to work out what you’d like best.
  • Buy works of popular artists – Artists that do very well at the Saul Hay Gallery include the international renowned wildlife sculptor, David Cemmick, Jo Risley, who works in various metals to produce semi-abstract works inspired by nature, and Gareth Griffith, the Welsh sculptor who creates colourful and eye-catching works of art intended to catch people’s attention and draw them closer.
  • Trust your instincts – My main piece of advice when buying sculpture is to trust your taste and stick to your vision for the garden. Be ambitious and try not to compromise as you are building a garden to enjoy for many years to come.

The Surrey Sculpture Society’s virtual exhibition is on now – surreysculpture.org.uk