The key to good woodland design is to do it as nature would, but you might add an exception with a little decoration of your own for a bit of curiosity. Imagine yourself on a quiet walk, the birds singing, the chipmunks scampering and you run across what you might not expect.
With wooded lots, you already have built-in structure. The trees reaching for the sky form the major design experience, but you can add your creativity to the mix, with artificial objects, even make your own tree.
I prefer those made from natural material, but man-made art provides an unexpected visual treat and a great contrast to the tall trees and ground hugging vegetation.
Sculpture and art gardens can inhabit woodland settings with art occurring periodically along a sinuous path through the woods. Meander, explore and take your time, that is the design intent of sculpture gardens in the woods.
Here we have a large property that is a Certified Wildlife Habitat in the truest sense of the requirements by NWF. In fact, the owner is planning on getting the mineral rights to the property to prevent the devastating effects of fracking.
Let’s take a tour of the 26 acres of wildlife “heaven”. It has a woodland “art and sculpture gallery” spread out across the large property, harmoniously mixing nature with art. So how do we do it?
The woodland walk can be punctuated with art, appearing after rounding a bend or continuing straight down a path. Some can be very large in a meadow clearing, or some very small appearing through a break in the foliage of the forest.
The objects entice you with mystery when they unexpectedly appear dotting the forest floor.
A boardwalk or deck makes a nice viewing station from which to observe the busy wildlife. Parks use this feature quite often, yet it can be adapted to residential use as well.
Outdoor art or features needn’t be expensive. It can be made from found objects natural, like stacked rocks or broken concrete laid artfully. Things like this invite people to stop and ponder. Boulders make a great place to sit and contemplate or rest to watch the birds.
Or they make a nice stand to park your art amongst the fern!
Sculpture art can really be a treasure to find along a woodland path. Nestled off the path in understory vegetation adds to the appeal.
Downed trees make for nice platforms for statuary. Art can find its way into the depression of a large tree. It takes a bit of discovery to locate these little treasures.
As you walk the woodland path, you experience the synthesis of art and nature when done thoughtfully. Seamless integration makes the experience such a pleasant journey.
Some art brings a smile because it is so unexpected. Some starts your journey and draws you into the depths of the woods from the comfort of your back deck.
Would you think to find such a colorful display in the woods? It draws you in to explore what lies beyond.
This piece really makes one think and opens you to further exploration. Prayers flags maybe?
Other art looks like an artifact found on a dig.
The critters get interesting housing too.
Walking the 26 acres, such variety is found, yet I did not even scratch the surface with all these images.
If you did not see the first post in this three-part series, please catch up with Landscaping the Woods. Next is Designing Paths Through the Woods – Paths or Trails – Tomato or Tomahto.
A woodland landscape offers the chance to get back to design basics, but the more complex the woodland, the more mystery it will hold. Even if you don’t have a woodland garden, art through the smaller home garden can have the same discovery appeal. It all is in how it is displayed. Much of what is shown in this post could easily translate to a garden of smaller size. Maybe not a cut tree trunk to display your art, but an old antique plinth could do the same.
For the architecture of the wooded path and thoughts of an architect on design of natural spaces, see Off Into the Woods of Lewiston Gardens. Most images here are from where I stayed in Pennsylvania, a private residence where the forest becomes a destination.