mylandscapes contemporary garden design london

modern garden design outdoor sculpture

garden terrace modern sculpture

blog / outdoor trends

design & words Amir Schlezingeramir schlezinger

Intimate Storytelling

Sculpture elevates outdoor spaces remarkably, and while art is often associated with public sites, in a private garden, our personal artistic preferences infuse profound distinctiveness. A times, a client already owns a piece of sculpture and asks to integrate it intuitively into the overall garden design, whereas certain exterior spaces provide natural settings for art displays. When sculptures are crafted as integral parts of garden design landscaping projects, we seek out original artists to collaborate with to individualise backdrops organically. Whether site-specific, figurative or abstract, modern sculpture defines a meaningful as well as purposeful connection between indoor and outdoor spaces with familiar materials, enticing silhouettes and intimate storytelling.

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1. bay 2. wood 3. stone 4. plinth 5. bronze 6. ethnic 7. copper 8. buddha 9. opalstone 10. sequence

bespoke portland stone modern garden sculpture
wood contemporary garden wall sculpture
bespoke modern sculpture garden display wall

1 bay

small patio garden

This small Battersea patio forms a 25-square-metre rectangle, yet contains a multitude of thoughtfully placed artworks compiled by our client. Organising this collection in such a confined space required innovative garden design solutions, amid a minimalist ambience. To create more room, we designed and built a trio of vertical bays inset into the extended boundary wall, while further sculpture is displayed in a fish pond and across patio surfaces. The outdoor gallery flows intimately into the house, where a matrix of indoor art is featured throughout the residence, alongside a highly bespoke garden.

2 wood

This courtyard garden on the Dorset coast displays a myriad of sculptural plants in a warm south-facing aspect. With the courtyard designed as an outdoor gallery, and the client's penchant for eclectic artefacts, we placed sculpture behind the arched bay which frames the back elevation. The architect client accumulated an anthology of maritime objects, ornaments and personal objets d'art, reminiscent of local seaside folklore – extending our initial courtyard garden ideas.

3 stone

chelsea roof terrace

For the top penthouse at Kings Chelsea, we commissioned an artist to carve an original sculpture, utilising reclaimed Portland stone. With the carving 1-metre tall, a plinth equal in height forms human scale, which balances the artwork, and produces a memorable focal point. The material's natural hues reflect and amplify light in this north-facing rooftop, as the Hug sculpture radiates mellow ambience.

4 plinth

rooftop landscape

For this awe-inspiring rooftop panorama of St Paul's, we sought a unique focal point amid an up-close cathedral vista. The sculptor, Elliott Brotherton, infused hints of nearby St James's Church steeple, creating a one-off piece to expand the client's extensive interior art collection. Having designed a minimalist sequence of indoor and roof terrace planters, we constructed a bespoke plinth to exhibit Elliott's sinuous artwork. The two-tiered structure features integrated lighting, irrigation and a low Box hedge, where the balance between Portland stone, textured foliage and slate-grey hues defines compositional equilibrium among maroon-tinted rendered walls.

modern sculpture plinth with portland stone sculpture
modern sculpture garden design london
modern bronze urban courtyard garden sculpture

5 bronze

urban courtyard

The slender bronze sculpture in this small Fulham garden infuses graceful elements, and contrasts the curved aquamarine pots, lush foliage and smooth rendered walls. Subtle downlighting, integrated into Cedar cladding, generates delicate silhouettes, projected onto the decking and tiled patio. The material's warm tones form distinct elegance in front of a brighter backdrop, where this courtyard duo entwines in auburn hues, amid a cosily verdant setting.

6 ethnic

mediterranean garden

In this sun-filled Islington courtyard garden, a small, opalescent African sculpture forms a dual focal point. The ethnic piece's intricate profile infuses contrast by an ochre rendered wall, while leading the eye towards tall Palm trees, enhancing sense of space. The sculpture demarcates the vista into the house, defined by Cedar linearity and variegated Yucca foliage, producing a warm stone afterglow.

7 copper

terrace garden design

This Wapping rooftop is situated within an urban turning above the Thames, where we commissioned the contemporary artist Julian Wild to design a small sculpture, and provide a focal point in the spirit of the area. Crafted from recycled copper tubing, the object's globularity generates a see-through industrial quality by a square purple wall. We added LED rooftop lighting, buff sandstone and white pebbles to the raised, powder-coated platform – producing a centrepiece visible from both the apartment's interior and the terrace's vantage points.

8 buddha

modern penthouse terrace

Our client in the centre of Shoreditch is an avid contemporary art collector, returning from the Far East with an inspiring anthology of terracotta artefacts. A serene Buddha found its new home enveloped by tall topiary vases, in a composition which augments the terrace's cultural repertoire. We designed a granite and hardwood plinth to match the interior's surfaces, where the sculpture floats in peace above an LED light within a contemporary vignette. With a colossal open-plan living room leading out to an elongated roof terrace, we improved scale by integrating sizeable custom-made planters.

large terracotta garden buddha modern terrace
urban round copper tube sculpture london roof terrace
curvy garden sculpture opal stone jungly roof terrace

9 opalstone

The north-facing roof terrace outside the living room of this Butlers Wharf penthouse faces Tower Bridge. In contrast, the lower outdoor space forms a shaded, lush tropical garden atrium, featuring large-leaved plant species within a humid microclimate which sustains a thriving, luxuriant soft landscape. We included an intimate piece of art to create an interplay of scale among Tasmanian Tree ferns. The opal stone blends into Bamboo and Hosta foliage, contrasting the crimson Leopard plants in colour, yet mimicking their silhouettes.

10 sequence

small town garden

Placing modern art in a garden forms an intuitive design process. For a garden designer, sculpture is planned as an inherent element of the layout, before a project is built, and for landscape gardens to fully reciprocate with sculpture, time is essential, while materials mellow and tree canopies broaden and merge. Sculptural centrepieces weave curiosity within an artistic sequence, providing engaging vistas, where a visual narrative is connectedly extended when sculpture is hidden or camouflaged, only revealed at the end of a journey rather than as a standout focal point. The range of emotions we evoke is vast, from pensiveness while studying the silhouette of a sculpture floating subdued in a still lake, to elation when gawking at a playful statue concealed behind a tree trunk.

modern figurative large outdoor sculpture london garden
abstract modern sculpture garden london
small elegant courtyard stone sculpture in a custom built niche

– coda –

Cultural Diversity

Personally, I adore wood sculptures, although many aren't conducive to outdoor displays. I collect carved timber blocks of various ethnic origins, always amazed at the skill and patience required to produce a perfectly carved Buddha – yet in my detail designs, I prefer abstract contemporary motifs. One thing's for sure, outdoor sculpture defines an intrinsic, observative and culturally diverse process, integral to all aspects of contemporary landscape design, their artistry and muse.