These gardens feature museum-worthy works that engage directly with the environment, inviting wonder and introspection. Here are three firms who crafted sculpture parks that deserve a closer look.
Explore these expansive gardens that are grounds for celebration
JAMES DOYLE DESIGN ASSOCIATES (JDDA) ADD WHIMSY TO THE OUTDOORS
It would seem that Mother Nature shouldn’t need much embellishment, but in his new book, Intersection of Nature and Art, landscape architect James Doyle makes a convincing case for using world-class sculpture to enhance outdoor environments. “Once you set the right piece in a meadow, it ends up making sense; the scale is correct, and it adds whimsy and artistry to the natural surroundings,” he says. For art connoisseur clients, outdoor sculpture gardens provide an opportunity to expand their collection and experience pieces while communing with nature. “Some homeowners may want these works front and center, while others will prefer them to be more of a surprise that’s discovered as the landscape gradually unfolds,” says Justin Quinn, partner at JDDA. At a historic estate outside Philadelphia, an Antony Gormley sculpture punctuates the expansive grounds. Whether situated to inspire public awe or private contemplation, an artfully placed sculpture has the power to beguile onlookers.
Photo by Neil Landino
ARTERRA LANDSCAPE ARCHITECTS CREATES DIALOGUE BETWEEN SPACES
While northern California vistas take pride of place in landscape architect Gretchen Whittier, of Arterra Landscape Architect’s, designs, even the most breathtaking scenery can need a little coaxing. “Sometimes you have to reshape the view, and we often use sculpture to accentuate the end of a vista or create a focal point,” she says. For a Napa Valley project, finding the right location for a monumental tree sculpture by Ai Weiwei required much deliberation. Whittier ultimately landed on the entry courtyard, where it serves as a crowning centerpiece. Placing art en plein air also helps to create a dialogue between interior and exterior spaces, visually extending the living area. “When you see a piece of sculpture through a window, and it feels like part of the decor, a beautiful connection is made.”
Photo by Cesar Rubio
MIRADOR GROUP USES ART TO CRAFT NARRATIVES
For architect Jerry Hooker, using sculpture in landscape design isn’t just about creating an aesthetically pleasing composition—it’s an opportunity to craft a personal narrative. A partner with Mirador Group, Hooker has used art to enhance the grounds of many projects, including the private roof terrace of a new condominium in Houston. Hooker created three separate garden “rooms” housing a sculpture that holds special meaning to the homeowner. Providing clients with such thoughtful landscapes encourages the kind of introspection one might experience in museums, a similarity not lost on Hooker. “Every single person will have a different interpretation,” Hooker says. “That’s the purpose of art.”