Garden Art Guide

Everything you need to know about outdoor art,
from its curation to installation

Written by Meridith Moore  

Imagine a garden where nature’s beauty harmonizes with human creativity. A place where you can explore, contemplate, revel in whimsy or admire the tapestry of culture and nature. All of this is possible with thoughtfully curated pieces of garden art. Sculpture or sundial, bench or fountain, artwork enriches your outdoor space and invites you to engage in your surroundings in a more meaningful way.

I sat down with Jennifer Warren-Gash, exterior designer and resident art curator here at Mashamba, to create an all-encompassing guide to outdoor art. She explains the essentials from curation to installation to help you pick the best artwork to suit your style, space and budget. 

Step 1: Define Your Vision

When curating, the first thing I do is ask the client what they envision, the purpose of the art,” Jennifer explains. “For me, the artwork’s intention is the most important factor in determining the type of art and its location.”  

There are many ways art can enhance your outdoor space. It can be a focal point to draw the eye, an invitation that beckons you down a garden path or it could exist purely to evoke a sense of calm or adventure. 

To help clarify your vision, we’ve put together a list of questions that will guide you in choosing the perfect piece that aligns with both your aesthetic goals and practical needs.

  1. What is the primary purpose of adding art to my garden? Is it to create a focal point, enhance the aesthetic, add whimsy or provide a functional element?
  2. What style or theme do I want my garden to reflect? Do I prefer modern, classical, rustic, abstract or another style?
  3. What emotions or moods do I want the art to evoke?  Should the artwork create a feeling of serenity? Or be playful, inspiring, contemplative or energetic?
  4. How does the artwork fit into the existing landscape and design? Will the piece complement or contrast with the plants, structures and other garden elements?
  5. What size and scale of artwork will best suit my space? Do I need a large, commanding piece or smaller, subtle accents?
  6. Do I want the artwork to have a specific cultural, historical or personal significance? Should it reflect a particular heritage, tell a story or hold personal meaning? Should I consider sourcing from a local artist or having a sculpture made from a locally sourced stone?
  7. What is my long-term vision for the garden as a whole?  How will the artwork fit into my plans for the garden’s growth and any additional art purchases?

Step 2: Select Your Artwork

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the available possibilities and styles of art. But by answering the questions above and knowing the purpose, tone and size, you are halfway there. Jennifer recommends further narrowing your choice by selecting the type of artwork, the material and by setting a budget before searching for artists. 

“Once you have a clear idea of what you want and how much you want to spend, I suggest looking for artists both locally and further afield that suit your personal aesthetic. A broader search allows for a more diverse and enriching selection of art,” explains Jennifer.

Types of Artwork


Water feature

Wall art

Functional art

Ideal Materials

Materials need to withstand the Mediterranean’s extreme sun, wind, rain and temperature fluctuations. And Jennifer tells us, “Material choice is important not just in terms of durability, but because it sets the tone for the artwork and your garden.” Each material - whether it’s the timeless elegance of marble, the organic warmth of wood or the sleek modernity of stainless steel - offers its own unique benefits and aesthetic qualities. With more than a decade of experience, Jennifer has useful insight into the best materials for outdoor artwork. Here’s her recommendations of time-tested materials:


Stainless & Corten Steel

Marble & Other Stone




To determine your budget, you’ll need to consider factors like the artist, material and size. As an example, a smaller scale, limited-edition bronze sculpture can start around €15,000, but for extra-large pieces, materials like marble or commissions from famous artists, expect to pay upwards of €75,000. If you commission a custom piece, the artist may charge an additional fee for the design proposal. And besides the price of the artwork, the costs for transport, installation and maintenance also need to be considered.

Step 3: Make Your Purchase

Once you find an artist and concept that you truly love, it’s time to make your purchase. Jennifer tells us that it’s important to know that “Most garden artwork is not from stock, it’s a bespoke piece, created just for you. When you commission a piece of art, there’s a lot that is based on trust. Look for an artist that has a strong portfolio.” 

And commissioning the art is just the start of the process. Depending on your specific selection, you’ll get to choose elements like the material, finish and size. Throughout the process, your feedback and approval will be needed on samples, mockups and finishes. 

During this time, you’ll also need to arrange for shipping. Art pieces – especially large or delicate ones – need specialised packaging to prevent damage during transit. Custom crates, padding and protective waterproof coverings are essential to ensure safe delivery and to protect from moisture and temperature fluctuations. We recommend hiring professional art movers experienced in handling valuable and fragile items. And don’t forget to make sure your art is properly insured!

An in-demand artist, a time-intensive creation process and shipping can translate to a six month or more lead time, but in the end, you will have a custom piece of art that fits your requirements and aesthetic.

Step 4: Consider Lighting

In our garden and terrace designs, art is almost always paired with lighting. Well-designed lighting can transform your artwork, creating a stunning focal point and allowing you to enjoy it long after dark. Jennifer says, “I place lighting thoughtfully, so that the illumination highlights textures, shapes or colours and adds depth and dimension to both your art and garden.”

Types of Lighting and their effect:

Uplighting | Casts light upward to emphasize the height and stature of a piece.
Spotlighting | Focuses a beam directly on the artwork for a striking effect.
Soft Ambient Lighting | Creates a gentle glow around the artwork, integrating it seamlessly into the overall garden and lighting scheme.

Step 5: Prepare Site and Install

“The logistics of sourcing an outdoor art piece and having it installed can require a surprising amount of work,” Jennifer tells us. “And typically, the larger the piece, the more work required.” Proper project management is required to coordinate the details and timing of transporters, landscapers and contractors.

Elements to consider:

Access | Both roads and your property need to accommodate the width and height clearances of transport equipment. Special equipment like cranes, forklifts or dollies may be needed to move and place the artwork and you’ll need to make sure that there’s clear pathways across your property for their use.

Site Preparation | Leveling the site may involve digging, grading or filling to create a stable and even surface. 

Foundations & Supports | Depending on the size and weight of the artwork, you might need to build a concrete pad, stone base or other foundation. This provides stability and prevents the piece from shifting or sinking over time. For tall or heavy sculptures, anchoring points or footings will secure the artwork and prevent it from tipping over.

Utilities | If the artwork includes lighting or other electrical components, plan for the installation of power sources. This might involve running electrical lines and ensuring waterproof connections. For water features, ensure that there is an appropriate water supply, adequate pressure and a drainage system in place.

Step 6: Maintenance

Regular upkeep of your artwork is essential to prevent damage and preserve its integrity. While you yourself might not be maintaining the art – it’s often the responsibility of a house manager or gardener – it’s important to understand what’s required.

Cleaning | Regularly clean sculptures and other art pieces using appropriate methods for each material. For bronze and metal, use a mild soap and water solution to remove dirt and grime, followed by a soft cloth to dry. Stone and concrete pieces can be cleaned with water and a gentle brush. Avoid harsh chemicals that could damage surfaces.

Sealing | Apply protective sealants to porous materials like wood, stone and concrete to prevent weathering, moisture absorption and decay. Reseal wooden pieces annually or as recommended by the artist to maintain their protection against the elements.

Inspection | Conduct regular inspections to identify signs of wear and damage, such as cracks, rust or discoloration. Early detection allows for timely repairs, preventing further deterioration. Pay particular attention to joints and connections, ensuring they remain secure and intact.

Repair and Restoration | Address damage promptly. For metal pieces, remove rust and apply rust inhibitors. Repair cracks in stone and concrete with appropriate fillers or professional restoration services. Wooden sculptures may require sanding and refinishing to restore their appearance.

How Can We Help?

As this guide shows, adding art to your garden is more than just choosing a pretty piece to admire. It’s a process that requires thoughtful selection and planning. 

If you want to elevate your outdoor space but need help, Mashamba offers a full service offering that takes care of every detail, from art selection to managing the installation. 

Get in touch and let us inspire you with our portfolio. Our curated collection offers a diverse range of artistic expressions that complement any outdoor setting.

+34 663 471 772

“Art should be created for life, not for the museum.”