Based on ideas, concept gardens are essentially spaces that combine sculpture and other forms of arts, materials and lights to create sensations in the visitor. In the extreme of concept gardens are those that completely ignore plants and only display man-made structures.
Influenced by art, rather than by gardening, conceptualist gardens emerged at the end of XX century. Most of concept gardens rely on man-made materials (concrete, rubber, glass, steel) for their character and impact.
Key elements in concept gardens
- Artificial surfaces: Man-made materials, usually very colorful emphasize a mood or spirit.
- Sculptures: abstract sculpture or sculptural objects are placed as part of the composition to enhance some kind of sensation;
- Abstract planting: Bold architectural specimens may feature and can be topiarized or grown in repetition, color massing or unlikely positions;
- Color: This could be the key element number one. Concept gardens make use of bright colors.
Concept garden planting can produce spectacular results emphasizing color, texture and movement. The best results are obtained when the personality of its owner or his history are somehow present in the concept.
In some cases, planting is irrelevant in concept gardens fueling the debate where the meaning of the garden is present or not.