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Sculpture garden colours agreed

At a very productive site meeting on Monday, guided by the comments given during our consultation event, the final selection of colours for the KX mini sculpture garden were agreed. (We’ve had problems with what to call it! Greenwall, living sculpture, vertical garden… well now it’s a mini sculpture garden which I think sums it up…!)

Colours are much more difficult than I thought to choose… they change with the light, some are warm some cold, some almost glow in sunlight whilst others recede. In the words of Neil our artist, some colours are dark yet light!!! Getting the colours right has been the hardest decision we’ve had to make so far…

Why colours?

The sculpture will be made from mild steel. Originally we wanted to use corten steel as used for many of Neil’s mentor, Sir Antony Caro’s sculptures. However, our budget won’t run to that… Neil came up with the perfect answer though… a robust paint process over the cheaper mild steel. Using several layers, this process creates a perfectly smooth and vivid finish similar to that of a car, except our colours will all have a matt finish.

In making our choices, first we had to consider what the sculpture actually does: it provides a home for plants. Any colours that camouflage or take attention away from the plants were a no no. Then, the light… the site faces west so the colours have to work in both full shade and full sun as the day progresses and the sun passes overhead. Being appropriate to the site is essential, the sculpture must enhance the area and be livable with.

Approximately Prussian blue

I was really happy that Prussian blue was chosen for the inside sections of the sculpture. Being an avid garden programme watcher I know how much TV garden designer Diarmuid Gavin emphasises the importance of using blue in our gardens as it reacts extremely well against our northern hemisphere quality of light and gives plants a fantastic backdrop against which greens really shine.

90GY 27/082DH Drab

For the outside, colours which exactly match the Georgian terrace houses opposite were selected. This will unify the street, giving a lovely sense of shared open space. Two muted greens were chosen you can see these on the walls of numbers 31 and 33 Wharfdale Road.

30YY 47/145

Finally, one colour was chosen to pick out the slightly protruding parts of the wall itself. It’s a muted stone colour (less creamy than it looks here) and again, will exactly match the colour palette used opposite on the wall of 29 Wharfdale Road.

The colours here are all approximations as it’s impossible to recreate them exactly on screen.

Final bits and pieces

Colours chosen, we then finalised the last elements of the sculpture:

  • Each pod will be fitted with a hidden removable planter. This decreases the weight of soil needed and protects the sculpture itself.
  • Drainage flows from pod to pod and then out through the foundation of the sculpture.
  • Each planter will be irrigated below soil level to decrease the amount of water needed whilst getting that water directly to plant roots.
  • The two top pods will house non-self clinging climbing plants. An irregular trellis of steel wire will force the climbers up the inside of the sculpture ‘arms’. Over time they will cascade almost fountain like between the two arms of the sculpture.
  • Behind the trellis in the arms of the sculpture will be fitted a series of hooks so that we can fit various nesting boxes to encourage birds.
  • In the very top of the two arms of the sculpture we will fit hidden wooden bat hotels complete with internal perches for them to cling to. Bats prefer their homes at a great height so these will hopefully be attractive to them.
  • The base of the sculpture will be made from cast concrete and the edges sealed to prevent any unwanted seeds setting and weeds growing up in difficult to reach places.
  • Solar powered subtle spotlights will be fitted into each pod to act as up-lighters through the planting.

There’s still a little time for you to give us any comments on this project you’d like. We are aiming to get our planning application into the council by the end of next week (fingers crossed!).