Look the work of at different artists who have focused on gardens as a theme - Gustav Klimt, Howard Hodgkin, Emile Nolde, Claude Monet, Odilon Redon, Georgia O'Keefe and Elizabeth Blackadder are some you might choose. How have they used different media? Which qualities in the work do the children like the most and why? What mood does the work convey? Collect resources about gardens from different places, including postcards and photographs. Encourage the children to make notes in their sketchbooks using these resources to inform their own image making.

Give the children an opportunity to explore soft and oil pastels to make a range of marks that describe colours, shapes, lines, patterns and textures. Use this mark-making to develop ways in which they can describe different plants, trees and flowers. Develop this further by using the visual information that they have collected in their sketchbooks to design their own garden in pastels. Provide a range of papers of different textures, colours and sizes. Encourage the children to mask off a border around their work with strips of newspaper to create a frame.

Discuss the children's work and make a display of their drawings and sketchbooks together to show the process of their developing ideas. The children can develop their ideas further into large scale paintings. They may choose to enlarge small parts of their drawings to make into an abstract painting. Alternatively, they can use their drawings from the sketchbooks to develop ideas in printmaking using simple block prints made out of card or pressprint. Look at the work of William Morris or Islamic Art to help the children focus carefully on pattern and shape.

  • Visit a local garden or park.
  • Collect a range of resources about gardens including library books. Take a look at the unit 'garden design: parterres and knot gardens'.
  • The first part of this unit asks children to investigate gardens in their sketchbooks, making visual notes of colours, shapes, lines, patterns and textures. Ideas about helping children to focus on these visual elements are explored in other units. For example, look at 'marks and textures', 'colour collections', 'colour mixing with pastels', 'collecting and recording natural patterns', 'drawing shapes by looking' and 'drawing lines'.

More ideas about art connections:

  • Have you thought about how different gardens can be, from places where people meet and mingle such as Edouard Manet's, 'Music at the Tuileries Garden' (1862, National Gallery, London) to personal plots of land at home such as Camille Pissarro's, 'Kitchen Garden and Trees in Blossom, Pontoise' (c.1872, Musée d'Orsay, Paris) and John Constable's, 'Golding Constable's Flower Garden' (1815, Ipswich Museum, Suffolk) to Claude Monet's superb Japanese garden at his home, 'Spring in Giverny' (c.1905) and different cultural interpretations such as Anonymous Mughal Artist, 'Rustam in a Garden' (c.1565, Victoria and Albert Museum, London). How about the humble window box, or from the viewpoint of an animal (hedgehog in a heap of garden rubbish)?

Local gardens, sketchbooks, drawing media (especially) pastels, paper, reproductions of artists' work.