Art in the Garden - Ladder Art

Ladder by Allen Buckoff

Ladders are the perfect 'art form' for a garden ...they are a homage to garden husbandry and speak to us of trees, of wood, of utility and craftsmanship. And  they can be accessorized, as seen above and below!

Ladder by Allen Buckoff

Ladders can also be fashioned from tree logs as done by David Nash, aculptor, below . This is in a museum in Espoo, Finland. It almost looks anthropormorphic - like a giant 'walking stick' or something..

The most marvelous thing about a ladder is that is can be altered so that one end is more narrow than the other thus creating a forced perpective and  artificially diminishing the form to look as if it is longer than it is, traveling farther away from view. 

This one below by Martin Puryear was inspired by homemade ladders that he saw in the French countryside while he was working at Alexander Calder‚ Äôs studio, in 2003.  Puryear commented to Michael Auping:

“It just occurred to me that this would be an interesting project to try to do, to make a very tall or long ladder. For a long time I had been interested in working with a kind of artificial perspective through sculpture, which if you think about it is not so easy to do. With a ladder, a very long ladder, I could make a form that would appear to recede into space faster visually than it in fact does physically, by manipulating the perspective and exaggerating it by narrowing the parallel side pieces toward the top of the form.”
Of course, you can argue that a real ladder is much more preferable in a garden. The one shown below is a real apple picking ladder that, to me, is a piece of art as well.

Of course, there is nothing that says you can't paint a ladder some great color and have it placed strategically somewhere in your, below,  is an art piece called 'Jacobs Ladder' by Eddy Gabriel:

Then there are carved ladders, such as this Dogon Ladder (Christine Cloutier photo). These are carved from a tree and are considered an important part of the Dogon tribe's culture.....(they live in Mali, Africa).

A great ladder for a garden - for the aesthetic more than anything - is a Kiva Ladder....used to climb into a kiva in the Southwest... You can get this one from Grand River Supply.  Have fun!


  1. It's nice to see ladders used creatively - around here they're usually left in the yard by someone too lazy to put them away! I really love that Kiva ladder.

  2. Wish I had not junked our old wood ladder years ago--can't see our big aluminum ones as garden art.


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