Just as putting plants in your yard requires a little bit of thought, so does installing a sculpture in your landscape.

Whether you already have a piece of outdoor art or think you'd like to add one to your garden, there are some things you have to consider.

The style of your garden, for one thing.

"It matters in a comprehensive sense," says Chris Jeffrey, a landscape architect with LJ Design & Consulting. "You wouldn't necessary take a classical piece of art and put it in the middle of desert type plants."

Most people have overall cultural or thematic tastes, Jeffrey says, so it's likely there won't be a clash between what they like in plants and art.

For instance, folks who like bright Mexican-style art will usually already have a vibrantly hued garden, she says. People drawn to Oriental gardens usually enjoy the simple art that goes with it.

She counsels clients to pick out an art piece first. "Make the garden work around it," she says. "Art is so personal. You have less flexibility in a piece of art. Plants move, evolve."

Don't be afraid to move plants around or install a new look to match the art, she advises.

Don't know what kind of art to buy? Use your house's architecture as a guide, says Stephen Kimble. He's a sculptor and the owner of Metal Arts Village.

Since Kimble customizes metal pieces for clients, he also likes to consider the specific spot that will hold the sculpture. You can do the same when deciding what to put there.

Is there morning light or evening light? What's the scenery behind the space that might clash with the art piece? What's the size of the space?

"You don't want a piece that will overpower the space, but not get lost in the space either," he says.

Jeffrey offers these other tips about placing a sculpture in the garden:

• Put it where you can see it from a comfortable vantage point.

• Keep it away from irrigation or other water sources that can cause the piece to erode or become damaged from hard water stains.

• Make sure plants aren't overpowering the view if that's what you want. On the other hand, tucking a small sculpture of an animal in a partial hiding place creates whimsy.

• A showcase art piece may do well separated from the plants, such as high on a pedestal or on a hardscape.

• To make a sculpture more a part of the plantscape, place pots or plants in a stair-step fashion around it to guide the eye from the ground to the art piece.

Contact Tucson freelance writer at acoba@dakotacom.net.