Mosaic Obelisk Garden Sculpture

Lyn Richards has been making a series of mosaic obelisks for installation as garden sculptures, each with a completely different design.

Like her Irises mosaic birdbath, Lyn’s garden obelisks are tightly executed.

Power of Series

Working in a series is an efficient way to gain skill in any art medium because you get several attempts at something and can leverage what you learned on the previous attempt.

This is especially true in mosaic, if every member of the series is the same size.



Lyn commissioned a carpenter to build the obelisks from 1/2-inch tile backer board. The dimensions are of the obelisks are 48 inches tall, and 24 inches wide at the base, and 12 inches wide at the bend near the tip.

Lyn used thinset mortar to mount the tiles and stained glass pieces onto the backerboard. Once covered in mosaic, the sculptures were grouted and then sealed with 2 coats of a 20-year oil-based sealer.

Lyn says she got almost of all her tile for these obelisks from Mosaic Art Supply

Garden Installation

These obelisks were made to sit on a platform of some kind and not directly on the ground, even if that platform is as simple as concrete stepping stone or a few bricks.

The reason is simple: Soil is source of moisture and it is corrosive due to minerals and decaying organic matter.

I recommend a simple plinth of a few stacked cement pavers for mosaic sculptures in gardens so that they are slightly elevated and not hidden by flowers and other vegetation.


Asian Mosaic Obelisk

Lyn has an Asian-themed concrete pagoda and pedestal in her garden, and so she created a design for an obelisk that would resonate with those elements.

As Lyn explained:

“Each side is a different Japanese character that I googled, enlarged, then cut out and traced onto the backerboard.

The characters are Joy, Peace, Happiness, Beauty.’

“There is an initial for each symbol in the top circle (in case the reader doesn’t know Japanese, and hasn’t committed the characters to memory).

“The design is one I made up, using Chinese colors and design.”


The classic Chinese color scheme of red and black and gold and jade was a perfect choice for this obelisk.

mosaic-obelisk-van-gogh-irises copy
mosaic-obelisk-van-gogh-irises copy

Van Gogh Irises

The mosaic obelisk shown in the above photo reflects Lyn’s affinity for irises and Van Gogh. It is very well done. It borrows without copying, and I love that the sun has it’s own strong design, not Van Gogh but not incompatible. I also love that the sun is oversized.

mosaic-obelisk-spirals copy
mosaic-obelisk-spirals copy


This mosaic obelisk’s design is a colorful abstract design of spirals, which lends itself naturally to the type of concentric contoured andamento that I am fond of.


Lyn recorded video of all three mosaic obelisks:






5 responses to “Mosaic Obelisk Garden Sculpture”

  1. Eric Moore Avatar
    Eric Moore

    Like these obelisks Lyn has created. Congratulations Lyn & thank you for sharing these. These are something l would like to construct for my garden which is currently being re-established.

  2. Siona Avatar

    Absolute stunners!

  3. Claudia Avatar

    Beautiful Pieces!

  4. Joan Gummels Avatar
    Joan Gummels

    These are beautiful! I’d like to make something similar for friends. What holds the backer board sides together? Thanks!

    1. Joe Moorman Avatar
      Joe Moorman

      Probably thinset mortar, and there is probably a plywood structure inside the backer board.

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