Choosing the right ornament to add charm to garden or yard

From garden centres to grocery stores it is possible to purchase ornaments for the garden. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with the price also varying from a few dollars to thousands.

From garden centres to grocery stores it is possible to purchase ornaments for the garden. They come in all sorts of shapes and sizes with the price also varying from a few dollars to thousands.

Plastic ornaments are inexpensive and last for a few years until they fade or break down in the sunlight. A short life span means that the garden ornaments will change every few years. Plastic ornaments are light and. Plastic will last longer if it is stored inside during the cold months.

Heavier resin ornaments outlast their plastic counterparts. An occasional quick coat of paint will rejuvenate the ornament extending its life for years. Resin is tough and can add interest to the landscape all year.

Cement, a heavy, traditional material also has the ability to last for years. If left out all seasons it will slowly break down as they age, giving the garden an older feel.

Ornaments that are made out of metal are as good as their metal, finish and welds. Ornaments that are cast in one piece will outlast ones that are welded together. Aluminum ornaments will be light and movable while cast iron will be much heavier and will rust where the finish is compromised. If left unfinished, copper will develop a green patina.

Ornaments can either blend into the garden and be noticed after one takes in the rest of the garden or be a focal point. In either case the garden and ornament should complement each other and not overwhelm the other. It becomes a problem if all the colour and shape comes from ornaments with the garden shape and design being a secondary consideration.

Placement of ornaments is important. Like all things in the garden, ornaments must have a purpose. A bridge must span an area that shouldn’t be walked on. As most yards do not contain a wet area or stream, bridges are usually placed over dry stream beds.

Birdbaths are very common and should be placed in an area where the birds are comfortable. They need to be able to detect predators while still having a high perch within a quick flight. Keep the birdbath full of water or the birds will find another stopping place.

Large statuary will lead the eye to one area and become the focal point in a garden. It can be set apart from plants or seem to be part of a planting.

Smaller accents are often tucked into away and become jewels to be discovered when exploring the garden for the second or third time.

Gates should be functional as well as decorative. They are attached to fences or a planting and used to keep others in or out. An attractive gate can entice people to go through to find out what is on the other side.

Birdfeeders are very functional but they can also be decorative. Choose one that fits into your garden. A twig feeder will fit well into a rustic garden but would look out of place in a formal one.

Garden ornaments or accents, like house accents, should reflect the owner’s taste and add to the overall garden.

Linda Tomlinson is a horticulturalist and educator that lives near Rocky Mountain House. She can be reached at your_garden@hotmail.com