Garden ornamentation has the power to transform an average or lovely garden into the spectacular when the placement, scale and the ornament itself has been carefully planned and beautifully executed (this sounds formidable but it isn’t really, it just means think before you purchase or act). In my own garden I have an eclectic mix of old stone urns, large garden finials, aged looking sculptures (thanks to my yogurt and moss seed mixture) and stone benches that create a true “outdoor room” effect that acts as an inspiring and beautiful stage setting for summer parties, family gatherings (eek) and as an extension of my home and myself.
Ornamentation can give a flavour of excitement, innovation, formality or comfort, depending upon your design. Objects, sculptures and other pieces work best in a garden if they are “permanent” in their placement. This consistency creates both visual interests in the winter months, as well as providing a stage for your summer entertaining, while allowing you to monitor your gardens constant evolution and flux.
Ornaments are particularly well suited to create a focal point in both a formal and informal garden setting. However, we all need to remember (myself included) that a garden can become overwhelmed by too many, or too large of an ornament. In an informal setting, you should integrate your ornaments with your plantings. This is achieved by matching colour tones, and by corresponding the size and density of an object to your planting. In a formal setting, ornamentation usually takes center stage. This focus on structure and art creates the formal settings beauty.
The magic of a well-placed ornament is its ability to help create the ambiance you desire in your garden. If you desire a formal setting, then the placement of a graceful stone sculpture or a pair of detailed Grecian urns will aid your design. In a Japanese style garden, a large simple stone lantern will create a stunning visual, while in an informal setting or English garden, a fleeting glimpse of an object is all you require. Be careful of using an eclectic blend of pieces, making sure to focus on creating unity in your ornaments style, color and usage.
I personally enjoy mixing both beautiful objects and “found” objects into my gardens. The sight of my plants intermixed with urns, sculptures, fountains, columns, obelisks and tutures, brings both pleasure and interest. Ornamentation is a completely personal matter. Be guided by the scale, inspiration and mood of your garden.
One significant (large) sculpture or architectural piece is usually enough for a very small garden. Centrally positioned, it will become your focal point (i.e. a large stone ornamental urn on a raised bed).
Smaller, “curiosity” pieces should be hidden throughout your garden to create a “surprise glimpse” effect.
Soften sculptural and architectural pieces by training vines, or growing moss on them.
by Robin De Groot