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Accessorize Your Yard with Lawn Ornaments and Statues

by Brett Freeman, All About Lawns Columnist

Lawn decorations have come a long way since those once-ubiquitous pink flamingos began to appear on suburban lawns in the late 1950s. The plastic animals from mail-order catalogs that once formed the bulk of the lawn decoration market have given way to an incredible variety of lawn ornaments and statues, and an ever-broadening notion of what can be used to accessorize your yard.

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The purpose of such decorations has evolved over time as well. While putting a flamingo out by the mailbox was once a way to fit in with the neighbors, lawn ornaments and statues now have become a way to set your yard apart from those around it. Choosing the right decorations can help to truly make your lawn your own.

The Latest Lawn Decoration Trends

Over the past decade, gazing balls have established themselves as the new pink flamingo among lawn ornaments. The metallic-hued spheres, which can be displayed with or without stands, have much in common with their plastic predecessors: they are blatantly artificial-looking, they seemingly appeared out of nowhere, and they quickly established themselves as a "must-have" in mainstream America. They also provoke a similar reaction: people either love them or hate them.

Garden gnomes, which tend to have cyclical popularity, have returned to vogue in recent years. Animal lawn statues, bird baths, and fountains also remain popular. Functional items that are not strictly ornamental, such as benches and planters, have also long been popular as lawn decorations.

Making It Personal

Choosing exactly what to buy can be challenging given the numerous options available. Before you decide, you should ask yourself exactly what you want the end result to be.  Do you want your yard to attract birds? If so, bird feeders and a birdbath are an obvious choice. Do you like to relax to the sound of flowing water? Install a fountain. If you're not sure what you might like, check out the lawn decorations at your local home improvement or home and garden store and see what catches your eye.

Of course, you needn't be limited by what retailers are offering. Yard sales, estate sales, and house wrecking yards are great sources for non-traditional lawn ornaments. Objects that recall the past can offer a nice touch to your yard. An aging wooden wheelbarrow, for example, can make an excellent planter. Antique gardening tools look right at home in planting beds. Even items that were designed for very different purposes can be used to great effect, including lobster pots, retired railroad signals, and old wooden street signs.

Placing Your Lawn Statues and Ornaments

Placement of lawn statues and ornaments will often be determined by the size of the object. Smaller lawn statues or planters should play a complementary role. A good rule of thumb is to find a location where they'll be noticed, but only as part of a larger whole. Garden gnomes look much more at home in a flower bed, for example, than in the middle of your lawn.

Larger objects such as bird baths and fountains can also be incorporated into planting beds, or they can stand alone. If you decide to put something large such as a fountain by itself, consider setting it on a bed of river rock or gravel instead of directly on the grass. This can help the fountain stand out visually, as well as prevent it from sinking into the ground.

As you look for new lawn decorations for your yard, keep one thing in mind: if you enjoy looking at it, then it must belong.


About the Author
Brett Freeman is a freelance journalist. He also owns a landscaping and irrigation company in North Carolina. Previously he has worked as a beat reporter, a teacher, and for a home improvement company, and he used to own a bar/live music venue.

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