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Driving through any neighborhood with flowers inspires all manner of thoughts. Some gardens add windsocks, others have statuary, and others still have wind chimes, sundials, and gazing balls. How on earth does one begin to choose garden ornamentation that not only looks good and endures weather, but also expresses something about your home or garden?

Well, before you run out to the nearest home and garden supply store, know that you can save a lot of money by perusing yard sales, second hand stores, and flea markets. I can attest from first hand experience that just wandering around such stores will inspire all kinds of thoughts . and DO take a really long, slow walk! Eventually you’ll notice that you’re drawn to a particular theme again and again. Once that’s isolated, return to those bargains that really “hit” that theme in shape, form, color, etc.

In the buyer beware arena, look at the finish of each item. How much extra care does it require (gardens already take time, so try to find low-maintenance items that allow you to simply enjoy that space rather than constantly labor in it). In general, stone décor require the least amount of on-going touch up and care. Resin is also a good choice. On the other hand, some items in glass, wood, bamboo etc. may not only need treatment, but might need to be put away during Fall clean up efforts to protect them from weather.

Ah, but don’t purchase ALL of them. Remember a garden’s function is still to enjoy nature. Rather think of these additions as the knick-knacks of gardening. A touch here and there, well-placed and pondered, will tie the whole space together without overwhelming your plants and landscaping efforts. Additionally, not everything needs to be obvious. Let people be surprised and amused as they happen upon those little touches that aren’t visible from farther away. In this manner you encourage people to play in the garden space, and experience it more fully.

Two tips can help you achieve your décor goals. Smaller items are best placed toward the front of the garden where they don’t simply get lost in leaves and ground cover. Taller items can go toward the back or at the end of a garden path where they act as a way-station that naturally draws a visitor’s eye. Beyond this, as you’re putting things into the greenery stop regularly, step back and LOOK. Let your eyes guide you!

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