Hello fellow gardeners, are we lucky to be living in Southern California or what? The weather has just been incredible. One tip (off topic here): many lawns go dormant in the winter, don’t need to water them, maybe once a week, with no rain, I recommend watering at least once a week for most plants, especially those in pots, exception – succulents and cactus – water even less.
Now on to the topic of this week – objects and ornamentation. What exactly am I referring to here? All your plants are called “softscape,” while pools, patios, walkways, and patio covers are “hardscape,” everything else is “ornamentation.”
For example, a birdbath would be considered ornamentation, and I recommend choosing carefully. Not only is your ornamentation part of the overall design and garden, but most of them stick out, that is to say, quite often they are also a focal point in the garden.
When you are choosing ornamentation or “objects d’art” you want to keep in mind the overall feel and style of your garden, assuming there is one. For example, in a Japanese-themed garden, ornamentation might be very simple for this style with a few lanterns strategically placed and possibly a low bridge running across a dry creek bed; wind chimes made of bamboo, and a simple, large bird bath made to look like a boulder, close to the ground, possibly a seated statue of Buddha tucked into a shady alcove surrounded by plants. This type of ornamentation is tasteful and compliments the garden design itself, rather than detracts from it.
Avoid, like the plague, those cheap garden ornaments that you see at many nursery centers of the big box stores – you know the kind, spinning whirligigs, plastic gnomes, pink flamingos, frogs, birds and other critters made of resin and gaudily painted, etc. Those will only detract from your garden.
What your ornamentation does is make a statement about your garden and ultimately about you. I consider ornamentation, and this can also include patio furniture, the exclamation point at the end of a sentence, or the icing on the cake. It’s not essential but it helps pull the entire garden design together.
Just as we considered materials when we designed our garden to blend with our house, so should we consider this when decorating the garden. Let me give you an example, let’s say the trim on my house is an azure blue – maybe I have a peach stucco house – now what I want to do with the ornamentation is play up the blue trim a little and the way I will do that is by using some large pots, various sizes and styles perhaps, with or without plants in them, that is the same color or close to it.
These pots – I personally would probably use them for succulents – will take the color theme from the house and spread it into the garden, thereby connecting the two even further. It’s perfectly acceptable and looks quite nice to put a large visible pot in the garden border or bed.
Try one, just keep it simple. Even a contrasting pot looks interesting. Just make sure it’s a very nice one, because it will become a focal point, especially if it’s a different color.
You might have several plants in the garden that have red or yellow in them, try adding a large sized pot, in a similar color, maybe a little lighter, with a simple plant in it. You can run a drip line to the pot, or if it’s a cactus or succulent, you’ll only need to water it every couple of weeks anyway.
If your garden doesn’t have a certain theme to it, that’s perfectly alright, try to find objects to embellish the garden, such as a nice concrete birdbath placed in the center of an herb garden perhaps. Birdhouses are always welcome additions. You can even paint them to match your own home.
Anything that draws the eye is considered a focal point and as such, should be well made. Too much “bric a brac”, as inside the home, looks just plain cluttered. I like to place a well made teak bench near the front door of my house, it draws the eye, and yet it is tasteful, blends well, serves a purpose, and is a nice addition to the front entry.
Boulders can even be ornamentation; they need to be placed well and should be of a type that looks right in your garden. Large potted plants are definitely ornamentation; consider the pot as much as the plant. Your fencing and gates can also be part of the ornamentation. You can paint them colors or keep them neutral, you can use wood, steel, wrought iron, etc. I had a gate at my house when I first moved to Temecula. My husband had carved three hearts into it in a
crescent shape, which follow the shape of the top of the gate as well. It was so beautiful that two other people in the neighborhood copied it exactly!
If I can be of any service, call or email me. I’m available for consultations and design work.
Unique Landscape Designs