Decorating Your Garden

By Gretchen Nelson

A garden is not just plants—it’s a place for relaxing and enjoying the outdoors. Using whimsical garden décor can transform your garden with little to no effort. There are three approaches to decorating your garden:  purchase items; create your own artwork; do both. If you decide to purchase art for your garden, it makes sense to buy objects that have been recycled from something else. Many artists in Sonoma County work with reclaimed materials. When you buy their artwork, you are supporting the local economy and you have unique art. You are also helping the environment by reducing the trash sent to landfills and reducing the need for mining for brand new raw materials.

You can create your own art with materials and objects that can be found everywhere. There’s nothing that can’t be used, and the more weathered, the better. Look around your house and you might be surprised what you’ll find. Don’t take those wonderful old, rusty keepsakes to the garbage dump—use them in your garden. Metals such as iron and steel are great materials to use in creating garden sculptures because they hold up well for many years in the elements. Go to your local landfill or drive around the day before garbage pickup day. Decorating Your Garden - Food for Thought Antiques - Sonoma County, CA

Another great source is antique stores. Food For Thought Antiques has a large outdoor area filled with treasures that are perfect for creating garden art such as rusty farm relics, wooden crates, clay pots, window frames, shutters, and metal tools. It also has stone sculptures, fountains, whimsical metal animals, and unique fiberglass sculptures that are ready to be placed in your garden.

Some suggestions for creating art from recycled items include:

  • Create a garden room by putting old shutters against a fence or a walled in area. You can also use an antique metal bed frame. Drape sheers over it for a dramatic look.
  • Make a garden statue by stacking and gluing old clay pots at odd angles. You can then plant in them or leave them as is to collect rainwater for the animals.
  • Twist pieces of metal into shapes or just stand them up and let them become abstract sculptures.
  • Place an old wheelbarrow in your garden and plant flowers in or around it.
  • Glue a pretty teacup and saucer to a wooden spindle to make a bird feeder.

Before you start decorating your garden, find a focal point around which to build your ideas. It can be your furniture, your lighting, a fire pit, or whatever you choose. You can also decorate according to a particular theme such as country or shabby chic. You can use items that are similar in color or items that have something in common, like kitchen gadgets. There are no rules and no limits to what you can do.

Decorating Your Garden - Food for Thought Antiques - Sonoma County, CABe sure to think about where to place your art. Some features, such as fountains, will be permanently sited;

others can be played with indefinitely and moved around from spot to spot to keep the garden fresh. Be creative and don’t clutter. Combine garden art with other garden elements such as plants, furnishings, walks and walls. Relax and have fun making your garden comfortable and inviting. With a little imagination and effort, you can design a very inviting space where you will enjoy spending time alone or with your family and friends.


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