Lawn Décor Tips: How To Use Lawn Ornaments Effectively

lawn ornament
Image by merrilyanne

By Mary H. Dyer, Master Naturalist and Master Gardener

Wisely placed lawn ornaments in the landscape can create a sense of elegance and warmth, and a few gnomes or cute animals may delight and amuse visitors and passersby. However, as tempting as it may be to grab lawn ornaments and garden art so plentiful and inexpensive at garden centers these days, the effect may be the exact opposite of the one you are hoping for.

If you don’t want your neighbors to cringe in embarrassment, take time to learn some basic design elements for using lawn ornaments and garden art with style and grace. Read on for helpful lawn décor tips.

How to Use Lawn Ornaments


Everybody has a different idea about how to use lawn ornaments in the landscape, but the most important factor is that lawn ornaments and garden art should enhance your life and bring you joy. Don’t feel constrained about what this year’s garden magazines say you should be doing.

However, if you’re out of ideas, a few very basic lawn décor tips for using lawn ornaments may simplify the process. One cardinal rule: Have fun, but keep it simple. Too much garden art can definitely be too much of a good thing.

Lawn Décor Tips

Types of ornaments – Nearly anything can become a lawn ornament. For example, consider a bird bath surrounded by shrubbery where songbirds can seek shelter. Add a bubbler and plant fuchsia or other hummingbird-friendly plants and you’ll attract hordes of little acrobats all summer. If you like a rustic look, old farm equipment strategically placed amidst hollyhocks or other old-fashioned flowers can be absolutely charming. A large boulder may be just the thing for adding texture to a natural garden (or for hiding unsightly areas).

Placement – Walk through your garden and think carefully about placement. You may want to move your lawn ornament from place to place to determine where it is displayed to best advantage. Consider who will view your garden art. Do you want it in front where everybody can appreciate it, or in the backyard for the enjoyment of friends and family? Consider using garden art as focal points to accentuate attractive areas.

Forgotten spots – Consider placing lawn art in a forgotten spot. For example, a dark, moist area where nothing will grow may be the ideal site for a woodland sprite or a colorful mushroom.

Style and color – Select garden art that accentuates the color and style of your home. Also, use art that fits the general theme of your garden. For example, you probably won’t want to use pink flamingos in a formal garden – or arty, modern sculptures in an old-fashioned cottage garden.

Proportion – Size really does matter. Small pieces look out of place in a large landscape, and large sculpture are overpowering in a small space.

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