Almost any gardener will confess that once the plants are planted, the flowers start to bloom and the vegetable garden starts to produce, the gardener's thoughts turn to how to decorate the garden. Fortunately, there is no shortage of garden accessories or ways to dress up your garden and the surrounding area.
Statuary doesn't have to be life-size human figures made of marble like the Greeks and Romans had. Today's garden statues are much more whimsical and versatile. They can be made of stone, ceramic, plastic resin, wood or yes, marble. A good rule of thumb when decorating your garden, depending on its size and scope, is to use one or two large statues and several smaller ones. A reflective glass garden globe set on a pedestal is an example of a large statue. A small figurine of a frog or rabbit--less than a foot high--is an example of a small statue. The reflective glass globe should be featured at the end of a path or between two garden beds to reflect the flowers and foliage. Small figurines should be tucked in among flowers or vegetables to surprise visitors to the garden.
No longer exclusive to those who can afford large estates and the staff to care for them, garden fountains can now be fashioned out of nearly any container that can hold water. There are many miniature pumping systems available, which are contained within the fountain itself. No additional plumbing is needed. Simply place the pump in the bottom watertight portion of the fountain, and fill it with water. Add decorative gravel, then add additional tiers on top of the watertight bottom. Thread the hose for the pump through the containers' bottom holes. The water fills the top container, which then overflows filling the ones beneath it. The pump in the bottom pumps the water back up to the top and so on.
Decorative Pots and Containers
Gardeners use decorative pots and containers made of everything from expensive ceramic or pottery large enough for an adult to bathe in, to recycled cast-offs such as whiskey barrels, bushel baskets, old trash cans or even old claw-foot bathtubs. Smaller cast-offs such as cracked antique crockery or warped wooden salad bowls are also used to grow plants. Use a variety of all sizes of containers both on the ground and hanging from structures in your garden or from shepherd's hooks inserted securely into the ground. Go a step farther and coordinate the plants with the container. Plant wildflowers in a recycled bathtub, roses or other old-fashioned perennials in a discarded stoneware crock for an English cottage garden effect, or a stately miniature tree in a more formal ceramic or pottery container.
Pathways and Mulch
Don't overlook the ground when decorating your garden. The materials with which you pave your garden pathways and mulch your growing beds will contribute to the overall décor and feeling of your garden. Pathways of brick or concrete create a more formal feeling, especially if the garden beds are mulched with white rocks or well-manicured, uniformly sized wood chips. A more casual feeling can be achieved with pathways paved with grass or rough-hewn wood chips. Carry the casual feeling into your growing beds by mulching them with straw, hay or shredded autumn leaves.