The Best Garden Ornaments, Accessories & Decorations

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Once your landscaping is done, adding garden accessories completes the look and feel of any yard. Simple décor pieces like lanterns, pots, lamps and fountains add character and purpose to each area of your property, and increase the appeal and function of your outdoor space. From fire pits to drapery, design your backyard with these great accessories.

Lighting: The right fixture in the right spot can shed the perfect light on backyard parties, outdoor dinners or peaceful garden rest areas. Select the appropriate lighting for each part of your yard, incorporating style as much as function. 

  • String lights work well in fun, festive areas of your yard, and provide low to moderate lighting, depending on the size of each bulb and the length of the string. Be sure to buy a model that clearly states they are outdoor compatible, as rain can damage or destroy indoor string lights.
  • Lanterns are a great addition to outdoor dining areas, walkways, pool areas and gardens. Whether they're used with flameless or regular candles, enclosed lanterns provide moderate, safe lighting and are less dangerous than open flames. Lanterns add a classic, old-fashion feeling to any outdoor space, but can also be purchased in sleek, modern designs, making them appropriate for any style of yard.
  • Flameless candles are a beautiful way to softly light outdoor dining tables and rest areas. Whether used alone, or grouped in large quantities for a dramatic effect, flameless candles offer the soft flickering light of a real flame, without any of the danger.
  • Lamp posts are a long term, effective and secure way to light nearly any area of your garden or yard. Install a lamp post anywhere you would like to be permanently well lit, like open play areas, sport courts, pool areas and walkways.
  • Path lights are both functional and beautiful, creating a well lit walkway while adding style. Install small, in-ground lights around every path, walkway or staircase in your yard so friends and family can always see where they are walking and avoid possible injury. Solar-powered pathway lights absorb energy from the sun during the day, which is then used to power the light at night, making these path lights both energy and economically efficient.
  • (For more information on outdoor lighting, see Beautiful Outdoor Lighting Options.)
Ready for Planting Lantern Finished Product Birdbath and Pots

Décor: Once landscaping and furniture has been completed and arranged, adding simple outdoor décor pieces gives a personalized touch to any garden area. Whether you're looking for fun and family-friendly, elegant and sophisticated or quirky and whimsical, garden décor expresses your personality and adds an element of style.

  • Pots aren't always for plants. In Mediterranean or water wise gardens, scatter antique and vintage pots in a variety of sizes around your yard to create the old world feel of an Italian or Greek garden. While you can fill them with plants, pots work just as well for decoration. Just be sure to choose colors and styles that best fit the theme of your yard.
  • Birdbaths are a classic addition to any garden, and offer a less expensive option to motorized fountains. Place a birdbath anywhere you'd like the sound of birds in the morning and evening, while avoiding vegetable gardens or eating areas, so as not to bother dining guests, or lose vegetables and other plants to hungry birds.
  • Fountains instantly create the air of elegance in any yard, and bring the tranquil sound of running water. Available in many sizes and price ranges, fountains should be scaled to the appropriate size and style of your garden. For smaller areas, choose a shorter, sensibly styled fountain for a comfortable yet stylish addition. In larger yards, taller and more elaborately detailed fountains create elegance and drama, without appearing overwhelming.

Heating and Fire: Whether it's a single candle or a large fire pit, the allure of sitting around a warm flame is undeniable. Use safe, stylish heating and fire accessories to create a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing space in your garden.

  • Fire pits easily become the most frequented area of a yard, and are a great installation for garden rest areas, pool areas and backyard bars. Typically available as tables or basins, fire pits come in a wide range of styles, from the simplicity of a modern metallic table, to the drama of a slate mosaic cauldron. Fuel options for fire pits include wood, propane and gel, depending on the style of pit. Gathering around the fire pit for drinks, s'mores or simply a relaxing conversation is one of the best ways to enjoy the benefits of decorating with garden accessories.
  • Torches are a pool area tradition, and instantly add a tropical, adventurous feel to your yard. They can also provide lighting for pathways, staircases and sitting areas. Use torches in locations where children or pets are unlikely to knock them over, and always remember to put them out when you go inside.
  • Candles remain one of the easiest ways to add the drama and appeal of flame to a backyard. Place a row of candles down an outdoor dining table, or small votives on end tables near adirondack chairs and chaise lounges. Like torches, be careful when using candles around children and pets, and always be sure to blow them out when you go inside.
  • Heaters create a comfortable environment for eating, relaxing and entertaining, even if the weather is cold. Place outdoor heaters around backyard couches, chairs and dining tables to keep guests warm on chilly nights.

Upholstery: Like any living area inside the house, outdoor dining rooms, entertainment areas and furniture require upholstery. Fabrics specifically designed for the outdoors allow even the most luxurious chairs, couches and rugs to be placed in the garden.

  • Drapes easily create shade, privacy and style when used on pool area cabanas, outdoor dining rooms and seating areas. Select a neutral color that compliments other fabrics in your backyard, and select the most weather resistant material within your budget.
  • Cushions and pillows make outdoor seating as comfortable as your living room couch, while still holding up to elements. Stain and water resistant fabrics make upholstering your patio and garden furniture easier than ever.
  • Rugs placed beneath dining tables, couches and seating areas add style and comfort to your garden. Weather resistant materials ensure outdoor rugs stand up to harsh winters, and look great while covering hard, cold stone or concrete surfaces.

The final step to designing any yard or garden is finding the perfect accessories. Create a warm, inviting space for friends to gather with fire pits, stay comfortable in the winter with outdoor heaters, and delicately light garden pathways with string lights, torches and lanterns. Pick the perfect garden ornaments for your yard, and start enjoying the great outdoors.

Last Updated: April 10, 2012
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About Alexandra Kerr Through Ideal Home Garden, Alexandra covers topics ranging from interior design to home improvement, gardening and cuisine. Having a passion for cooking and entertaining in her own life, she hopes to communicate her love of home design and decorating with her readers. 

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