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Accessorize the garden for beauty and personality


Photo By: Courtesy of Julie Orr
Photo Courtesy Of Julie Orr Plants act as ideal focal points in the garden. This Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’ and antique birdbath give the yard depth and personality.

Accessories are important to any outfit. Choosing the right scarf, belt, tie, hat or jewelry can add that certain panache and personality to our daily attire. The same is true for our gardens.

Garden accessories come in all sizes, shapes and styles. Obvious garden accessories include furniture, fountains, arbors and containers. But creating a garden accessory is limited only by your imagination.

Accessories are wonderful when used as focal points. A simple, brightly colored ceramic container set at the end of a pathway adds architectural interest and draws your eye to the garden.

Collections can also create a focal point. I recently saw a group of antique watering cans displayed on a patio wall. The wall created a beautiful frame and unified the various styles and colors.

How do you get started? First, think about a location where a focal point or two would enhance your garden. Second, determine the style of your home. Does it have a Mediterranean feel, a modern bent or an eclectic style? Third, take inventory of what you already have that you can incorporate in the garden. Is there a collection of antique tools rusting in your garage? Pull them out and arrange them on a fence panel or use them to create a structure in the garden. I once saw an arbor constructed from rakes and shovels form a wonderful home for a climbing rose. Finally, consider what you like to see in a garden. Art? Sculpture? What hobbies do you have that could be expressed in the garden? Bird-watching is a natural for accessorizing. Fountains or a simple birdbath nestled between roses are obvious additions for a birder’s garden, and birdhouses come in every shape and size. Start a collection of houses and group them around the garden as focal points.

When thinking of accessorizing, remember the adage “Think outside the box.” Old window frames, backed with a mirror and tucked in a corner of the garden, not only reflect light, but also add mystery and depth to the garden view. Hang lanterns and candelabras from exposed branches or a pergola to bring the eye up from the garden floor. The new battery-powered candles are a natural in these situations.

Specimen plants are ideal as focal points, and variegated and colored leaves create interest and dimension. A tall Sempervirens ‘Tiny Towers’ planted in low-growing shrubs or a twisted, silver Cedrus atlantica glauca surrounded by Pittosporum variegata creates drama for the eye.

Finding accessories can be as easy as exploring your own home or browsing at the local nurseries. For the truly adventurous, try the Alameda Flea Market, scheduled the first Sunday of every month. It’s a treasure trove of art and collectibles for every taste. Another great source for garden ornaments is your local thrift shop. I recently found two iron wall sconces that now adorn a small garden patio.

Accessories can add a sense of mystery and wonder to a garden, so explore and find that treasure you’ll enjoy for years to come.

Julie Orr is a landscape designer and member of the Association of Professional Landscape Designers. For more information, call 468-8020 or visit www.julieorrdesign.com.

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