The Inner Gardener

Inner City Gardening for the Soul

Garden Features and Ornamentation 21/06/2012

When incorporating  features and ornamentation into your garden, there a couple of things to remember to assist you to achieve the right ‘look’ for your space:

Try to use a feature that suits the style of your garden and house and complements them.  For example, if you have an informal native garden and wish to add a water feature, keep it simple and rustic, rather than ornate and formal, which would stick out like the proverbial.

  1. A formal house and garden with features to suit. The 3 square pots provide a complimentary contrast to the 3 circular windows. Victoria.

    This ornate sun dial fits perfectly into a rose garden in Germany.

    Think about the scale of the feature.  It needs to be in proportion to its surroundings so that the whole picture looks balanced.  A tiny statue placed at the back of a long garden is likely to get lost and not provide the visual impact you desire.  That’s not to say that going the other way, over-scaling and object doesn’t look right. If done with consideration, an over-scaled feature in a smaller space can provide a real WOW factor – just make sure you only have one of them! Restraint is important in a small space. One over-scaled piece can often look much better and cleaner than lots of little pieces which can confuse the eye.

  2. This urn provides a focal point at the end of a path and is the perfect size in relation to its surroundings. A smaller pot would not have looked ‘right’. Mt Macedon, Victoria.

 Placement of the feature is important. Where you want people to look is where you place a feature or an ornament. If you want to create a focal point in a garden them you might place a suitably scaled statue at the end of a major sight -line or axis. If you want the eye to be drawn a way from an unattractive view beyond your boundary, then place the object at a low level.

Think about the setting of the feature. It should be integrated into its surroundings so it doesn’t appear to have been ‘plonked’ in a spot where it looks awkward. Sitting a stunning sculpture against a dull paling fence might not do the piece justice, whereas something as simple as growing a glossy green-leafed climber on the fence or planting a green hedge in front of it provides the perfect backdrop.  While the view of the feature should remain unimpeded, that doesn’t mean that nothing can be planted in front of (low growing) or around it so that it appears integrated into it’s surrounds and the view of the feature takes on a new depth.

These 2 white features stand out agains the green grass, drawing the eye immediately to them. Karl Forsters garden, Potsdam, Germany.

This water bowl has been integrated into the garden through the use of foliage in front of and around it. Tree trunks act as a frame and the grey fence with green climber provide a suitable backdrop. Melbourne, Australia.

Here, a tree is used as a natural feature and the elements in its surroundings are designed to compliment rather than  detract from its form. Geoffrey Bawa’s garden, Sri Lanka.

The boundaries of the garden are also subject to the same considerations, as they are often the first thing people see when they visit. A smart gate or front fence that suit the house and garden can be a feature in themselves.

This lovely gate suits the rose covered cottage behind. Belgium.

The rustic ‘hand made’ look of this fence matches beautifully with the cottage garden behind. France.

An elegant fence around an elegant home. Austria.

Let’s not overlook a little  folly in the garden. A bit of fun and amusement from the features we use  to adorn the garden. Note that these still follow the rules of style, scale and placement.