How to Decorate Your Garden with Large Structures

Even a small garden will benefit from some sort of decorative structure, whether it be a tiny summerhouse that doubles in winter as a storage room, or a pretty arch framing an entrance.

Classical statues are generally more suited to grand formal gardens than family gardens, although clever positioning can vastly improve the appearance of it mass-produced statuette. Reconstituted stone or cement lions, for example, given a few coats of natural yoghurt or liquid manure to speed up the ageing process and concealed in the midst of a leafy border can look quite dramatic.

Not many people can stretch to a piece of original sculpture for the garden, but you can elevate found objects, such as an interestingly shaped piece of driftwood, stone or shell, into pieces of art by placing them on a home-made brick or sawn timber plinth, chimney pot or upturned length of clay pipe.

Choose your setting carefully. The intersection of two pathways, the end of a series of arches or a backdrop of a dark dense hedge will show off your chosen object to the full.

garden decoration How to Decorate Your Garden with Large Structures

Old garden implements, such as a rusted roller or old-fashioned wheel barrow make exceedingly good decorative features. The rule is that nothing must look contrived, however contrived it may actually be.

Sundials are pretty features that children adore. As they follow the changing shadows on the dial they will not only chart the progress of the sun across the sky, but learn to tell the time.

An effective way to liven up a border is to add vertical interest with obelisks made either of trellis or metalwork. It is a relatively simple matter to make an obelisk from four uprights and pieces of trellis, topped with a finial; however metal ones are also available in flat packs, with pieces which easily slot together. Train some colourful climbers up your obelisk and you have a smart focal point.

Transform a simple seat into a place of beauty and calm by surrounding it with a bower. Or provide welcome shade from the sun by erecting a beamed wooden arbour over a patio and using it as an attractive support upon which to train scented climbers and vines. Construct a pergola and smother it with roses and honeysuckle and you will not be able to resist wandering through it, breathing in the delicious fragrances.

A piece of topiary is always eve-catching. Experiment with simple shapes, such as balls and domes, before attempting anything more complicated such as a spiral or an animal. It is very easy to clip a pyramid shape with the help of a frame or to create a piece of false topiary. Any dense shrub such as holly, yew, box, viburnum, or sweet bay lonicera is ideal to work with.

Summerhouses and gazebos are more serious structures, yet need not be ruinously expensive. Carefully placed, painted or colour-stained and clothed with clematis and jasmine, the humblest prefabricated building becomes irresistibly romantic.

These are features for all the family to use. For adults a gazebo or summerhouse makes the most perfect spot for relaxing with afternoon tea or an evening drink, and children will treat it as a rather exotic and grand playhouse.

For a truly original feature let your imagination run riot and create a grotto. This is an excellent project for all the family, as even the littlest child can make a contribution to its decoration. Choose your darkest corner and build a rough brick or stone semicircular wall. Fit a wall mask fountain (a gargoyle s head would be ideal) then give the wall a coating of cement and call in the family to dress it up by pressing shells, coloured pebbles and pieces of mosaics into the wet cement. Plant dark green ivy to climb over the grotto and surround it with a selection of ferns.


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