When trying to complete the garden we often overlook the importance of decor. Maybe we’re a little uncomfortable and unsure of our decorating abilities or we focus on the soil, the plants and weeding and decorating the garden is neglected.

However, ornamentation in the garden can be a very powerful tool. By placing garden ornaments strategically, you can bring the eye up from the ground to view the space better. Decor can provide an element of surprise by hitting the eye as you round a corner.

Consider your overall garden design when placing ornaments. For instance, a more formal garden would look silly with a couple of pink flamingos as decoration, whereas an eclectic, funky garden would be an appropriate space for them. Natural stone decor and wood ornaments enliven and enhance green settings. Being materials from the earth they look natural outside.

Appropriate placement of an art object can create interest where there was none. I have a garden of mostly large hostas and have placed a metal sculpture at its entry to draw the eye to the garden. Otherwise those beautiful hostas may have been overlooked.

Placing an ornament at the intersection of paths in the center of the garden is a classic placement. Choose what you like to place there, similar to picking out a piece of jewelry.

If you’ve gone on a search for garden decor, you may have felt overwhelmed. Finding the right piece to accent the garden can make anyone indecisive. Remember, this isn’t rocket science. Don’t make it too difficult. Sure there’s a lot of really bad decor out there, but there are also plenty of nice pieces.

While it's nice to have an unlimited budget, money is not the issue here. Sometimes a homemade article, such as a scarecrow or gift that the kids made is perfect. It’s about what makes you feel good when you look at it.

That being said, ornaments in the garden are entirely your responsibility to ensure your taste is reflected. The garden style has already been established and adding decor may make you wonder what you’d like. That personality takes time to develop. As for myself, I tend to steer clear of cutesy and tend toward the more natural and earthy. For me it is appropriate in my woodsy garden.

Consider scale when selecting items. A tiny statue in a large garden gets lost in the space. Be brave when looking for pieces, if you need a four-foot-tall item, do not settle for something half the size. Get ideas from magazines or visit public gardens and adapt the decor to your own garden. Shopping at antique and gently-used stores can yield some nice pieces at a bargain price.

Water features with the sound of trickling water are irresistible in the garden. Listening to the water naturally makes us want to seek it out. Lighting also can add another dimension to the garden.

Garden decor should reflect your personality and taste as well as your home’s style. The most important concept is to make sure it's something you like and will enjoy looking at over the years.

These local garden articles will reach you each week throughout the gardening season, but also click on "Yard and Garden” at the University of Minnesota Extension website -- www.extension.umn.edu -- for gardening information, or visit our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/Beltramicountymastergardeners.

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