Although I think plant material should be the focus in any garden, decorative objects can contribute to the garden’s mood and add interest and colour.
But what decorative objects are suitable for display in a garden?
A couple of large objects such as willow chairs, large implement wheels, old wooden wheelbarrows, large concrete birdbaths and large rocks will command attention and be obvious focal points.
Large items must be in scale with the rest of the garden and suit its mood. A willow chair is more suited to an informal garden, while a Grecian statue is a better fit for a formal space.
Small items with a common theme can contribute to the mood of the garden, but too many such objects are apt to create a cluttered look.
Decorative objects, particularly the smaller ones, might look best tucked in among the plants so that they are not initially obvious and are discovered individually as they peek out from under the leaves.
A dreary spot where nothing seems to grow, such as under a large spruce tree or in a shady back corner of the garden, will benefit from the addition of a brightly coloured object.
A cobalt blue chair, a sparkling gazing ball or a brightly coloured ceramic figurine will create a bright focal point in an otherwise nondescript location.
A large ceramic container overflowing with colourful plants might also serve this purpose.
Unity will be achieved if all the objects in any one area of the garden have something in common, whether it is the theme or the material from which they are made.
For example, a grouping of smaller objects might all be bird figurines or the objects might all be made of wood.
Many landscapes contain xeriscaped areas covered with river rock or bark chips. A couple of large decorative containers of plants will add colour and interest to such a space. Alternatively, a couple of large rocks or two or three larger pieces of driftwood might be all that is needed.
The simplicity of the arrangement is more striking than it would be if cluttered with a lot of additional small objects.
Decorative objects also can also fill empty spaces in the garden. I often add a rock or other decorative object between plants where there is an unusually large empty space, perhaps because a plant has died.
These objects can be easily re-moved during the growing season if plant material does fill the gap. They can then be placed elsewhere or stored away until needed again.
Of course, sometimes we gardeners like to have a bit of fun with our gardens and add an item or two just to elicit a chuckle from visitors. There is nothing wrong with that: gardening should be fun, after all, or why do it?