Garden ornaments are a great way of creating interest, and if properly placed, they will draw attention and can be effective in establishing the composition of the overall garden theme.
Ornaments can be used in the garden in a similar fashion to how they are utilised in the house interior. They can create the tone of a garden from fun and lighthearted to moody and serious, classic or modern, depending on the ornaments chosen.
The size of the ornaments you choose will dictate to some degree their number and placement in the garden. Large ornaments can be overwhelming in a small garden. Simplicity is the key to effective use of ornaments - too many, and the garden will appear cluttered and compete for attention.
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Whatever pieces you choose for the garden, place them in different locations before deciding on a permanent position. Ornaments should be used as focal points and the simple exchange of one ornament for another over the seasons reduces the predictability of the garden and can create seasonal interest. The main consideration is to ensure that only a couple of ornaments are visible at any one time. Place them among your plants to create an element of surprise or around a corner so that they form part of the journey of discovery in the garden and provide that finishing touch.
Sundials are a traditional garden ornament and most gardeners would prefer them to be functional but they can be just as effective simply as an ornament. The key to their placement is to choose a sunny position. The whole concept of a sundial will be lost if they are placed in shade. Select a position around noon on a sunny day and align the gnomon to give the appropriate reading, this is not going to be exact and will not allow for seasonal variation but the purpose in the home garden is more for effect than accuracy.
Sculptures, abstract ornaments, human and animal figures are always popular and if placed cleverly among the plants, can be very effective. Even walls can be made interesting with plaques, which are best displayed surrounded by the foliage of a climber that frames the ornament as the focal point.
There really are no steadfast rules when it comes to selecting ornaments for the garden, simply select them because you like them but don't use too many ornaments, as the garden will appear cluttered. Aim for simplicity and surprise.