HomeOutdoor Living Blog32 Garden Feature and Ornament Ideas

32 Garden Feature and Ornament Ideas

March 13, 2023
A large back deck features built-in bench railing, a stone pathway, and polished landscaping for a beautiful garden.

Garden features range from overflowing flower gardens and stone statues to aquascapes with wildlife and chiming wind decor. They can enhance an atmosphere, support growth, and create a garden theme to be proud of. 

Looking to take your garden design to the next level? Explore these creative yard features to add spirit, color, and intention to improve your home and garden. 

In This Article:

Water features

The view from a deck shows a large backyard pond feature on the other side of the guardrail.

A sparkling pond or whispering waterfall make beautiful additions to any garden environment. Aquascapes require some upkeep with debris skimming and water maintenance, but even small features like a birdbath can add tranquility without the maintenance stress. 

Water features help balance the ecosystem and provide fresh water to local wildlife and plants. Moving water with streams and fountains can also provide a soothing white noise effect for the perfect place to unwind. 

There are plenty of water features with varying size and maintenance requirements to consider, including:

  • Fountains
  • Ponds
  • Birdbaths
  • Reflecting pools
  • Water gardens
  • Container gardens
  • Statue fountains
  • Streams
  • Waterfalls

Flowing fountains: water for your deck and patio

A poolside deck with umbrella-covered seating features waterfall spouts feeding into the pool.

Fountains are a simple way to integrate water into your landscaping with prefabricated options widely available. This means you don’t have to hire a contractor or aquatics specialist to enjoy the sounds of bubbling water in your yard. 

Standalone fountains are space efficient and relatively easy to install, but you can also choose to build a custom fountain in your backyard. These can be part of an existing pond or pool, built into the ground, or installed with rocks as part of your hardscaping. 

Cool greenery: Water gardens and koi ponds

A composite deck at sunset looks out over a sprawling back garden and pond.

All living things thrive with water access, and a water garden opens the opportunity to incorporate unique vegetation and wildlife into your design. Water gardens include the popular koi pond, as well as lesser-known features like bog gardens. 

These features are ideal for plants adapted to pond or lake life, like reeds and water lilies. They can also support koi fish and attract wild waterfowl and amphibians. You don’t have to install a large pond to enjoy the greenery, either. You can give water gardening a try before committing your backyard to it with patio container gardens made of barrels or prefabricated tubs. 

Structural garden features

A white pergola protects a patio and dining furniture with shrubs and flowers surrounding the space.

Beyond blooming flowers and crawling vines, gardens are part of your outdoor living space and benefit from a little structure. These features designate space to relax and socialize or wine and dine, and help direct the flow of your garden. Examples of structural features include:

  • Pergolas
  • Cabanas
  • Arches
  • Hedges
  • Pathways
  • Bridges
  • Patios
  • Pavilions
  • Fences

Support and flow: Arches and trellises

Garden structures can be integrated into your landscape design for a seamless, elevated backyard you’ll love to show off. Consider arches and trellises, which are classic garden features designed to support vining plants and flowers. 

A well-placed trellis isn’t just a design choice — it can provide privacy or direct the flow your space. Wide trellises can even create a wall to distinguish separate sections of your garden or hide less-desirable aspects of your property, like a utility shed or driveway. 

Outdoor living: Pergolas and cabanas

A pergola with lights and a ceiling fan provides shade for an outdoor seating area surrounded by palms, trees, and potted flowers.

Pergolas and cabanas are similar structures, designed to provide shade and designate outdoor living spaces. They can be relatively simple additions to your garden, though modern structures like the Pergola X offer benefits including motorized louvers and screens for extra protection. 

Directive structures: Pathways and hedges

If you really want to protect your garden and design a full experience for guests, intentional pathways are a must-have. Paving stones and sidewalks indicate a clear path between structures like decks and poolside cabanas while protecting delicate plants and your well-manicured lawn. 

Clearly marked pathways enhance safety and accessibility, and well-planned paths elevate a garden’s design. In addition to stepping stones, explore how hedges and vertical landscaping can support a path or feature. Consider installing them as a boundary between sections of your backyard or sculpting them into a mini hedge maze.

Ornaments and decorative yard ideas

A long dining table sites under a tree on a gravel patio, surrounded by landscaping, garden paths, and lights.

Garden ornaments range from the playful plastic lawn flamingo to elevated contemporary and organic copper sculptures. They follow their own trends and allow you to personalize your garden with art for the ultimate balance of outdoor living and nature. 

Ornaments can be purely decorative or serve an important purpose, like garden lights that increase visibility and ambiance. Here are some examples that may be a fit for your yard:

  • Statues 
  • Sculptures
  • Garden lights
  • Decorative planters
  • Pavers
  • Flower bed signs
  • Novelty ornaments
  • Wind chimes
  • Windmills
  • Wind spinners
  • Stonescaping
  • Furniture

Garden art: Statues and sculptures

Outdoor art accentuates your garden’s design or theme and adds visual interest with new textures and levels. Simple additions like the classic garden gnome speak to your personality, while custom sculptures like hammered metal spheres can play with light or color in a new way. 

Sculptures and art can even add function to your garden. Consider furniture like a stone bench with mosaic tiles to relax by a pond, or small sculptures that line a pathway. Additions like decorative windmills or brightly colored flags can also add a sensory element to your backyard experience. 

Soothing senses: Lights and sound

A wraparound deck features a water chain, built-in riser lights, and is covered in an evening sunset glow.

Sensory-stimulating decor can create a mood or emotional experience for your garden, including soothing water sounds or exciting party lights. Lean into the function of your space by planning how you can enhance the sights and sounds with lights and music. 

Warm, downcast lights make a space feel cozy and welcoming, so they’re great for dinner parties or long, relaxing summer evenings. Alternatively, bold pool lights and programmable LEDs can liven the space for barbecues and dance parties. 

Chimes are a backyard favorite, and come in a variety of styles and sounds. Alternatively, plug-in fountains and whooshing wind spinners emphasize the natural sounds of water and wind. You might even consider an outdoor sound system for your patio or under deck space

Garden features can support your landscaping, direct guests, and work together to create a wonderful backyard experience. It just takes some planning to coordinate what features will best suit your property and outdoor living goals. 

A welcoming deck is the hallmark of outdoor living and a nice first step to adding structure to your garden. Find a trusted professional to plan the perfect deck and backyard features for your home. 

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