Garden Ornaments for The WOW factor

Hours and hours of back-breaking, blister-inducing, sweat-covered work have finally culminated in the garden that you have always dreamed about. The garden structures are completed, the plants are melding beautifully and the piece d’resistance (a tacky $29.95 concrete garden ornament) is in place.

Whoa! Roll back the video…Is this another B-grade horror movie?

Unfortunately not. It seems to happen more often than not as gardeners succumb to making bad choices on garden ornaments.

Consider choosing a garden sculpture or ornament the same way a painter considers a frame. Or, with the same creative eye that a chef uses to garnish an extraordinary meal. These professionals would never choose ‘tacky’.

It appears to me that gardeners choose garden ornaments based on a few selective criteria; price, purchasing convenience, and fads. Yet, all three have nothing to do with gardening. Even less they don’t take into account your specific garden and how you can enhance it to give it the WOW factor.

So here are the criteria I use to choose garden ornaments for my garden;

    • Originality – The question I ask myself is, “Will someone point to my garden ornaments and say, ‘Did you pick them up at Bunnings?'” Of course you can’t stop the person completely devoid of any gardening acumen asking this question but most gardeners should be able to spot that it’s an original piece.And, by ‘original’ I don’t mean expensive one-offs that were hand-sculptured by Alexandros of Antioch.

      Originality usually means a garden ornament that you won’t find in every second backyard. It needs to show that I’ve really thought about this ornament and it enhances my garden more with it than without it.

    • Continues the story… Let me give an example here to better explain this point. One of my ‘garden rooms’ is planted entirely with Australian natives – correas, grevilleas, banksias etc. If I were to put a concrete garden ornament in the shape of a lion amidst my wattles this would look completely stupid. Why? Because the last time a lion was seen hiding in Australian flora was when the last one escaped from the circus.It goes without saying. If you have a japanese garden then use japanese garden ornaments – and I don’t mean that they’re made in Japan.

      Find garden ornaments that continue the story that you’re trying to portray based on your landscaping features and plantings.

    • Made from materials that continue the story… Not all garden ornaments are made alike. If most of your garden has been landscaped using wrought iron or rusting copper then using a concrete urn may border on the sublime.For the same reason, if you’ve landscaped a Mediterranean garden with terracotta everything, then using a sculpture constructed from aluminum or stainless steel is going to look a little out of place.

      Try using garden ornaments made from materials that fit in with their surroundings. This will make them less obvious and they won’t stand out like the proverbial ‘pimple on a naked bum’.

Obviously price is still an important factor and you wouldn’t pay a fortune for one if it’s likely to be vandalised or broken by your children. Many of our garden ornaments have been sourced for free or quite inexpensively because we’ve taken the time to look around or be creative.

Your garden ornaments could be the special thing that creates the WOW factor or they could let the side down and make your garden look cheap and tacky. Choose wisely. is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Additionally, we participates in various other affiliate programs, and we sometimes get a commission through purchases made through our links.