by Jessica Gezon
Beautiful landscaping integrates the house and garden into a home, allowing you to relax outside day and night. The right garden decor blurs the distinction between indoor and outdoor living with functional and decorative elements. At Overstock.com, your online store for savings on garden decor, you'll find a wonderful selection of garden design products to match your needs and personality. This buying guide includes some basic information on major categories of garden decor to help you make educated buying decisions.
Planters: Extend your garden onto your patio with outdoor planters. Using planters for decoration is a great way to add greenery to the patio or balcony, especially for apartment dwellers. Planter styles include stands and hanging baskets for one plant and multi-shelved stands to hold many garden plants. Outdoor planters are made of the same durable materials as outdoor furniture, so they're designed to survive the elements. Cedar, bamboo and iron are all popular materials known for their resistance to mold and mildew. Rustic flower planters made of cedar add color to the yard, and many are large enough to hold a mini vegetable garden. Decorative iron and mosaic planters are elegant enough for indoor use and can sometimes double as small patio tables.
Bird feeders: Enhance your bird-watching experience with bird feeders. Bird feeders come in a variety of sizes and styles. Choose several bird feeders to attract multiple birds and put them out in early spring before the migrating birds arrive. Early placement entices the birds to visit your yard throughout the seasons. Large feeders need fewer refills, but smaller feeders attract small song birds and deter larger birds from dominating the feeding station. Be sure to place pedestal and ground-based bird feeders at least 8 feet from bushes where predators may lurk; this gives birds room for escape in case the neighbor's cat is hungry.
Fountains and birdbaths: Outdoor fountains add the relaxing sounds of running water to any setting. Fountains range in size from tabletop rock designs to large pieces of public art. Outdoor fountains help create a sense of privacy by masking traffic and other noises. When choosing an outdoor fountain, first consider the size and how it will fit into your garden decor. Most yards will accommodate a larger pedestal fountain while a smaller fountain will create a focal point in a flower garden. Be aware of how much water noise you want; the water noise increases with the length of the waterfall. Birds are attracted to the sound of running water, and many birdbaths are fountains as well. If you want to attract birds but don't want the sound of running water, choose a bowl-like standing water birdbath. This will allow birds to frolic and clean themselves without subjecting you to constant noise.
Decorative garden accents: Here's the chance to add personality to your garden design. From truly classical, as in Greek goddess garden statues, to American suburban, think pink plastic flamingos, garden art features a boundless sense of style. Colorful balls on stands, garden gnomes and wind spinners are all great choices for adding color or a touch of whimsy to a yard of any size.
Fireplaces: Most outdoor fireplaces are basically portable fire pits -- a large bowl set on sturdy legs. A patio fireplace extends the outdoor entertaining season by letting guests enjoy cool evenings under the stars. Outdoor fireplaces burn wood or charcoal, and some feature grilling grates. The average outdoor fireplace includes a spark-arrestor screen in the lid, an important safety feature. If you prefer a more elegant design, look for patio tables with small built-in fire pits.
Grills: Grilling on the patio is an American tradition! Outdoor grills are available in two basic configurations: gas and charcoal. Charcoal-powered grills are classic, and food cooked over charcoal posses a unique flavor. Gas-fueled grills use propane or natural gas. Natural gas grills cost more initially, but propane refills are needed less frequently than new charcoal briquettes. Some homes have a natural gas line built into the deck; if that's not the case at your house, choose an outdoor grill that uses propane or charcoal. Today's outdoor grills offer great features, including rotisseries and smokers. Choose a portable grill for a small area, tabletop cooking or tailgating. Due to size restrictions, many portable grills use charcoal as their fuel.