Like most American men, I possess little inherent awareness of the finer aesthetics in life (insofar as they extend beyond imported brews, leather Outdoor Lighting Nashville recliners and large screen LCD technology; three very fine things made all the finer when combined).  So I was at a complete loss when my editor asked me to write about – of all things – Garden Décor.

To my own defense, I will say that I am not totally unqualified to write this article, however. I might not understand or possess the requisite talent for Landscape Lighting Nashville picking the perfect yard sculpture or wall sconce which would create that magical nook in my own garden, but I do recognize and appreciate the product of such talent when I see it. Well, usually. Okay, occasionally I am aware enough to see and feel it when others point it out to me. 

But no fear. I have asked my good friend and Nashville designer Marilyn Hill to give us (read: give to me to give to you) 5 principles to consider when selecting garden décor for your outdoor space. (Marilyn, I am indebted to you forever. Oh, and my editor says “hi”, too.)

1. Scale. According to Marilyn, there is nothing worse than too big or too small. Sizing up a space is the first step to choosing decorative items for an outdoor space. Large, uninterrupted blank exterior walls? You’ll need something large to break it up, like a large cedar planter or trellis. Grouping items with decreasingly smaller scale can help to fill a space and create inviting visual appeal. An example of this might be a corner of the patio on which is placed a large trellis with climbing, flowering vines. In front of the trellis could go a wicker chaise lounge, next to which a smaller side table is placed, and upon the table, a small wrought iron candle lamp or bonsai plant. The scale of each of these items is purposefully considered to make it work well.

2. Balance.  Balance is attained when all of the elements of a decorative plan work together to become something bigger than the sum of its parts. The art of balance is making sure that no one decorative item overshadows, competes or trumps any other item in an ensemble. It is sometimes appropriate to choose an item as a focal point (we will discuss this later) but all of the other choices must be in support of that choice.

3. Rhythm. In design, rhythm is a term used to describe the frequency with which an item or a pattern repeats or displays. The best way to describe this is by using real garden décor examples, such as a string of patio lights, the pickets in a fence, the stripes on a patio cushion, or the pattern in a brick or stone sidewalk. Using an item to add rhythm can provide a backdrop against which other, more melodic elements can find their place to shine.

4. Harmony. Similar to balance, harmony is a synergistic term that describes what should happen when contrasting items are grouped together. Contrasting colors, shapes and textures must be able to play off one another, work together and give more to the scene than any one of them could do alone. Notice that the word “contrast” comes up when talking about Harmony. Contrary to what some might think, it is not sameness and homogeneity that produces harmony, but rather differences and contrasts, visual tension and range.