Speaking with Accents

When considering lawn decorations, it’s probably most constructive to start off negatively. Here’s what lawn decorations aren’t: a means of impressing the neighbors and passersby, and a way to get on the news. Despite their static nature, lawn decorations are closer to representing a journey than to forming a destination. Like every journey, this one is taken step by step.

Photo by E.B. Boatner

It’s an easy step to forget, but lawn decoration begins with—wait for it—the lawn. Decorating a lawn that looks like Godzilla’s Brillo Pad is a little like Picasso indulging his Blue Period on a subway wall. Before you apply your version of tints and shades to your future masterpiece, make sure you’re blotting on a decent canvas. That means feeding, watering, mowing, and deweeding the grass. Decorations are meant to catalyze your lawn’s look, not distract from it.

So, what’s the look you’re going for? With your own decorations, you are sending a message about your home and yourself—what are you going to say?

Perhaps thinking in terms of opposites is the best place to start. When you see pink flamingos, for instance, what do you “hear?” Do you “hear” violins refraining Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, or banjos banging out the theme from Deliverance? Remember this lesson as you apply your own aesthetic sense to the yard.

In this economy, it’s tempting to go cheap on this stuff. If that’s your priority, the options are manifold, but Lavender’s crack team of ergonomicists agrees that such chintziness is a dread and shortsighted mistake, if for no other reason than this: Your yard is an artwork that’s always on display, day or night, to anyone who wants to look. So, think in the long term, choosing lawn decorations that are durable and of high quality. A careful shopper will find that these are not necessarily the most expensive accessories.

Just like the capricious art of fashion accessorizing, lawn decoration is subject to trends. Currently—mercifully—the artful is winning out over the tacky within this particular arena. In our time-obsessed era, sundials and gazing balls, intended in the past to record the present and the future, have come into current favor.

Statuary manifests in a menagerie of forms, with ducks, geese, frogs, and turtles enjoying particular grace this summer. And where grace is concerned, angels are also very popular, so much so that they run the risk of becoming the next lawn decoration cliché. Until that happens, they are a viable option, one that comes in several flavors: beatific, cherubic, and coupled, among others.

Bigger than anything within the…ahem…lawn decoration field is the megatrend of “going green.” The news positively drips with the doings of green buildings, green cars, green energy, green politics, green thumbs, and greenhorns. Today, caring about this whole environment hoopla has become as fashionable as caring about Africa was in the mid-1980s. Channeling the ancient Greek elements is a common theme, as demonstrated by windmills and water fountains, a favorite among the Aves community.

But that stuff, frankly, is reserved for green poseurs. True greenaholics open their Gore-esque minds to broader possibilities where the concept lawn decoration is concerned. That is to say, new flowers, shrubs, trees, and other plants can add the same sort of yard-oriented pizzazz as their artificial cousins, becoming decorations unto themselves.

While the aesthetic benefits are obvious—not to mention nice-smelling—this beauty comes with a price, one of high maintenance—kind of like Lindsay Lohan. Whatever rules apply to lawns also govern these chlorophyll-filled lawn decorations: feeding, watering, and deweeding are absolute necessities—although, come to think of it, here’s one place where you can skip the mowing.

Once you’ve settled on which decorations to dispatch, their placement becomes a challenge unto itself. Indeed, the “where” of lawn decoration is as important as the “what.”

Rather than spreading your yard-oriented accessories like peanut butter on a giant slice of bread, concentrate on a focal point—i.e., features that already are part of your personal landscape. These include driveways, sidewalks, fences, mailboxes, and pools (not the inflatable kind). Depending on the constitution of the local paperboy, you might consider the front door a focal point, as well. The distribution of your lawn decorations requires all the planning skill of Wile E. Coyote. Just steer clear of packages from the Acme Company…particularly if they’re ticking.

Lawn decorations aren’t about shrubs, fences, angels, flamingos, or getting on the news—not really. They’re all about you. This art form is about the extension of you that you choose to present to the outside world. So, make sure you show the world your best side.

If you do it right, the news people will show up anyway.

Lavender Magazine

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