Lawn ornaments provide a tasteful and affordable means of decorating your yard, without having to plant elaborate hedges or make changes to the landscape. From timeless Greek sculptures to solar lights that form pathways through the night, the best lawn ornaments create an atmosphere that can transform your yard. Artful birdbaths, planters, and fountains intersect style and function.
Well-designed, durable lawn ornaments can last for years. Between ornaments that showcase your personality and elegant pieces that boost curb appeal, yard decor creates a memorable outdoor space.
Though lawn ornaments come down to personal preference, there are essential and objective factors to consider. Read on to learn about the elements of high-quality lawn ornaments and to find out how the following pieces can complement various landscapes.
- BEST OVERALL: Alpine Corporation 4-Tier Rock Water Fountain
- BEST SOLAR LIGHT: Homeimpro Garden Solar Lights Pathway Outdoor Moon
- BEST REFLECTIVE: zosenda Stainless Steel Gazing Ball, 6 Pcs
- BEST BIRD BATH: VIVOHOME 28 Inch Height Polyresin Antique Bird Bath
- BEST GARDEN STATUE: Chisheen Outdoor Garden Crane Metal Yard Art Statue
- BEST STATUE PLANTER: Distinctive Designs Female Statue Head Cement Planter
- BEST SMALL FOUNTAIN: Peaktop Glazed Pot Water Fountain
- BEST PLANT STAND: EMSCO Group Greek Column Statue
What to Consider When Choosing the Best Lawn Ornaments
Think of the type of ornaments that will best suit the outdoor space—these decorations can be attractively eye-catching or subtle, only seen when the viewer looks closely at the yard.
A good rule of thumb is to err on the side of caution to keep from creating a cluttered appearance. For example, one reflective gazing ball on a stone pedestal surrounded by shrubbery makes a pretty focal point.
In contrast, an assortment of garden flags surrounded by animal statues can result in an overstimulating and chaotic effect. Before buying, consider the type of ornament, its size, and what it’s made of, as well as the style and your preferred aesthetic.
An incredible number of yard ornaments are out there, so it’s wise to explore a variety of options before settling on one or two favorites. When looking for those finishing touches to the landscape, imagine how these popular types might enhance both form and function.
- Decorative planters: In one shape or another, planters top most DIY landscapers’ lists. A row of narrow planters can act as a border between the lawn and a perennial bed, while two large distinctive planters can frame either side of an entryway. Look for planters that will accent a space without overwhelming it. Self-watering planters help keep plants hydrated even in hot, dry weather.
- Stakes: Garden stakes can be delightful or whimsical decorations when tucked into small areas, such as next to a rose bush or inserted in a container full of blooms. From reflective orbs and mystical fairy figures to flora, fauna, and more, a collection of garden stakes can easily clutter the space. Select them thoughtfully, and use them sparingly, especially if your lawn contains a sizable garden or furniture.
- Statues and sculptures: Often used as a central visual point, statues can set the tone for the rest of the garden or landscape. Many feature angels, children, or ancient figures (think Greek and Roman). These figures may evoke a sense of beauty from another era, while others resemble delightful woodland creatures or domestic pets. Statues usually reflect the owner’s sense of style and follow a theme or evoke emotion.
- Gazing balls: These reflective or translucent orbs come in various colors and sizes and many sit atop a column or a stake, drawing the eye and providing a hypnotic appeal. Grouping gazing balls together can draw the eye and create a featured design element. This ornament type is often textured and multicolored or features a sleek metallic tone.
- Solar lights: In the past decade, solar lights have grown in popularity and dropped in price, providing an affordable means of infusing life into nighttime landscapes. Use them to enhance a flower bed border, shine a spotlight upward into a tree, or draw attention to a rock garden. Moon lights, floral themes, and pathway lights are particularly stunning.
- Water features: There’s something dreamy about moving water, and the soft, melodic trickle of a fountain is at the top of many a landscaper’s wish list. Fountains usually serve as central visual points, particularly around stone patios, walkways, or greenery. This type of ornament has an especially captivating and artful look when incorporated into sculptures and vases.
- Birdbaths: More than just an ornament, birdbaths serve the vital purpose of providing water for songbirds to drink or to bathe in. For the best results, place a birdbath far enough away from trees, fences, and trellises to give visiting birds a bit of protection from predatory felines, but in a place where you can enjoy watching the birds.
A variety of materials are used in the manufacture of exterior adornments. At the very least, the material used to make lawn ornaments should resist damage from the elements in order to provide long-lasting appeal in the landscape.
- Powder-coated metal: Commonly found in patio furniture, ornamental stakes, and some fountains, powder coating is made from polymer resin with added pigments to create custom colors. The resin—in powder form—is applied to the metal to keep it from rusting and corroding. With a broad range of prices for items such as a simple stake to large fountains or sculptures, powder-coated items come in a wide variety of options for outdoor decorating.
- Plastic: Some types of plastic, such as acrylic plastic and polyvinyl chloride (PVC), offer long-term durability outdoors, but other, cheaper plastics can fade and become brittle in just a few months. Plastic lawn ornaments—such as planters, whirligigs, and solar lights—can run anywhere from less than $10 to more than $100, depending on the quality of the plastic.
- Wood: A natural product, wood is highly desirable in outdoor decor. Weather-resistant species, such as redwood, teak, and cedar, are well suited to planters, outdoor tables, gazebos, and more, but these wood species can be pricey. Less weather-resistant species, such as pine, are often treated with chemicals to improve their hardiness, and though this treatment does not prevent all weather damage, decorations made from treated woods are generally more affordable.
- Concrete: A favorite material in outdoor elements that’s both functional and decorative, concrete is strong, durable, and suitable for exterior decor. A wide variety of planters, fountains, and statues are available in concrete. This cement-based material holds paint well, but it comes with the downside of being very heavy: a 2-foot by 2-foot planter can weigh more than 125 pounds. Also consider that concrete lawn ornaments can come with hefty shipping fees due to their weight.
- Stone: Perhaps the ultimate in high-end yard decor items, lawn ornaments made from natural stone vary from polished granite spheres to carved travertine planters. A stone’s durability and longevity often means that lawn ornaments crafted of this natural material are considered to be permanent fixtures in the landscape.
- Resin: Offering the look of concrete or stone without the weight, lawn ornaments made from resin are trending in a range of outdoor items. Made from a blend of ground stone powder that’s blended with a bonding agent and molded into a variety of shapes (including planters and statues), lawn ornaments made from resin will withstand the elements and can last for years. They’re similar in price to concrete and run about the same or slightly less, depending on style, but they’re much easier to move when you want to rearrange the outdoor decor.
- Glass: Brightly colored gazing balls, stained glass suncatchers, and hummingbird feeders are just a few of the decorative outdoor items made from glass. Very few materials catch the eye like the flash of glistening glass, but it requires periodic cleaning with a glass cleaner in order to maintain its shine and appeal. Glass ornaments run the gamut in price, from $10 for a glass solar light to more than $200 for a custom-made stained glass garden art panel.
Consider the area’s size, and select ornaments that are not so small as to feel lost and insignificant, yet not so large they overwhelm the space. The objective here is to visually divide the outdoor areas into “rooms,” just as one would in a home.
For example, one of the most popular uses of outdoor spaces is for dining, so approach the design of the dining area as you would a room indoors. What type of flooring do you want? A paved or brick patio, or perhaps cobblestones with moss growing between? Consider your table type and how you will decorate it when it’s not in use.
Trees, fences, and privacy screens can serve as walls to enhance privacy or define each area’s boundaries. The lawn ornaments chosen for each area room could be functional—solar lights or a central fire pit for after-dusk socializing, or a trickling fountain or waterfall to add ambiance—or merely decorative to further emphasize the intended use of the space.
Consider the purpose and desired feeling of the space when adding ornaments and other elements, such as a bench or a yard light. Features should complement rather than detract. To help envision the final look, sketch a to-scale drawing of the available space, and draw in hardscape, plants, and ornamental features.
Power is required for several lawn ornaments to function, such as waterfalls, fountains, lights, and anything with moving parts, such as a rotating waterwheel.
- Solar power is well suited to the outdoor environment because it doesn’t require hardwiring to a power source, instead gathering energy from the sun. Solar-powered items such as lights and floating pond fountains, however, may not function on cloudy days.
- Low-voltage wiring: Before solar lights became popular, 12-volt exterior landscape lights were all the rage, and they’re still installed today as a way of obtaining reliable lighting. This low-voltage wiring is also commonly used in movable water features such as waterfalls and fountains.
- Fuel: Propane gas and oil are often used as the energy source for tiki torches, patio heaters, and fire pits. Permanent yard lights may be connected to the home’s natural gas line to provide a consistent flickering flame.
- Battery-powered: With the advent of solar energy, many light-up type yard fixtures have moved from replaceable batteries to solar-powered batteries. You may find some items, such as decorative lighthouses, that use standard batteries.
Yard design is a personal preference, so consider which lawn ornaments complement your home’s architectural design and yard decor. The following popular home styles offer an idea of how to use patterns, colors, and lines to the best advantage.
- Modern architecture, with sleek lines and a minimalist aesthetic, is naturally complimented by ornaments with a similar form. Think metallic and reflective glass orbs, square fountains, and sculptures with clean lines. In keeping with architectural style, monochromatic or neutral decorations are ideal, especially if your lawn features a vibrant garden.
- Traditional homes benefit from lawn ornaments with traditional designs. Sculptures and columns inspired by Greek and Roman times are attractive for most home artitecture, besides modern and industrial, but don’t overdo it, especially if the ornaments are large. A single element of visual focus, such as a fountain with an antique aesthetic or an ancient goddess will set the mood, whereas half a dozen small ornaments can cheapen the appeal.
- Historical homes, such as Victorian, Tudor, and colonial architecture, feature distinct elements that can be accentuated through decoration. These imposing styles will overwhelm tiny lawn ornaments, so opt for items such as sizable carved stone or concrete planters, majestic lion statues flanking the entry, or gingerbread finials on a cast-iron yard light. Items with antiqued finishes and copper patinas also fit in well here.
- Midcentury modern architecture is back in style, and the popular design elements of the ‘50s and ‘60s are all the rage. Consider adding a lawn ornament in a color that contrasts with foliage, such as a chrome or a burnished gold stake, and feel free to add items with strong geometric patterns.
- Art Deco homes feature a variety of architectural influences pulled from the tropics, Egypt, and 1940s Hollywood. Creativity is key in enhancing the landscape of an Art Deco home. Look for lawn ornaments in bold colors with rounded corners and bold geometric patterns. Feel free to incorporate items with swirls, such as painted gazing balls or intricate spinning structures that turn in the wind.
- Country-style revolves around a country/farmhouse theme, meaning it’s easy to add elements to natural landscapes. With rural-style colors, including whites, pale yellows, blues, and earthy red tones, there are numerous shades available for decoration. Consider natural wood elements, such as planters and stakes, that will withstand the weather.
- Cottage-style homes and yards are well suited for earthy brown and green tones, as well as cream white, to accentuate lively garden landscapes. Alongside picket fences and obelisk trellises bursting with blooming vines, opt for rustic ornaments like a charming wooden wagon, animal sculptures, and even stone seashells if you want to create a coastal atmosphere.
- Rustic homes call for simple ornaments, such as small cast-iron statues and vintage-style lanterns leading to the front and side doors. Display more subtle lawn ornaments reminiscent of times gone by, such as stacked-stone planters or a mailbox post designed to look like an antique water pump. Stick with deep natural colors.
Our Top Picks
Among the numerous types, colors, styles, and themes, the best lawn ornaments are the ones that enhance an outdoor space without detracting from it. Personal preference and individual style are tantamount when choosing lawn ornaments, and the pieces featured below can add style to a yard when used in the right setting.
At 40 inches tall and 23 inches at its widest point, the Alpine Corporation Water Fountain is small enough to tuck in a smaller spot but large enough to attract attention. Designed to mimic natural stones, the fountain provides a continuous trickle of water to create a soothing and relaxing atmosphere. The beige and gray rocks are made from heavy-duty fiberglass resin and designed to resist fading, rust, and corrosion.
An included pump maintains flow, and all that’s required is to fill the bottom reservoir with water, then plug the fountain’s cord into an exterior outlet. The flowing water sounds like a gentle waterfall, and the fountain features white LED lights so users can enjoy the water feature after the sun sets.
Celebrate celestial beauty with this Homeimpro solar garden light, featuring a crescent moon cradling a crackle-glass sphere that glows at night. The moon, resting atop a steel stake, is designed from metal featuring starry cutouts that glow when warm LED light shines through the crackle ball. At 40 inches tall, this lunar light’s effect adds an enchanting touch of wonder to a yard landscape.
An electrical outlet is not necessary since the light is powered by a solar panel that absorbs energy during the day, assuming the light is placed in a sunny area. The light will shine for 6 hours on a full 8-hour charge.
Decorate the lawn with zosenda’s shining Stainless Steel Gazing Balls, featuring a polished mirror-like finish. The collection of six spheres reflects the sky, flowers, and foliage to add a splash of brilliance to your front lawn or backyard. Arrange the spheres in a grouping, place them all in the bowl of a shallow planter, or locate them strategically among shrubbery, in a perennial border, or near a garden pond to reflect the water.
The spheres vary in diameter from 2 inches to just smaller than 6 inches, and they come at an attractive price point. Made from stainless steel, the balls are rust- and corrosion-resistant, and keeping them at their shiniest requires only a quick wipe-down with glass cleaner and a soft, dry cloth.
Enjoy the sight of songbirds gathering at this charming birdbath and its vintage European design. The timeless aesthetic and elegant bronze patina will complement many yard styles. This birdbath contains weatherproof poly-resin treated with UV-resistant materials to reduce fading.
The lightweight ornament can be moved easily around the lawn. Display it in your back garden, or on your front lawn for neighbors to appreciate. Consider placing the bowl out of the direct sunlight to keep the water nice and cool for feathered visitors.
The birdbath stands 28 inches high with a 20-inch diameter bathing bowl and includes three stakes for securing it to the ground. Alternatively, the hollow base can be weighted down with gravel or small rocks.
Passersby will do a double-take as they catch a glimpse of this life-size, realistic-looking garden crane. Handcrafted from metal and finished in a bronze patina, this weathered-looking crane draws attention when located next to a garden pond or elsewhere in the landscape.
The statue measures 7.48 inches wide, 48 inches high, and is 16.92 inches from beak to the tail feathers’ tip. The bird comes with stakes for securing it to the ground. Some easy assembly is required to connect the legs to the body (no tools necessary).
Add a touch of ancient civilization to a landscape with this statue planter. Reminiscent of a Greek or Roman goddess, this watchful woman casts her gaze down upon the landscape, a crown of leaves encircling her head. Crafted of cement, the attractive planter is finished with a bronze-look paint.
Measuring 10.5 inches high, 5.5 inches deep, and 4 inches wide, this petite garden accent is well suited to placement atop a stone wall or used as a centerpiece on an outdoor dining set. An included plastic liner is a fine receptacle for a trailing vine that might drape downward to give the goddess a head of hair.
Enjoy this outdoor water feature on a deck, a patio, or strategically placed in a rock garden. The Peaktop Glazed Pot Water Fountain stands 17 inches high and is well suited in spaces where a larger fountain might be overwhelming.
With traditional styling, the fountain features a cutaway along the top where water bubbles up from a center spout and trickles down over a ribbed inner vase. The vividly colored durable poly-resin vase is available in glazed royal blue, red, or green.
The fountain comes with a 6-foot cord and an LED light that accents the bubbling water at night, providing an attractive backyard accent by day and enchanting ambience after the sun goes down.
Add height to planters or small statues with the EMSCO Group Greek Column, which is reminiscent of ancient civilizations and designed to look like natural sandstone. The EMSCO column comes in a handful of hues and is made from durable polyethylene.
The column might grab attention in a perennial border as a support for another ornament, such as a gazing ball or a planter. Or, pair it with a matching column to flank a garden entry or pathway.
While on the lightweight side at under 5 pounds, the column is designed to be filled with sand or small pea gravel to give it enough weight to withstand strong winds and boisterous pets. It stands 32 inches high and measures 9 inches wide and deep at the base and the top.
Choosing lawn ornaments relies on personal taste, but some questions are to be expected for those new to adding decorative touches to their home landscape.
Q: How can a yard be decorated?
Select lawn ornaments that complement the home’s architecture style. Choose from a variety of planters, solar lights, fountains, birdbaths, stakes, and sculptures while balancing ornament size with the dimensions of the yard.
Q: How should garden statues be used?
Garden statues can be used to bring out elements of a home’s architecture, to serve as central design elements in the yard, or to revolve around a preferred theme.
Q: How should a lawn ornament be anchored?
Some ornaments come with stakes for securing them to the ground, while others can be filled with sand to anchor them in place.