Add Color, Save Water With Garden Art


Here’s a xeriscaping strategy that also can justify fun shopping, or at least give your creativity a boost: Add art pieces and other nonplant color to your garden. Below are a few benefits and photo examples, mostly from my recent trip to Austin with the Garden Bloggers Fling.

First, art needs no watering. Aside from fountains or bird baths, garden art requires no water. So, you can tuck fun or colorful objects into your xeric landscape and save water and time by using art instead of plants. Barring deer or other critters breaking your objects, garden art can last for many years.

Colored bottles and bottle trees are common in Southwest gardens to add pops of color.
Bare wall? Add a bright garden-themed sculpture.

Art adds water-free year-round interest. Although you can plant for all-season or year-round color, the weather doesn’t always cooperate. We had a dry, cool spring that turned hot overnight. So, many of our spring-blooming plants did poorly. And where winters are cold, we get evergreen and white only. Pop a few art pieces or colorful containers into your garden for great garden views all winter.

Pam Penick’s Austin garden had fun objects throughout and plenty of color. This orange planter hangs among otherwise green foliage.

Garden art can satisfy (or try to, anyway) the desire to renovate your landscape. I like to move our garden art around every so often as plants grow or we have empty spots to fill. It makes the garden just a little different without having to buy a new plant (at least until I decide a piece of art needs the perfect little live, green complement …). And you can add free garden art and have a fun DIY project by repurposing objects.

Lucinda Hutson’s garden is one of the most colorful I’ve ever seen. Here, a metal agave fills a container.
Broken pottery? No problem, now it’s colorful mulch. Another brilliant addition from Lucinda Hutson of Austin.

Combine function and visual interest. Painted walls, patterned chair cushions and containers all add color and break up the monotony of green foliage or brownish gravel.

Our red-roofed bird feeder looks pretty in winter with snow on top, and all year long from visiting birds.


You can choose planters that blend in or that pop with color. Feel free to place them anywhere in your garden. Fill them with plants for functional use or let them stand alone as colorful statuary.
Colorful chair cushions or outdoor dining objects can be functional and add color.

You can shop local for garden art. We have many pieces of garden art acquired from small, local shops we visit on vacations or from our favorite places in neighboring towns. I saw lots of Texas stars in Austin, and imagine many of those were acquired at local nurseries and boutiques. Items not necessarily designed for the outdoor elements might work under a patio cover.

Pam Penick had a colorful octopus collection on her Austin garden patio.
This succulent Love arrangement was one of so many gorgeous crafted garden items at Articulture in Austin.

Assert your personality. Add whimsical pieces, collections, pieces with sentimental meaning or items of local interest.

Donna and Mike Fowler honor the Hutto Hippos, mascot for their town’s school, throughout their garden.


Love fish and water? How about blowing grass to simulate water? Such a fun combination of plants and garden art!
I love this yoga frog, who was relaxing inconspicuously on a garden wall.
Back at Lucinda Hutson’s, I loved her collection of chairs to add to her Mexico-themed garden.


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