Landscape accessories are details which may have no functional
purpose, such as surfacing or enclosure, but do have definite
visual effects. Accessories also help express individual tastes
and preferences. Major accessories, however, should not be
afterthoughts; they should be planned as the design evolves.
Accessories add character and dimension to a garden, but poorly
selected and placed accessories may spoil an otherwise well-designed
Many landscape accessories are available. Much of what is
available, however, has little or no aesthetic value. To determine
whether or not to use an accessory in the garden, ask yourself
these questions: (1) Does it have practical use? (2) Is it
beautiful in itself? (3) Does it fit or relate to the overall
landscape design? Probably the most important of these three
questions is the last one.
Garden furniture offers a real opportunity to add utility,
color and beauty to the landscape. Comfortable and attractive
items are now available in a wide variety of low maintenance
outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture must be large enough
to be practical and must be in scale with its surroundings.
Built-in furniture has the added value of being permanently
in place and enhancing the overall design. Occasionally the
surface of a retaining wall or raised planter can serve as
a seating area. The living terrace is the most usual place
for outdoor furniture.
An interesting piece of driftwood, tree roots or limbs, boulders
or rocks provide interesting substitutes for good sculpture.
These items are easily blended with the design and may be
Birdbaths are often used in home landscapes. To be useful
they should be shallow, not exceeding 1 1/2 inches in depth,
and contain fresh water. Bird houses and feeders should also
be selected on the criteria discussed earlier.
Other accessories, such as stained glass, relief sculpture,
outdoor chandeliers and plant containers are finding their
way into the well-designed landscape. A stained glass window,
partially enclosed in an outdoor area, or a burning outdoor
chandelier may be added for interest, illumination and possible
insect-repelling qualities. Hanging or conventional container
plants can add a great deal of interest. With the current
trend to return to natural materials and handmade workmanship
there is an almost limitless variety of accessories available
for our use. The temptation to "overdo" has never been greater.
Like other fine things, garden accessories should be used
with considerable restraint.
Outdoor lighting can add a great deal to the attractiveness
and usefulness of the landscape. Specialists often recommend
two separate lighting systems: one for functional and safety
purposes and another designed to be beautiful and interesting.
Dimmers, low voltage units and other special lighting equipment
have become popular and add versatility to outdoor lighting.
When placing outdoor lighting for beauty only the effects
of lighting should be seen; the source or fixtures are usually
hidden in the ground or in tree branches.
Good landscaping is a major investment in time and money.
Many people feel that they obtain double enjoyment by including
well-designed outdoor lighting to increase the hours of pleasure
from their outdoor environment.