Smart Solutions: Garden displays you can count on

Jeanine Matlow
Special to The Detroit News
Awaken your outdoor space with decorative figures like statuary that complement your flowers and plants.

When unpredictable weather puts a damper on your planting efforts, you can always count on garden décor to enhance your outdoor spaces. To get started, simply follow the lead of your interiors.

“People want to bring the outdoors in and the indoors out and blur that line,” says Carol Peretto, owner of Gardenviews at Home in Northville. “They want to live outdoors like they do indoors.” For instance, she says artwork has made its way to the yard with prints that can withstand our weather year-round and have a hanging system that lets them endure strong winds.

Clean lines are also making their way outside in the form of statuary and fountains with a more contemporary feel. “Some people don’t want the more ornate styles,” says Peretto. “They want simple lines that can have a calming effect.”

Many are concerned about the environment and want an easy garden. “They just want to go out and enjoy the yard. It’s their getaway,” she says.

That’s where outdoor décor can work its magic and add the color so many people crave this time of year, which can come from their chair cushions in addition to their flowers.

Statement pieces like water fountains remain a prevalent feature, while classic accents such as birdhouses never go out of style, says Peretto. Other popular outdoor items include everything from birdbaths and cement birds to rain chains and wind chimes. Pieces that serve a purpose like pedestals, trays and plant stands are also in demand.  

A little whimsy can go a long way in an outdoor space like animated veggie sculptures that feature faces and animal statues in yoga poses like bunnies and frogs. Quirky characters like these can be positioned to be peeking out of a bunch of flowers. “They just make people happy,” she says.

Classic containers, such as urns appeal to those who like a European feel. Black vessels can be a good fit for a more contemporary setting. Fiberstone styles offer flexibility as they’re made to withstand the weather and easy to move around.

Faux plants like topiaries and boxwood balls lend an authentic look to a front entrance minus the maintenance, making them a good choice for homeowners who head up north during the summer months.  

Hanging plants in macramé holders provide a bohemian vibe outside, which is among the current trends. “The whole flea market look has been very popular,” says Peretto.

Whether you take a whimsical or more traditional approach, filling your garden with unique pieces can make it a more pleasant place to be. While some want their outdoor areas to be very formal, elegant and manicured, others want to create a lighter atmosphere, says Peretto who has a claw foot bathtub in her yard that’s filled with flowers.

At her shop, you might find vintage pieces like a rusty garden cart or an old bucket filled with blooms. “I love an old container like a funnel on a chain that becomes a hanging basket,” she says. “People can get more adventurous outside because we do have a short season.”

For information, go to

Jeanine Matlow is a Metro Detroit interior decorator turned freelance writer specializing in stories about interior design. You can reach her at