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By : Rob Thomson    99 or more times read
Move over garden gnomes, pink flamingos, and pinwheel wind catchers, the look and feel of garden decor has stepped up a notch or two. With the advent of outdoor living spaces, patio kitchens and elaborate deck designs, home owners are spending more time in their yard. In fact, in many cases, patios have become wall-less extensions of home interiors, and decorating this space has become much more sophisticated.

Now, painted walls have been replaced with nature's canvas of trees and grass, inspiring new opportunities for creative decorating. It's not uncommon to see outdoor-friendly coordinating couches, chairs and coffee tables accented with the likes of patterned carpets, figurines and hanging artwork.

Sculptures: In the case of outdoor decor, sculptures, now removed from their interior hideaways, can be situated among showy blooms in a rose garden, elevated on a grassy berm, or placed between select trees or shrubs. Their role may serve as a subtle accent, or a striking focal point in a landscaping theme.

Sculptures no longer have to be limited to stone or marble, but may include metal, foliage, such as a topiary, resin, or even ornate benches. A carefully placed birdbath provides not only a source of enjoyment from watching the birds flit about, but can be quite the eyecatcher. Situated among a sea of wildflowers or in a lush garden setting, that birdbath now becomes a form of artistic expression.

Fountains: These bubbling delights have become all the rage, offering a relaxing oasis with their calming sound of falling water. In some homes, fountains are strategically placed to mask the sound of nearby road noise. Add a pretty bench next to a fountain, and you create a new zone or sitting area in your yard. Designs range from formal, with roman statues, or stone fish spitting water into a large pool, to a more natural display that imitates nature by incorporating tumbling rocks accented with water plants.

Chimes: Wind chimes have come a long way since the homemade strands of stainless steel forks and spoons hanging from a stick. While those chimes probably served a purpose by sending a warning of impending high winds, today's chimes are mainly enjoyed for their pretty sound and unique designs. The tubular metal versions are meticulously tuned to chime in specific tones of the musical scale. Bamboo chimes have a pleasant wooden sound, reminiscent of the South Pacific or some tropical getaway.

Furniture: In addition to coordinated couches and chairs sitting on outdoor-friendly carpets, gorgeous accent tables are popular in a range of styles and mediums, including teak, tile, stone, marble and wrought iron.

Gazing Balls: Throwbacks to the original Victorian gazing balls, these mystical looking spheres are available in a variety of colors and patterns, and can be set on tall stands, or rock pedestals.
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