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Pretty and practical garden accents

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Sure, you can deck out your garden with pretty, yet useless accents. You can also fill it with practical uglies like utilitarian rain barrels. The real trick is to add garden décor that's both pretty and practical at once. After all, why should your garden accents be any less attractive than your floral beds? Why would you want all fluff and no substance, either? Your garden accents can and should be both beautiful and useful. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Why build a bridge to no-where?

Every gardener wants one of those cute little bridges as part of their outdoor landscaping. Most of them don't really have a purpose. They just look nice. Try building your bridges over dry beds so that when water drains, you don't get your feet wet. That's practical. Step it up. Use the bridge to get from one stone path to another, or one garden area to another without damaging plants. You could also use the bridge railing to hang flower or herb pots.

Wind chimes are useful in multiple ways.

I don't know a single gardener who doesn't love wind chimes. There's good reason for that. Shiny, reflective wind chimes keep birds from eating tree fruit before you can. Hang them from tomato cages for the same reason. Choose the color red to help your tomatoes ripen faster. Yes. It really works! Pretty wind chimes and wind socks also alert you to high winds so you can cover delicate plants, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Hence, the name.

Branch bowers are beautiful and practical.

Line them up in a row to form a living tunnel. Plant climbing flowers on the outside edge. Plant different types of squash on the indoor edge. As the squash grows, it climbs upward, instead of spreading out. This saves you much needed garden space and makes for a beautiful garden accent. Be sure your bowers are sturdy enough to take the weight. Attach them to sunken 2x4's for strength.

Can a tool shed be pretty?

Absolutely. Paint it Victorian doll-house style with flowering window-boxes. A cute little bistro table and chairs outside the front door gives you a welcome break. Not your cup of tea? That's OK. How about a log cabin tool shed? Hang some old time tools from the outside for a more manly look. Make any garden shed both attractive and practical by adding accents to suit your tastes.

Deck out purposeful fences with flair.

Why not have sunflowers all year? You can if you paint them on the inside of protective wooden fences. Their bright sunny blossoms will bring cheer to the garden, even in winter. Plus, they're easy to paint. Just make a long green stem with a couple simple leaves. A bright orange circle surrounded by yellow petals completes each painted flower. Let pretty and practical come together in your garden with clever, cheerful accents next season. It's a natural.

This article was previously published by this author on a now closed Yahoo property.

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