In the Garden: Five Accessories We Thought We Hated

Generally we like a garden with lots of gorgeous plants, and that's about it. We're not too big on gnomes, fountains, or even sculpture. That being said, there is so much great design in the outdoor realm these days that we often find ourselves admiring garden accoutrements we might have pooh-poohed in the past. Take these five stand-out examples...

1 Birdhouses have never really been our thing, but this one from The Backyard Bird Company is just so sweet. We love the shingled roof, and the little window box is also a nice touch. Sleek, contemporary bird feeders are beautiful, but somehow this traditional birdhouse just has more charm. And it's on sale for $29.95.

2 We've never much cared for animal sculptures in the garden, either, but how cute are these owls?? Each one has a truly distinct personality, and the way they gaze up at you is irresistible, almost like puppies at a shelter. We challenge you to choose only one. They are available at Flora Grubb Gardens, $19 for the babies and $149 for the biggest papa.

3 Wicker furniture usually seems to have an old lady vibe, but these pieces from Home Infatuation (spotted on Design Milk) stray pretty far from that stereotype. The recyclable polyethylene fiber is woven to look like wicker, but durable enough to stay outside and get wet. Pieces range from $339.95 for the stool to $569.95 for the fabulous coffee table/bench.

4 Ordinarily, to be blunt, we can't stand wind chimes. We find the sound more annoying than pleasant, and untangling them is always a hassle. But we might be able to stomach these flaws for the Capiz Chimes by Zen Wind. Capiz shells have such a lovely, beachy feel, and the sound is a gentle tinkle (rather than an actual bell). Zen Wind uses fair trade practices to source their shells, as well. The chimes are available, in the $15-$30 range, from Celery Street.

5 Hot tubs are so often big plastic eyesores, but we would never deny how fabulous they are as a concept. That's why we love these wooden tubs from the Bay Area company Roberts Hot Tubs. They offer many different models in cedar, redwood, and teak, and they specialize in chemical-free purifying solutions. If you're lucky enough to have the space and dough for one of these babies, you'll have to contact them directly for price information.

What are your garden accessory pet peeves? How about your favorite garden accoutrements?

(Images: Backyard Bird Company; Susie Nadler; Home Infatuation; Celery Street; Roberts Hot Tubs)

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