A garden feature is an ornamental element in garden design. Many gardens have features of various shapes, styles, sizes, and a garden feature can serve a variety of functions. In some cases, for example, a garden design is centered around a single focal point like a grotto, while in other instances, garden features may be tucked away in various corners of the garden to encourage people to explore.
Some garden features are natural, as in the case of mounds, rock outcrops, pools, and rivers which are present before the garden is installed. Natural components of the landscape are often highlighted by gardeners who want to integrate their garden design with the surrounding environment. It is also possible to create artificial versions of natural features, a practice which is especially common when gardeners are faced with a bland landscape. Adding a reflecting pool, waterfall, large boulder, or similar ornament can make a garden feel more dynamic.
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Other garden features are clearly artificial, as in the case of structures like gazebos. Water fountains, garden paths, rock walls, and similar constructions could also be considered artificial. Depending on the garden design, the garden feature may serve a practical function, as in the case of an artificial stream which provides water for irritation, or purely ornamental, in the case of a pagoda used for entertaining. Some people get more ambitious, building theaters in their gardens for pastoral performances of plays, music, and other entertainments.
Garden features can also take the form of works of art. Statues which can safely be displayed outdoors are sometimes used as garden features, for example. Large works of art may become central points in garden design, and in the case of a sculpture garden, the garden is designed to highlight and complement the artwork. Sculpture gardens can showcase a variety of styles of sculpture, ranging from life-like bronzes to abstract artworks. The garden itself may be designed to be a work of art, creating a giant garden feature.
Plants can also be utilized to make a garden feature. Topiaries, for example, are ornamental plantings made by training and trimming shrubs and trees into fantastic shapes. Plants can also be shaped into hedges, ornamental borders, or mazes. Ornamental and decorative plants may be organized in a variety of ways to create living garden features which change with the seasons.