Retail Therapy: Add personal style to outdoor spaces

The Fresno BeeApril 12, 2014 

Decorating isn't confined to inside the home anymore.

Yards, gardens, porches and patios are all being treated like living rooms when it comes to adding art and personal style.

We're not talking about your grandma's decorative outdoor flags. Garden sections at retailers today are selling solar-powered art, repurposed furniture and downright funky decor.

While many big-box stores have strings of solar-powered lights or the lights designed to line paths, it's the more artsy solar-powered products that are selling fast at Fresno Ag.

The store carries Mason jars with little fake fireflies inside. Hang the jar in your yard and a solar panel on top soaks up the sunlight to make the bugs light up at night.

It's easy to walk past the solar items for sale at the front of the store because they look like typical garden decor. There's a green glass frog that glows at night, along with a bright red ceramic lantern and plastic flowers. Tiny solar panels also are used to power flying butterflies and bees on wires.

Fresno Ag garden manager John Letlow says he's not surprised so many people are decorating their outdoor spaces. A lot of hard work goes into gardens and yards so it's natural to pretty them up even more.

"You get off work and you get home and you look at all the work you did and it makes you feel good," he says. "It's a feel-good industry."

The "upcycling" trend — painting or redoing tired furniture, for example — is also making its way outdoors. The owners of A Secret Garden Florist in Clovis sell odds and ends from flea markets and a "picker" who supplies them. They turn old metal horse-feeding troughs and old carts into planters that hold flowers. Potted plants can be placed on and around an old tractor grill.

"You can rescue something for less than what you can go out and buy something new for," says owner Pam Woertendyke.

Her daughter and co-owner Kim Woertendyke turned an old combination stove, refrigerator and sink from an apartment into a potting bench at her home.

Re-used furniture is popular at Gazebo Gardens Nursery, too. A handmade wooden chaise lounge and an aged wooden bench missing much of its teal paint are for sale.

Sometimes the furniture is made to look old, like the rustic wooden potting bench with wire in its cupboard's windows.

And increasingly, garden and yard art is just fun. Gazebo Gardens sells a giant fork and spoon designed to be hung on exterior walls and a whimsical baby alien statue.

 

The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, bclough@fresnobee.com or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on www.fresnobeehive.com.

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