Large ornaments are a hallmark of formal garden design. Rotundas, statues, water features or a prominent tree are all signature devices used to create the all-important focal point in a classical landscape. Another eye-catching form is the urn shape. In any material, colour or finish, an urn brings graceful dignity to the surroundings.

The highly familiar urn shape has been the definition of formality in garden design for millenia. Lending a sense of grandeur and solemnity, urns historically graced wealthy estates and palatial grounds. But even in the more modest contemporary garden, decorative urns still offer timeless and stately appeal.

When you have a client project that requires formal flair, consider the various ways to style using ornamental urns:

  • A large urn creates architectural interest and draws the eye, especially when placed in an open/central area of the garden.
  • Elevate urns on plinths for extra height and to lead the eye down the end of a long path.
  • Lose the plinth but keep the formality through your choice of plantings (try a trimmed buxus for a luxurious look).
  • Install lighting to convert urns into a night-time focal point.
  • For a rustic feel, a weathered rust finish or aged ceramic urns work well to complement stone facades or more relaxed garden designs.
  • Use multiple urns to create structure and symmetry, for example, to line a walkway, enhance a pool area, frame stairs or an entrance.

Because the urn is such a strong statement piece in any landscape, the choice of style, colour and texture is paramount. Does the project call for a touch of faded grandeur? An aged historical look? Ultra-refined formality? For something really different, try an urn that appears to have been recovered from the ocean floor.

If you need some help with selecting the right urn for your design, were here to help.