With the advent of modern plastics and electronics, lawn ornaments now include not just cement, metal, stone and clay decorative planters, pots and statues, but also items made from lightweight plastics. Holiday decorations frequently contain lights and moving parts. Lighter-weight ornaments need secure fastening to resist wind damage and other decorations can be compromised by rain, winds or hail. Another danger comes from the sticky fingers of thieves, who may make off with your garden ornaments that are securely fastened down.
Heavy stone, concrete, ceramic or terra cotta items resist toppling. Planters that contain substantial amounts of soil usually are hard to dislodge. However, the container may be blown over if it holds a top-heavy plant. Anchor planters and pots by passing a cable or zip tie around the planter base and sinking a ground screw anchor into the lawn behind it or a wall anchor into the house or a wall. Attach the cable or tie to the eye in the anchors. You could also fasten the tie to a stationary object such as a lamp post or fence post. For ornaments such as cement garden gnomes, dig a hole in the lawn the size of the desired anchor, fill it with fresh cement, and bury the clean, moistened base of the gnome in the cement. Hold it in place with soil or rocks until the cement hardens.
Cheaper and more light-weight than non-synthetic materials, resin lawn ornaments such as fountains, birdbaths and statues are cast from epoxy plastic. In areas with cold winters, keep them portable since they don't withstand freezing temperatures. Because of their lighter weight, they are more apt to blow over. Hold down the base with sand bags, or use the ground screw anchor and tie technique. Lighter plastic items such as pink lawn flamingos have metal legs that anchor the pieces into lawns.
Inflatable ornaments present a problem because you shouldn't puncture or abrade them. KSAT in San Antonio, Texas recommends deflating them before you go to bed each night. To prevent the wind from blowing them away when they are inflated, tether them to the house, a railing or a ground screw anchor with soft nylon cording or a zip tie. If an inflatable has feet or a base, fashion U-shaped pieces of wire that fit over them and extend a foot or so down into the soil. Put sand bags over the wire for additional security. Use locking extension cords to connect lights to the power source. Fasten the cords and strings of lights in place with zip ties. Sometimes individuals equip lawn decorations that have sentimental or monetary value with GPS units or electronic tags just in case they are stolen.
Statues and Sculptures
Statues and sculptures require careful anchoring. Many sculptures come with mounting nuts or rods that connect to cement or stone foundations with epoxy glue or threaded bolts to hold them in place. However, all sculptures, whether stone, metal, bronze, cement or ceramics, are subject to storm damage. If they are art objects, consult a professional for anchoring that will be suitable for the individual piece. Claire Marmlon of the American International Group insurance comments that strong winds can lift and throw even a 6-ton sculpture. Secure non-portable sculptures during storms with protective harnesses that incorporate an anchor, a wind-resistant strap and a buckle.
- Royal Horticultural Society: Garden Security
- Just Say Gnome!: Gnomeland Security
- Lawn Ornaments and Fountains: Resin Fountain and Statue Maintenance
- Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: The Plastic Fantastic Flamingo
- KSAT: How to Prevent Holiday Decoration Theft
- InMyArea Home Security: Keeping Your Christmas Decorations Safe
- LandAirSea: Put GPS Tracking Devices on Your Christmas Decorations
- The Large Art Company: Installing Outdoor Bronze Statues
- AIG Group Private Client Group: Protecting Outdoor Sculptures from Storm Damage
- Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy: Statue Installation
Carolyn Csanyi began writing in 1973, specializing in topics related to plants, insects and southwestern ecology. Her work has appeared in the "American Midland Naturalist" and Greenwood Press. Csanyi holds a Doctor of Philosophy in biology from the University of Wisconsin at Madison.