When I built a walk-through trellis for my back yard this summer, not one person who saw it commented on the carpentry, the symmetry, or the placement of the thing. Instead, they all zoomed in on the rusty old gear from a piece of farm machinery I built into the side of it.
Since then, I’ve been thinking a lot about using found objects in landscaping. Clearly, our brains seek out novelty—not symmetry—as we look at a garden or deck area. Why not satisfy that craving and thrill your clients in the process. The objects might be wine or beer bottles, old silverware, pots and pans, wheel hubs—broken equipment. You name it. If it’s non-polluting (meaning it can’t leak oil or paint or nuclear waste or chemicals), it’s probably fair game.
For inspiration, check out your local art museum. Found object sculpture is a popular theme now. Chances are that even if there’s not an exhibit coming your way, the curator will be able to point you toward books and websites that will get your rusty gears turning.