Ideas for garden gnomes

Written by hallie engel
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Ideas for garden gnomes
Garden gnomes make lovely decorations, but should not be exploited for labour. (gnomos image by Norberto Lauria from

Short, cute and bearded, garden gnomes can bring character and charm to flower bushes, grassy lawns and leafy shrubs. The fun little fellas have been perking up gardens in Europe since the mid-19th century and were originally made of ceramic. Antique gnomes can fetch a high price, though many garden centres carry affordable plastic versions. For the creative, fun with gnomes goes beyond the traditional and into the creative and wacky.

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DIY Gnome Painting

Store shelves are stocked with all kinds of garden gnomes waiting for new homes, but children and adults alike can have fun decorating gnomes with a paint brush. Special kits featuring white, unpainted gnomes can be ordered and then customised with various colours of paint, allowing gardeners to design a gnome specially suited to their shrubs, flowers and lawns. Try making a gnome with a polka dot hat or striped trousers or mix a little glitter in the paint for a disco gnome in sparkly garb.

Sports Gnomes

Most garden gnomes are rather plain looking creatures, clad in simple clothing completely lacking in sports affiliation. Chuck the gnomes in dull, drab wear for those wearing something supporting a favourite sports team. Gnomes wearing the colours and logos of many major sports teams are available for sale, so grab a few to perk up the garden or use them as special decorations for special events. For instance, when having friends over for a big game, place a few gnomes in team colours around the snack table or next to the television for good luck.

Garden Gnome Bowling

Sure, garden gnomes are cute and sweet, standing guard over flowers and grass in their pointy little hats. However, there are times when it can feel awfully good to knock the little guys over. Commercial garden gnome bowling sets are available, consisting of several gnome-pins and a small ball, though any standard, non-breakable garden gnomes can be used along with a rubber ball. Try playing the game at a garden party or barbecue and give a special gnome as a prize to the winner.

Gnome Liberation

The idea of "liberating" garden gnomes by way of stealing them and photographing their journeys around the world has occurred in movies as well as real life. While stealing a gnome is a bad idea, it can be fun to borrow a gnome with permission or purchase one for a trip, snapping photos of the gnome in front of famous landmarks. If taking a friend's gnome, send some postcards supposedly written by the little fellow along the way and document the gnome's trip with a photo-filled blog.

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