Tips and Guides

6 Playful Garden Ideas

Add whimsical touches to your own garden with these tricks you can try at home

Photography: Ocs Alvarez/ACME Visual Productions

Do you have a cookie cutter garden—one of those front yards with straightforward lawns and clean-cut shrubs that look like everyone else’s green corner in your village?

Gardens don’t have to be too serious. After all, it was typical for 18th-century European royalty to have gigantic mazes cut into the shrubs of their gardens. Here, horticulturist and former RL contributor Jan Imperio shows us how to have fun in his Tagaytay garden. These charming accessories and techniques all add a delightful edge to the entire green space.

1. Install a water feature.

Here, Jan propped up a “fountain” he found from HMR Trading and simply hooked it up to a sprinkler system. You don’t need a huge, waterfall-like fountain; a small zen fountain or a talyasi vat of water lilies would do (find small fountains at Wilcon IT Hub, Chino Roces Ave., Makati City).

2. Add vintage pieces.

This horticulturist created a romantic area by hanging vintage sampaguita glass panels in a trellis of thunbergia vines. Create a similar look by installing capiz panels, or even callado panels you can find at secondhand shops.

3. Create a seating area.

Add a small wooden or metal bench (available at Wilcon Depot) to create a cozy seating area in a corner of your garden for afternoon reading or siestas. Make sure that there is ample shade around it via a tree or neighboring vines.

4. Make an arched trellis.

Jan created this arched trellis by having wire forms customized to curve over a pathway. The arches can be separated in the middle so that these can be moved to another spot if needed.

5. Plant statues.

Outdoor statues can be charming features in the garden, such as these “Hear, See, Speak No Evil” stone statues Jan picked up from a garden stall in Silang, Cavite. These pop up from a bed of golden miagos.

6. Play hide and seek.

Another playful feature in this garden is this amusing crocodile ornament that his children love to play with. This croc is made up of three stone pieces each, embedded in the grass to make it appear as if it is lurking. You can also find many playful garden ornaments in True Value stores.

Read the original article ("The Constant Gardener") in the May 2006 issue of Real Living Magazine. Download your digital copy of Real Living on the Real Living App. Log on to for more details.

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