100 Years of Yard Decorations

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garden gnome yard decorations

A hundred years have passed since 1917, and many things have changed. Even lawn fashions have changed with people rolling out a multitude of different yard decorations from one decade to the next. Read on to find out which ornaments ruled each era.

Yard Decorations in the Late 1910s

The lawn jockey was king in 1917. Commonly called “Jocko,” this ornament doubled as a hitching post at stables. It was originally popularized in the 1800s but experienced a resurgence early in the 20th century with multiple styles and colors being offered by a variety of makers.

Yard Decorations in the 1920s

The 1920s saw the rise of the Art Deco era. When it came to outdoor décor, the popular style was heavy iron and steel garden furniture with geometric flourishes. Grandiose features like indoor/outdoor aquariums were more whimsical than sensible.

Yard Decorations in the 1930s

In the 1930s, yard decorations still reflected the Art Deco style. Now it was moving away from Victorian elements like urns. That meant simple but heavily structured lines in items like wrought iron sunburst gates. The release of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 also resulted in an increased demand for the classic garden gnome.

garden decorations

Yard Decorations in the 1940s

By the 1940s, the Art Deco era was gone but not forgotten as evidenced by heavy trylon and sphere yard decorations. Concrete ornaments had overtaken their pricier bronze, marble and iron counterparts. Cast concrete deer families were a common sight on many a suburban lawn.

Yard Decorations in the 1950s

The American dream was in full swing in the 1950s, and a white picket fence became synonymous with middle class success. The ubiquitous pink flamingo lawn ornament was also introduced in this decade, though not until 1957.

pink flamingo yard decorations

Yard Decorations in the 1960s

By the 1960s, yard decorations were more about displaying personality than pretension. Light-up blow mold Santas and Easter bunnies reflected a strong focus on family values.

Yard Decorations in the 1970s

In the 1970s, austere yard decorations were fully out. In again was the garden gnome and its popular companion the metal pinwheel.

Yard Decorations in the 1980s

The 1980s represented an era of yard decorations that is perhaps best forgotten. This decade saw the rise of hand-painted wooden cutouts of large ladies bending over the garden.

Yard Decorations in the 1990s

New manufacturing technology and the expansion of low-priced retailers like Wal-Mart meant that everyone had access to an abundance of cheap but charming yard decorations in the 1990s. Barrel planters, decorative faux rocks and garden banners abounded.

flower yard decorations

Yard Decorations in the 2000s

By the 2000s, yard decorations were “anything goes.” Some people proudly displayed a Bigfoot silhouette on their fence while others embraced a rebirth in elegant lawn décor.

Yard Decorations in the 2010s

Lawn ornaments have now come full circle, with most people leaning toward modest arrangements again. Some of the most popular yard decorations are actually advertisements — after all, having an ADT yard sign is an easy way to tell a burglar you have an alarm system. Political campaign signs and activism signs are also common.


Lawn ornaments are a way to share your personal sense of style or humor with the world. Whether you love kitschy classics like the garden gnome or impressive water features like a tiered garden fountain, a hundred years of yard decorations have given you plenty of good options.

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