What are Garden Gnomes?

Deborah Ng
Deborah Ng

Garden gnomes are a source of decoration and amusement for many. Perhaps you have seen one of these whimsical clay lawn statues in your neighbor's garden. In case you haven't, they are difficult to miss. These pointy-hated, long-bearded bringers of good luck have been watching over homes since the early 19th century.

Garden gnomes are also the source of practical jokes and mischief, as they're routinely stolen from gardens in order to "liberate" them. In fact, those claiming to liberate garden gnomes will send them to locations all around the world. The gnomes are photographed at tourist spots in different countries and the photographs are sent to the original owners so they can see what a good life their newly liberated garden gnomes are having. Those who put garden gnomes on their front lawns are usually aware of this type of thievery and enjoy the joke. In fact, there are some who even purchase garden gnomes purposely for this reason. There are others, however, who are not amused at having their garden gnomes liberated.

Much to the dismay of those who have been trying to free the oppressed garden gnomes, these dwarfish good luck charms have been gaining in popularity, so much so that they're the subject of a popular travel website's advertising campaign. In addition, they can be seen in just about every gardening catalog available. Once considered nothing more than a whimsical lawn ornament, garden gnomes are now pop culture icons. Garden gnomes even adorn the lawns of the rich and famous.

Garden gnomes can be made in a variety of materials, including plastic, ceramic, concrete or English stoneware, with prices to match. On the lower end, one can be purchased for about US$30. If plastic isn't your thing, however, expect to pay hundreds of dollars for one cast in stone. Garden gnomes are just as likely to be found in an upscale department store as they are in the discount mart. They also come in a variety of sizes ranging from those which will fit in the palm of your hand to those resembling a small child.

If you're looking to add a touch of whimsy to your front lawn, garden gnomes are certainly the way to go. Just keep a watchful eye out; you never know when someone might sneak onto your lawn and liberate your garden gnomes.

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Discussion Comments


I enjoy using decorative pieces for garden accents, and gnomes are one of my favorites. I came across a whole box of them at a garage sale and could not resist. It was too hard to choose so I bought the whole box.

I have these gnomes scattered about in different places around my yard and gardens. Gardening is one of my favorite pastimes and I have many different garden areas around my house, so you never know where you will see a gnome peeking around a corner or taking a nap in the sunshine.


For some reason, garden gnomes just bring a smile to my face. There is a huge evergreen tree in my parents yard that has brought many years of shade and enjoyment.

Under this big tree my mom has planted many hostas, impatiens and has placed a family of gnomes. They come in all different sizes and colors. They are placed in different positions, from laying, to standing, to being propped up against an old wagon wheel.

These funny garden gnomes look right at home in this setting and are much more interesting to look at then just the flowers.


do they scare fairies away?


I love garden gnomes, despite knowing that they're very silly. I have two very small ones that live inside. I think they're becoming a trendy, retro addition for some people.

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