We’re all surrounded by mass-produced products, to the extent that we often forget that people still make things by hand! But we believe that in gardening, handcrafted is often the best choice, for the following reasons:

Handcrafted items are unique. You want your garden to stand out, add curb appeal to your home, and gradually evolve as your own showpiece. So why use elements that will be repeated all over town in nearly-identical yards? Handcrafted items will lend that special, one-of-a-kind touch, to make your project truly special.

Handcrafted means quality. With handcrafted items, you can talk directly to the artist, learn about the materials they use, and receive tips on caring for your new addition. This often is not the case with mass-produced products from big-box stores.

Support your local economy. When you buy handcrafted items from a nearby artisan, your money stays in your local economy. Your money doesn’t support a wealthy businessman who owns factories overseas; it now pays for dance lessons, new shoes, or school tuition for the children of a self-employed member of your community.

Add more diversity to your décor. You can find handcrafted items for just about any application in the garden, but we suggest looking for the following:

• Handmade wooden swings or rocking chairs
• Planting containers from a nearby potter
• Arbors and trellises from local woodworkers
• Lawn ornaments from independent artists
• Water features, custom designed and installed to suit your yard
• Fire pits or outdoor fireplaces, built by a local craftsman

These ideas are just the tip of the iceburg. Familiarize yourself with nearby flea markets, artists guilds, and craft fairs, and frequent them regularly. When shopping for new items for your garden, remember to check local newspapers, Craigslist, or Facebook groups for one-of-a-kind items. And, if you’re feeling extra ambitious, perhaps enroll in a workshop or teach yourself how to make your own handcrafted products. Begin to substitute unique, artisan items for mass-produced ones, and your garden will take on a personality of its own.

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