Copper Garden Ball


In an informal survey conducted over the last five years, I have found that 98.23% of all “garden ball” garden accessories are tacky. Mirror-finished in garish colors, balanced on dinky metal stands, and embellished with wire butterflies (you know the ones!), these terrible things make me almost angry. I think they’re awful.

And when I think of traditional garden balls, I ask myself, “what went wrong?” Big stone orbs, with their patina of moss and lichen are gorgeous! So architectural, so stately! And those mercury glass gazing balls that grace English gardens? Elegant! Transcendent! But the new knock-offs lack all the glory of the originals.

And I want that glory in my garden.

So with a garage sale bowling ball and a can of textured spray paint, I was able to make an understated, classic garden ball, and for under $5, too. It was a very easy project and with tons of variations, this piece has endless possibilities. I used a hammered copper spray paint, but dark bronze, or black gunmetal would also give a great effect. Or cover your bowling ball with sheet moss and plunk in a stately urn for a gracious Veranda magazine look. And while I lazily plop my garden ball in my garden’s groundcover sprawl, this garden ball would look amazing as part of a water feature.


I found my bowling ball at a garage sale for $1. It’s personalized (‘sup, “Nancy”?) and bears a Brunswick emblem, but such details are next to the finger holes, so all these unsightlies will go face-down in the dirt and never be seen again. (In the past I’ve gotten cracked/unusable bowling balls from the bowling alley for free, and that’s a great option, too.) My all-time favorite spray paint is Rustoleum Hammered Spray Paint because it looks like something with style, not just a coat of spray paint. I used the color “Copper,” but it comes in lots of other metallic finishes and some cool colors (Red?!) to work with your garden’s style. A layer of oil-based stain would give a great dimension to any spray painted base coat, too.