Accent pieces handcrafted from granite best suit outdoor spaces, as they seamlessly align with natural surroundings and add an element of lasting elegance that will never go out of style. Rather than give into fads and trends involving mass-produced products, consider the timeless, handcrafted granite ornamental treasures from Swenson Granite Works — chess tables, compasses, sundials, and millstones. Classic and enduring, these ageless decorative items bring antiquity and functional beauty to your yard.
Also consider the moon gate, a decorative dry stone walling feature, for your garden. This timeless architectural feature can actually be constructed with the Swenson Granite Works fire pit.
“Much more than an afterthought, garden ornaments can guide how you shape and use your outdoor space, and affect how it feels when you're in it,” says Susan Heeger of This Old House magazine.
These ornamental elements will add natural beauty, solidity, and permanence to your outdoor space. They can be produced in seven colors and are virtually maintenance-free, naturally durable and will last for generations.
An outdoor living space should bring people together, and a granite chess table will do just that. This classic game is something that both players and onlookers can appreciate.
Even strangers can become friends over a game of outdoor chess. Take the town of Danvers, Massachusetts for instance, where the Rotary Club of Danvers donated a granite chess table and benches handcrafted by Swenson Granite Works to the front yard of the Peabody Institute Library of Danvers.
John Somes, a Danvers Rotarian and CEO of the Danvers Community YMCA emphasized its popularity, "as soon as they came in," he said, "people were sitting and reading out here, occasionally having lunch, and I think this is going to be a big hit."
Create lasting beauty in your yard with a handcrafted granite compass. When set properly, it is a functional conversation piece that adds a touch of history with its nod to the past.
A compass from Swenson Granite Works does a lot with a little — it’s a modest-sized lawn ornament that adds a finishing touch without taking up too much space.
For homeowners proud about where they call home, Swenson can engrave your state in the center of the compass.
Although we don’t necessarily need the sundial to tell time anymore, it makes an ageless decorative item and unique time telling piece that can still be appreciated today. Swenson Granite Works carries granite sundial bases, as well as metal armillary spheres and bronze sundials that come with instructions on how to position correctly in order to set the time. Custom engraving is available.
Here’s a tip on how to use this age-old tool: place it in a location that receives full sun throughout the entire day. At noon, set the gnomon (the piece that sticks up) to True North. Then, check your sundial for accuracy as the day goes on.
A granite post can also be used as a sundial base.
A granite millstone fits right in on a pastoral farm just beyond the city limits or in your own yard. This timeless piece has handcrafted details and roughly hewn edges that bring an old-world look and feel to what might otherwise be a modern-day outdoor space. Swenson Granite Works can help you bring this piece of rustic elegance and charm to your home by customizing the size and color so you can treasure it for a lifetime.
There are many creative uses for granite millstones in front yards and backyards. A granite millstone can stand on its own; be set into a driveway or patio design; used for seating; used as an entry step; or crafted into a water feature.
This paver driveway in Alton, New Hampshire features a Swenson Granite Works millstone in the center. The homeowner did the driveway paver design — three long curved lines that intersect in the middle.
While he was away, his wife thought it would be a nice idea to install a millstone in the center as a surprise birthday gift. Once the project was completed by Nature’s Elite Landscaping, the homeowners were thrilled with the outcome. “Swenson, as always, provided excellent service and installation on this project,” says Steve Mitchell, owner of Nature’s Elite Landscaping.
Did you know that a Swenson Granite Works fire pit can serve another purpose? Jared Flynn, professional dry stone waller and Founder of The Stone Trust, said that when he saw one of these fire pits, he instantly knew it could become a moon gate. “As a professional waller, you start to see things differently, and when I saw the fire pit I saw it’s value and all the work that went into cutting it so perfectly with so much friction,” said Flynn. “I just knew I could make an excellent moon gate with this product.”
The moon gate, a circular opening in a garden wall, is an ancient Chinese landscape element that acts as a portal between gardens as well as between inside and outside. These gates have many different spiritual meanings, but their main purpose when first designed by the Chinese was to view a full moon. Today in the garden, a moon gate is used as a decorative dry stone walling feature.
This moon gate, crafted by Jared Flynn, features the granite fire pit and Woodbury Gray granite steps cut to length used to go up and over the wall.
Flynn said, “It’s the quality and design of the fire pit by the craftsmen at Swenson that allow people like me to take this product and do something else with it. I wouldn’t have the precision to cut 32 pieces of granite that would fit perfectly together, and it also wouldn’t be economically feasible for me to do so. I was so grateful for all the work that was already done for me.”
Your local Swenson Granite store can help you incorporate any of these timeless ornamental treasures into your outdoor living space. We can assist with everything from choosing your stone to tips on DIY projects to custom one-of-a-kind projects.
Find more inspiration for your garden with a tour through some of New England’s most beautiful backyard spaces. Download our inspiration guide here.