Originally believed to ward off evil spirits and bring good luck, gazing balls have been used as garden decor for centuries.
However, with such superstitions being less believed in the modern ages, they are now used in gardens all around the world simply as beautiful ornaments that provide an interesting focal point, drawing the eye to the next area of your garden.
They’re also the perfect way of creating an illusion of extra space within your garden. Mirroring their surroundings and reflecting the sky, gazing balls make the area around them seem a lot bigger than it is. This makes them a perfect addition to any smaller outdoor garden space or courtyard.
Not all gazing balls are mirrored, though. Many are available in different colors, patterns, and textures, great for placing around your garden as points of interest. Some can even be used as water features to bring a tranquil sound to your outdoor space.
When purchasing a gazing ball, there are a few options available to you online, and finding the right one for your garden can seem a little daunting. It’s an ornament that will be in your garden a while, so it’s important to get the right one.
To give you a better idea of what’s available, we’ve listed our five favorite gazing balls below, along with a handy buying guide that will help you find the best gazing ball for your outdoor space. Keep reading to learn more!
If you’re in a hurry and need to find a shiny garden ball that will add an attractive, dramatic focal point to your garden, take a look at our top pick below.
Gazing Balls – Comparison Table
Gazing Balls – Reviews
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Buyer’s Guide For Gazing Balls
If you’re looking to add a gazing ball (or two) to your garden, it’s important to make sure you get one that will not only become a point of interest but will also complement the surrounding planting and not look out of place.
However, before settling on your final decision, there are a few things to remember. We’ve outlined some key points below to help you make the best choice and find the perfect gazing ball for your garden.
What size should your gazing ball be?
The first thing you’ll want to think about is how big the area you’re looking to place one of these reflective balls into is, and then look into how big the ball is itself. If you set a smaller ball into a large flower bed, it will become totally lost and have absolutely no effect, especially during the growing season.
Likewise, placing a large ball into a smaller border will dominate the planting and will look entirely out of place.
It’s all about finding the perfect balance and getting the ball to work in harmony with your existing landscaping, so head outside with a tape measure and ensure that both the ball and the garden area will work together to create a beautiful space.
Traditionally, gazing balls have a mirrored surface that reflects light and surroundings. However, there are loads of colored and patterned choices available that can bring a different level of interest to your garden.
Give some thought to what you want your gazing ball to achieve before you purchase one. If you want to create an illusion of extended space, then a mirrored one would be the best choice. If you’d like a gazing ball to provide an unusual, dramatic focal point, a colored one would be a great choice.
Depending on the design of your garden, look for a colored or patterned gazing ball that will work in harmony with the existing garden design. Anything that’s on the opposite side of the color wheel will pull focus from the garden itself. Again, it’s all about finding that perfect harmony between both.
Your gazing ball is going to be outside and will have to face a variety of weather conditions that it will need to withstand without showing any signs of damage. So, always be sure to look at what material the ball is made of.
Stainless steel balls are a good choice as they can take a fair amount of rain without showing any signs of corrosion. They are very durable, so if they were to be blown across your garden in a particularly bad storm, they are unlikely to smash or crack.
Ceramic gazing balls are also an excellent weather-resistant choice. However, they are much more fragile, so they may suffer some damage from strong winds and stormy conditions.
Give a bit of thought to the weight of your gazing ball as well. You’ll most likely want to place it in a position where it will stay for a long time as part of a specific design, so it will need to have enough weight to ensure it stands in place without moving.
However, if you have a container garden that is constantly evolving and changing, you may want to think about getting a gazing ball that is lighter in weight. That way, you can easily move it around and change the layout of your garden whenever you want.
During the Victorian era, the butlers used gazing balls in high society to see if their guests needed anything without staring or hovering over the table.
The history of gazing balls
Glass balls were first made in the 1300s in Venice, Italy. Since the 13th century, they’ve brought light and color to gardens everywhere. They became popular among kings because they were expensive and beautiful. After first being used as ornaments for Christmas, they were also used in gardens. And they are still used in gardens to this day.
They’re also known by many other names:
- garden globes
- good luck balls
- pond balls
- glass balls
- yard globes
- butler globes
- globes of happiness
Happiness is definitely what they bring. Even today, you can find a variety of beautiful lawn globes displayed in gardens and yards around the country and even in other parts of the world.
Garden globes were originally created by skilled artisans. And today, you can get them in various sizes, ranging from two inches to as much as two feet in diameter (and sometimes more).
In the 20th century, we saw a resurgence of the popularity of gazing balls in the United States as a sign of wealth and prosperity.
What are the best places to add a gazing ball?
Gazing balls can be placed in various locations throughout your garden or outdoor space to add charm and visual interest. Here are some of the best places to put gazing balls:
- Flowerbeds – nestle gazing balls among flowers and plants to create a focal point and add a pop of color.
- Pathways – line your walkways with gazing balls to create a magical and inviting atmosphere.
- Under trees – install a yard ball under a tree to create a serene and enchanting ambiance.
- Rock gardens – glass balls can complement the natural beauty of rock gardens and enhance their appeal.
- Fairy gardens – add light and fun to a fairy garden with one of these miniature fairy globes.
- Swimming pool or pond – if you own a pool or backyard pond and want a touch of whimsy at night, add a few lighted floating pond balls (this set is solar powered and so pretty!)
Add a ball pedestal
Ball pedestals will give more height and visibility to any glass sphere: a nice way to attract the eye to these beautiful pieces of glass art.
Gazing balls and their impact on Christmas tradition
King Ludwig II of Bavaria is credited for making these lawn ornaments popular. he was nicknamed “Mad King Ludwig” and he would often hang the glass spheres in trees as well as display them on pedestals, and he even had them floated in ponds.
A little-known fact is that Ludwig’s use of glass balls in trees led to the creation of reflective glass ornamentation during the Christmas holidays. I bet you’ll never look at a Christmas tree ball quite the same way again.
Solar-powered globes are often used as decorative items but provide helpful illumination when placed near plants too. A solar gazing ball is an excellent choice for those who wish to illuminate their garden. You can choose from many different colors and designs to suit your taste.
Frequently Asked Questions
There’s something for everyone, from dark gazing balls to the classic silver garden globe to classical designs and modern gazing balls. What are some common questions people have about this popular garden ornament?
What is a gazing ball?
Gazing balls are round balls used to create a focal point in the garden. They will create interesting points of interest to draw the eye to certain areas of the garden. They are highly reflective and great for creating an illusion of extended space and adding more light to shadier areas.
Can gazing balls be left out in the winter?
It depends. Garden globes made from glass or ceramic are better stored inside during the cold months. With the cold, freezing temperatures, they can break easily. If you have stainless steel outdoor balls, it’s your choice. They lose most of their charm in the winter, as the vegetation around them is gone.
Do gazing balls scare birds?
Shiny little lawn balls might scare some birds away if positioned just right to catch the sun’s rays. But the large, decorative balls will instead attract birdies.
Do gazing balls attract birds?
Absolutely! Especially if you place your gazing balls close to a birdbath. Birds will likely believe there are more birds as they see their reflection in the shiny ball.
Do gazing balls scare deer?
Probably not. If deer are bothering your flower beds and veggies, here’s how to stop them.
How to clean gazing balls
To clean the interior, squirt some dishwashing liquid, add some water, and swish around. Dump the water and rinse well.
Next, clean the exterior of the garden ball with a kitchen sponge, rinse it, and set it on a towel to dry. Once dry, spray some window cleaner and dry it with a paper towel to restore its original shine.
You are now ready to place your lawn ball back outside. It’s that easy! Taking care of your gazing balls will help them last long.
These reflective globes are sometimes placed in fairy gardens or presented on a pedestal on the front porch. No matter what kind of gazing balls you use and how you display them, you can feel confident they will bring a bright feel to your property.
Many believe they attract positive energy and can repel negative energy or harmful spirits. Whether you think it has these protective qualities or appreciate it for decorative use, you now have some great ideas to add to your outdoor decor.
It’s a wonderful way to brighten up your garden! Which of these is your favorite?
Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project.