1. Adj.: Describing a person born between 1 Jan. 1946 and 31 Dec. 1964
2. Adj.: Description of a person, place or thing possessing Baby Boomer je ne sais quoi
3. See also, Boomer, Esq.: A Baby Boomer who is also a licensed attorney (See, e.g., About).

Brigantine, New Jersey — Where Lawn Ornaments Go To Die

by Suzanne Fluhr on August 14, 2013 · 69 comments

We raised our sons in a leafy green suburb of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The houses had lawns, but no lawn ornaments, except for perhaps dueling candidate signs during elections. In the arc of my Baby Boomer life, I’m not sure exactly when I stopped seeing politically incorrect and/or cheesy statues on people’s front lawns, but it has definitely been awhile now.

Recently, Mr. Excitement and I took our dog, Dino, out for a stroll around our summer neighborhood in Brigantine, a New Jersey shore town. When I walk Dino by myself, my eyes have to be constantly scanning the sidewalk ahead of him because he will happily consume all manner of detritus. The sea birds that feed on ocean shell fish and crustaceans have figured out that the best way to get at the part they want to eat, is to drop the creatures from the sky onto the hard asphalt of the streets. Consequently, here and there on Brigantine streets one comes across the remnants of gull meals, such as discarded pieces of shells and crab body parts. Dino is fond of the crab pieces, no matter how filthy or desiccated and he is quick. Sometimes he darts forward before I can yank on his leash and starts munching on who knows what — except that it’s crunchy. Once he has something in his mouth, there is no prying it out because if one tries to do so, Mr. Cutest-Sweetest-Dog-in-the-World becomes —  Cujo. One of Dino’s “dietary indiscretions” resulted in a $2,500 vet hospital bill.

Dino Shaming

With two of us escorting Dino on his walk, Steve was supposed to be the one looking out for potential Dino snacks. This gave me the chance to take a good look around. I found myself in a veritable fun house of lawn ornaments of various genres. I whipped out my smart phone so that I could share these treasures with Boomeresque readers.

We’ll start with the quintessential lawn ornaments, pink flamingos — a bird not usually found in coastal New Jersey:

Pink flamingo lawn ornamentsSome lawn ornaments (I’m talking about you Mr. Froggie and bunnies) were just too cute for captions – like this happy family at one house.

lawn ornament frog

 lawn ornament bunnies

In front of another house, I was happy to see a street sign warning of a turtle crossing, pleased that the town is protecting the local wildlife —

turtle crossing sign

             until I saw these guys or gals on the adjacent lawn.

lawn ornament turtles

lawn ornament toad

I found Mr. Toad at the same house — to keep the turtles company (I guess).

seahorse mailbox

Sea creatures are well represented among house ornaments — like, for example, this Seahorse mail box. (That’s Dino looking for crab pieces.)


seahorse mailbox

Then there was this desert lizard gracing another house’s front yard. With the ocean about 100 yards away, he’s going to be in trouble when global warming raises the sea level.


lighthouse house ornament

These people are ready with a lighthouse to guide any boats that might sail up their street. (Actually, during Hurricane Sandy, some boats did sail up this street—but not on purpose.)

And finally, we came upon this little cherub. I’m pretty sure that whatever he’s doing in public is illegal — even in New Jersey.


Have you come across any lawn ornaments lately? Have you ever had any? You can include the URL to a photo you have taken in a comment, or you can just describe them for us.  

{ 63 comments… read them below or add one }

santafetraveler August 14, 2013 at 11:42 am

Good to know kitsch is alive and well on the Jersey shore!


Mike August 14, 2013 at 12:46 pm

What an imaginative, creative post, Suzanne! Love it. I don’t have a post with lawn ornament pictures to share but now you have me thinking about what we do see in the mornings and afternoons on folks porches, walkways and lawns on our walks. There are houses here and there were they may be some sort of wooden or cement creature and Phoenix will begin a staring contest to see who blinks first. And I too am constantly looking down at the sidewalk for undesirable snacks that he may try to snag! Anyhoo, poor Dino! Not fun for him at all but that was very funny on the allowance part of the note 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) August 14, 2013 at 4:56 pm

Thanks, Mike. Yes, Dino was one sick puppy. He had to be on IV fluids for three days and they ran more tests than Steve says they do on their human patients. (He was at the University of Pennsylvania Veterinary Hospital—no discount for faculty pets. (Actually, I think they started one soon after Dino’s stay — after the bill was paid).


Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 14, 2013 at 10:02 pm

I haven’t run into any lawn ornaments on my local walks recently (although I do go past the home of a glass and found-wood artist that has some beautiful pieces of work in her back yard). It sounds like Dino’s appetite is twin to that of my long-haired dachshund Bob. I too have to keep an eagle eye out for dangerous stuff that my voracious dog might find tasty…and keep his health insurance payments current! Best wishes, Leslie


Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) August 15, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I think Dino isn’t covered by Obamacare, so coverage for preexisting conditions (dietary indiscretions) could be a problem.


Patti August 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm

I have to admit I have a gnome, but he sits on the front porch, not in the garden, and I have 4 little gnomes on stakes that keep a diligent watch while hiding in our potted plants.

Dino is going to have to take a part time job to pay his bills!


Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) August 15, 2013 at 9:07 pm

It’s probably prudent to have gnomes protecting the potted plants. Maybe our lack of gnomes explains why our house is where plants go to die.


Roz Warren August 14, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Great photos. My favorite, of course, was of Dino with the vet bill, which, being a dog, he remains blissfully unaware of.


Tina August 16, 2013 at 12:00 am


I absolutely love the photos of Dino, and Dino himself, of course!

When I was about 5 or 6, my brother began working the Garden Dept. of the Sears store in Camden (now a mere memory). One day, he brought home a roughly 20 pound solid concrete Panda. He (the Panda, not my brother) sat at the edge of our patio for about 25 years. Alas, one day he was gone, perhaps off to search for eucalyptus, which is not readily available in northeast Philly. No note, no postcards, nothing. We missed him terribly. On Christmas morning several years later, Dad yelled, “Clara, look out the window.” Both Mom and I ran to the window and threw up the sash. There he (the Panda, not Dad) was, in the middle of the (postage-stamp-sized) row house lawn, a beer can taped to his paws, wearing a lei and a Santa hat. While out, apparently on a years-long bender in Hawaii, he gained the name “Chip”, or at least, someone named Chip’s Santa hat (perhaps he won it playing beer pong or quarters). We quickly moved our newly-named old friend back to his spot by the patio. Long-time neighbors came by and welcomed him home. Every Christmas after that, Mom put his glittery-name Santa hat on him as part of her decorating ritual. Sadly, many years later, again he was gone, this time in a mass kidnapping of lawn ornaments from the entire block. My sister, an avid yard-saler, is always on the lookout for our little buddy, who, should she ever rescue him from his captors, will take up residence in her yard in relative safety (big lawn, big dog, bigger fence) with his new family of lawn ornaments. Fingers crossed (ours, I don’t think Pandas have fingers; if they did, he wouldn’t have needed the tape).


Suzanne Fluhr August 16, 2013 at 8:02 am

Tina, thanks for sharing Chip’s story—-worthy of a blog post all his own. I hope someone is taking good care of him (Chip, not the blog post 😉 ). I’ll keep an eye out for him in Brigantine. Maybe, like many a Philadelphian, he decided to retire “down a shore” in south Jersey.


Leslie in Portland, Oregon August 16, 2013 at 1:31 pm

We’ll keep an eye out for Chip out here in Oregon, just in case he escaped his abductors and made his way West (the long way home to Philadelphia). And woe to those panda-nappers… Hoping, Leslie


Madaline Fluhr August 16, 2013 at 1:27 am

In front of our house in Milpitas, stuck in the earth/Earth – whichever!-is a twirly thing like a pinwheel on steroids that is very colorful and as I walk up the walk to our house, sometimes feeling like “This is ‘ole world is gettin’ me down…” (thank you Carole King) and there’s a slight wind blowing – that crazy spinning multi-colored twirly whirl-a-gig really cheers me up! Go figure.


Suzanne Fluhr August 16, 2013 at 8:05 am

Mads, thanks for sharing. Actually, your comment reminded me of some of Dad’s sculpture people pots who used to live in the ‘rents’ little back yard in Philly. They used to make me smile too.


Madaline Fluhr August 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm

I think lawn ornaments over-all live in a “kinder, gentler” universe. I imagine that’s why some people “love” them and others at least take a moment to be amused/bemused by them!


Arleen August 17, 2013 at 11:16 am

I haven’t seen any lawn or street ornaments where I live. I did notice that when we went to Marco Island Florida there were a lot of houses that had sea lions for mailboxes. I think in my area, people wait for Halloween or Christmas to go lawn nuts.

I have a dachshund and would have been devastated if she got sick on the debris. It is hard because to a dog it is delicacy. The good news is that your dog is fine now.


Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) August 17, 2013 at 10:03 pm

Thanks for sharing your lawn decoration experiences. Unfortunately, we didn’t train Dino well enough. They’re supposed to drop things when commanded to “Drop it!”


Arleen August 20, 2013 at 9:02 pm

Drop it commands sounds great, but when I tell my dog to drop it and she has a bone she ignores me. I have done obedience training with her so you would think she would listen, but then again I have a dachshund and they are stubborn.


Suzanne Fluhr August 20, 2013 at 9:43 pm

I sometimes attribute Dino’s lack of obedience to a low IQ (i.e., he’s not that smart, but he’s very sweet), but he has learned a few tricks and is a reliable “sitter”, so I think perhaps the low dog IQ is actually mine and he is probably just stubborn. 😉


bermtopia August 17, 2013 at 12:46 pm

This is the Neanderthal Neighbor’s frontyard: Half dozen camp chairs, two — count ’em TWO — hammocks and a boat. A small miracle that it’s not up on blocks. We call it “KOA Kampground Cape Cod.”


bermtopia August 17, 2013 at 12:49 pm

Oops. Too much coffee this a.m. . . . and the link:


Suzanne Fluhr (Just One Boomer) August 17, 2013 at 10:07 pm

Hard to believe your neighbor finds to relaxing to lie in a hammock right next to the sidewalk. (Hopefully your Neanderthal Neighbor doesn’t read Boomeresque 😉


Jacqueline Gum (Jacquie) August 19, 2013 at 2:39 am

What a fun post! I lived in Wisconsin for years. The lawns in Milwaukee and in Sturgeon Bay, where we had a summer home, were dotted with any manner of lawn ornaments – from pink flamingos and gazing balls of all colors. But each one…no matter what they were – had something that carried the logo of the Green Bay Packers. I once decorated a stone lion in front of our home with a cheese-head. I wish I had a picture for you 🙂 I’ve never seen anything like it since I left the state.


Suzanne Fluhr August 20, 2013 at 2:33 am

Seriously, when the population of an entire state will happily wear cheese heads to football games, a pink flamingo here or there is totally understandable. 😉


Elizabeth Scott August 19, 2013 at 2:45 am

I have some frogs in my front yard but other then that nothing to crazy. There is a house I will have to remember to take a photo of. They have a mama and baby T-rex in their front yard. At Christmas they put festive lights on them.


Suzanne Fluhr August 20, 2013 at 2:34 am

I assume the T-rex and her baby are not life size — right?


Cassi August 19, 2013 at 8:40 am

I love the seahorse mailbox!

You said Steve was supposed to watch out for Dino snacks. Did he do a good job?


Suzanne Fluhr August 20, 2013 at 2:36 am

Nope. But, it’s not entirely Steve’s fault. We were walking Dino at dusk and a desiccated crab exo-skeleton is rather cement colored, so they blend in with the sidewalk and Dino’s eyes are just that much closer to the ground than ours are, giving him a nano-second of an advantage — and that’s all he needs sometimes.


Debra Yearwood August 19, 2013 at 9:22 am

My sister in-law has started placing little gnomes discreetly in her back yard, they are always good for a laugh when you’re not expecting them. The funniest ornaments are the ones I see when driving in the country. Typically there is a wooden cut out of someone’s backside and legs (generally in bright red spotted pants). From the road it looks like someone bent over working in their yard.


Suzanne Fluhr August 20, 2013 at 2:38 am

Debra, now that you mention it, I have also seen those backsides wearing red spotted pants. Seriously, people, wassup with that??? I guess now that your sister is collecting yard gnomes, you always know what to give her for her birthday.


Catarina August 19, 2013 at 11:22 am

Amazing Suzanne, for me it’s like switching back time. Have not seen such ornaments since the 70s. But apparently they are still popular.


Suzanne Fluhr August 20, 2013 at 2:40 am

Catarina, attachment to lawn ornaments seems to be a neighborhood by neighborhood thing.


ash faulkes August 20, 2013 at 4:12 am

Crazy. Seems to be a hobby over there! When I was looking for flamingo pics for my slideshare post I also saw a sea of these flamingos you have there, pity the pics were not in focus enough for power point.


Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 20, 2013 at 8:03 pm

Ash—if you ever need flamingo pics again, a friend of mine sent me a gorgeous one on FB after reading this post.


Grace August 20, 2013 at 10:37 am

I hope Dino is on the mend and learned his lesson! I loved the photos of the lawn ornaments — crazy what people put up around their house!


Jason B August 20, 2013 at 11:44 am

I haven’t seen any lawn ornaments in a long time. Those were interesting to say the least.


Joanne August 20, 2013 at 12:59 pm

I have a sign that says “Weeds for sale: Pick your own”

Have you ever thought of putting a muzzle on Dino while walking him – to keep him from eating rather then biting 🙂 – Just a thought.


Suzanne Fluhr August 20, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Ha! Great sign. I would feel too mean if I muzzled Dino for walks. He loves interacting with other dogs and people and if I saw a dog with a muzzle, I’d cross the street for sure, but one more near death experience and I might have to reconsider.


Susan Cooper August 20, 2013 at 3:49 pm

I will admit my backyard is a haven for ornaments. I stay within a certain type of garden decor. I love ceramic mushrooms and have them placed all over the yard. 🙂


Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 20, 2013 at 7:56 pm

So, in other words, you keep the joy of gazing upon your ceramic mushrooms all to yourself by confining them to your back yard? 😉 I admit that I’m having trouble picturing a back yard “haven” for ceramic mushrooms.


Jeri August 20, 2013 at 5:26 pm

I went through a lawn ornament phase, mostly gnomes and mushrooms. Most were made of resin and really faded in the sun, so I got rid of most of them when I moved. Now I’m getting into wind chimes. I will admit to always checking out people’s yard art. It can be kitschy, but that’s what so good about it.


Just One Boomer (Suzanne) August 20, 2013 at 8:01 pm

My father was a potter. One of his trademarks was whimsical “people pots”. My parents had them in their back yard and on their front porch. They always made me smile and I still smile when I think about them. We lost Dad in 2011, but his “people” live on.

Wind chimes are nice—as long as you are far enough from your neighbors to be not forcing them to also be into wind chimes. The “white noise” app I use on my smart phone, has “wind chimes” as an option, so apparently, some people are lulled to sleep by them. I’ve never chosen wind chimes to mask noises when I’m trying to sleep — I’ve also never chosen the “crackling fire” option. Can you imagine waking up in a half asleep fugue state and hearing a fire??!!??


Carol Jamison August 21, 2013 at 6:53 am

Love this article about lawn kitsch. Even in my “very proper” New England town, lawn ornaments make their statement. Those you show are either adorable or hilarious, and your captions only add to the fun. Thank you for a very enjoyable post!


Suzanne Fluhr August 21, 2013 at 1:36 pm

Thanks for your comment, Carol. I would have thought staid New Englanders would eschew lawn ornaments. Go figure. 😉


Alison at Diamond-Cut Life August 21, 2013 at 10:49 am

My favorite is the desert lizard who is smart enough to be worried about global warming raising the sea level and flooding his environment.

Also, the sign that your dog is wearing that tells the sad tale of his dietary indiscretions and their cost.

I guess in both cases, I love when creatures get in touch with consequences for actions. 🙂

Thanks for yet another good post, Suzanne.


Suzanne Fluhr August 22, 2013 at 1:20 am

Alison, I would say that the lizard lawn ornament and Dino are approximately the same amount of “in touch” with the consequences of their actions. 😉


Stephanie August 21, 2013 at 10:58 am

Love the post! I’m a Brooklyn girl that moved to South Jersey during my high school years and spent most of my summers hanging out in Wildwood, Cape May, Ocean City and occasionally as far up from CM as Brigantine, the lawn sculptures are numerous, kitschy, but all at once a fun part of being in the area. This brings back good memories because once I moved south (as far as Florida), it wasn’t a part of the culture.
Even the Sopranos represented the kitschy lawn culture of Jersey. Enjoy the rest of your summer at The Shore.


Suzanne Fluhr August 22, 2013 at 1:22 am

Maybe because they have real flamingos in Florida, they don’t have to resort to flamingo lawn ornaments. However, this does not explain the turtles, lizards, bunnies, seahorses and cherubs. 😉


Patricia Weber August 21, 2013 at 3:32 pm

We’ve lived in a gated community since 2009 Suzanne. It’s not howdy touty or hooty snooty, it’s just that lawn ornaments aren’t around much. Gee, maybe I need to read the owners rules? Even so, those pink flamingos are pretty popular in this neck of the country, and sea creatures we see more of in Virginia Beach and down into Nags Head, NC. Nag heads are in that area too, makes sense right? Sounds like a fun family walk!


Suzanne Fluhr August 22, 2013 at 1:25 am

Patricia, homeowners’ associations tend not to take kindly to lawn ornaments. They kind of have to outlaw all of them or else they turn into the “lawn ornament police” and I suspect there is a wide divergence of what people might deem “appropriate”. We have some friends who were not even allowed to have a Portuguese Water Dog flag! (And this is before President Obama was elected, so I don’t think it was politically motivated. ) 😉


Krystyna Lagowski August 21, 2013 at 10:49 pm

Ohmygosh, that’s hilarious. Your dog is too adorable. It’s a good thing I live on the sixth floor, because I >heart< lawn ornaments. They're so kitschy and a throwback to another time, never failing to bring a smile or a laugh. My vote goes to the seahorse mailbox as "extreme kitsch." Great captions and titles!


Suzanne Fluhr August 22, 2013 at 1:28 am

It’s true that apartment living stifles one’s inclination to >heart< lawn ornaments. This is why it's fun to get out of the building sometimes and see what the town folk "down the shore" come up with. I must say, the seahorse mailboxes are so ubiquitous, that they're almost cliche -- but they are definitely smile worthy.


Kire Sdyor August 23, 2013 at 6:17 am

Across the street from our first home was a house with a lawn ornament which was a bright blue sphere on a pedestal. One night the sphere was stolen and the old timer who lived int the house was found searching our yard because he was sure we stole it. Never understood what the sphere was for, why it wasn’t attached to the pedestal or why someone took it. Flamingos, on the other hand, make perfect sense.


Suzanne Fluhr August 23, 2013 at 10:43 am

Now that you mention it, I remember lawn ornaments that were blue spheres. I haven’t seen any of those in Brigantine, however. The lawn ornament theme here seems to definitely trend towards animals.


Mary-andering Creatively August 28, 2013 at 8:32 am

I have not come across any lawn ornaments lately, but I really haven’t paid attention. I plan to take my camera out next time and see what I see. I have only a bird bath in my little garden square next to the road. Thanks for sharing this. I love the lizard too. I really couldn’t tell if it is real or not?


Suzanne Fluhr August 29, 2013 at 4:04 am

I had to do a double take at the Lizard too and my husband jumped when I pointed him out. Not that I’m looking, I’ve seen some other great lawn ornaments—easily enough for another blog post. Maybe I’ll make it an annual thing.


Ava Chin July 13, 2014 at 5:26 am

Hilarious! Poor Dino, but I loved the lawn ornaments—from the seahorse to the cherub. The only lawn ornaments I usually notice are the mushrooms that crop up after a good rain 😉


Jackie July 13, 2014 at 11:17 am

I haven’t been to Brigantine in years. I don’t recall it being so quaint! I’ll have to see if I can get back there some day soon 🙂


Suzanne Fluhr July 13, 2014 at 5:05 pm

I don’t think “quaint” is the word I’d use to describe Brigantine. Cape May is quaint. Brigantine is—I don’t know—-it just is.


Elaine J. Masters May 21, 2015 at 1:39 pm

What a wonderful post. I love taking walks around neighborhoods, near home and especially someplace new. There’s something about seeing how others live (I’d like to think it’s not voyeurism!) The lawn ornaments are hilarious and beautiful.


Rena McDaniel May 22, 2015 at 12:36 pm

What a fun post! I have just a few our dog with the solar lantern hanging from his mouth. A poodle and probably a frog somewhere out there. Mom used to have those pink flamingos when we were kids!


Doreen McGettigan May 22, 2015 at 2:41 pm

I have never, ever been a fan of lawn ornaments until recently. I think they are starting to remind me of being a kid in my North Philadelphia neighborhood. my grandparents had concrete lions and a jockey holding a lantern (they had horses.)
The flamingos are all over Florida lawns and my husband loves them which goes to prove one mans trash:) I am softening up to them.
Great post!


Suzanne Fluhr May 22, 2015 at 6:29 pm

Doreen, that is a riot—lions in North Philly. Your parents had horses in North Philly?


The GypsyNesters May 22, 2015 at 4:52 pm

We too are L.O. aficionados. The Victorian gazing globes are a favorite – we even owned one once. A helpful hint: If you live in a college neighborhood, even one with lots of “mature” grad students, the VGG’s are too much for them to not want to heist.


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