30 Of The Most Bizarre Things Seen In People’s Gardens And Yards, As Shared On This Instagram Account For Ugly GardensInterview
A person’s garden, lawn, and yard are their pride and joy. No matter how horrendously bizarre, ugly, eccentric, and eldritch it might look! There’s a certain beauty in ugliness and we shouldn’t be shy about sharing it with the world. And if our neighbors get mad, well that’s when you show them this captivating Instagram account that features weird and ugly gardens in all their decadent glory. Beautiful is boring, but ugly can be beautiful.
Created by English and history teacher James Hull and landscape architect Bede Brennan, the Instagram project has already amassed a whopping 124k followers and continues to grow. Much like the weeds digging their roots ever-deeper in some of these lawns.
Have a look at the very best (or is that worst?) gardens below, upvote the ones that are so bad they’re starting to seem quite nice, and let us know which of these dystopian nightmares you loved looking at the most. Just take care not to get lost in the weeds, otherwise, we’ll have to send out a Panda search party. We just hope the garden gnomes won’t notice us… golly that’s a lot of gnomes!
I had a lovely chat with Bede and James about their fantastic project. The warm duo answered my questions, from the origins of the Instagram account itself to what sustains their passion for the project and how a garden doesn't have to be classically beautiful to stand out. You'll find their cheerful interview with Bored Panda below, so be sure to have a read, dear Pandas!
"It all started as an in-joke between friends about gardens we’d see that weren’t necessarily bad, they just had a funny vibe or a weird aesthetic," Bede and Jame told Bored Panda that everything began with some comments about how a particular garden might be ugly.
According to the duo, it's not just traditionally beautiful gardens that can be works of art. Bizarre and ugly yards can have artistic merit, too. "We love the way people put themselves out there with their gardens. Gardens are a really personal thing and are always on display out the front of your home. They require huge amounts of effort and upkeep too," they said. And anyone who's ever put in the hours to tend to their garden, no matter how small, is likely to agree that it's back-breaking labor!
One of the main things that keep James and Bede passionate about running the Instagram garden project is how it brings them together with fans from unusual places. "We love being able to interact with people around the globe through the medium of humor. Getting submissions from places we’ve never even heard of is always super interesting."
I was curious to get the founders' take on whether one of the main draws of 'ugly' photos is that they stand out very clearly among the stream of 'perfect' and curated pics that we usually find in our social media feeds. "Certainly, there is something about the ugly aesthetic which stands out on Instagram, a garden doesn’t have to be classically beautiful to stand out, make you happy, or be a landmark in the real world either," they shared their opinion.
Both Bede and James admitted that they aren't sure where exactly the line between well and poorly-designed gardens and good and bad yards lies. "That’s what is fun," they pointed out that not knowing is part of the appeal.
Finally, I was dying to find out why so many people seem utterly obsessed with garden gnomes. It feels like there's never just one or two of them guarding someone's lawn, but droves and droves of the figurines. "Neither of us has ever owned a garden gnome, but we imagine there must be something exhilarating about it, perhaps almost drug-like because once someone has one they seem to get a habit. If we have one bit of advice, it's to be careful of garden gnomes."
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The entire project is meant as a celebration, not a condemnation of “horticulturally challenged yards and gardens” from all over the globe. And while this ugliness certainly is appealing (if you gaze long enough into the abyss, it’ll start gazing into you as well), it’s also bound to make at least some of you Pandas want to get your lawnmower and pressure washer.
Some of the garden design choices are truly baffling. There’s an overwhelming number of decorations that shouldn’t ever have left the shop (or factory if we’re truly honest) to begin with.
Meanwhile, the landscaping in some yards looks like something you’d get when you cross M.C. Escher’s work with Salvador Dalí’s paintings. Non-Euclidian geometry and bizarre forms seem to be the name of the game. And this loving madness seems contagious.
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The founders of the project, James and Bede, spoke to Land8 about their Instagram page. They noted that the account is as much about endearingly weird gardens as it is about truly horrible yards.
“Neglected expanses of concrete, weed harboring swamps, or lifeless and loveless colored gravel,” they gave some examples. “These are not our main focus, though they are sometimes worth a laugh.”
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Some of the things that these strangely-designed (and sometimes poorly-kept) gardens might have include “grand statues, mid-century breeze blocks, and unprofessionally restored historic items.” According to the founders, nobody on Planet Earth is exempt from having weird and bad gardens. However, some hotspots include Melbourne which is a “Mecca for this aesthetics,” as well as the United States. Especially the central states.
“I think we felt that suburban Melbourne and its gardeners had a very unique approach. We’re not doctorates or anything. We’ve studied a little bit of history, a little bit of philosophy, this and that. There’s a sense of homage to a lot of ancient Greek and Roman cultures, and in front yards it is often quite dramatic. There’s just these interesting narratives that spring up from the gardens,” James told New York Magazine.
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He reiterated that the goal of the account isn’t to make fun of anyone but to celebrate how much these gardens “enrich and liven up our suburbs.” The goal? To help fight boredom. Imagine how boring life would be if you didn’t have some contrast and clashing aesthetics once in a while. Peaceful suburban life? Yuck! Give us weirdness and ugliness. And don’t forget the garden gnomes!