San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

On the Outside: Decorating Your Outdoor Space

A garden may have a beautiful design,the perfect color scheme and that inspiredblend of plants that makes it a joy tobehold – but without a place to sit and takeit all in, or perhaps a sculpture to set offthe greenery, it may be missing that certainsomething.That’s where Escazú’s Artemármol andFuentes Ornamentales, and Guanacaste’sMiki Landscape Design, come in, with gardenfurniture, art and fountains to order.Lilly Jiménez, who specializes in gardendecoration at furniture and interiordesign center Artemármol, said the storehas seen an increase in demand for gardenfurniture and ornaments because of growinginterest in outside decoration.“The garden is very important today,”she said. “People are giving more attentionto the exterior. Any little corner that hasgood light can be made into a marvel.”With this in mind, Artemármol, likeother garden decoration businesses, doesmost of its work to order, so that the resultsmeet each client’s individual needs andspace requirements.“WE visit clients, find out the stylethey want, the kind of garden they have,and we make a budget with a sketch,”Jiménez said.Among the options: furniture madewith weather-resistant cloth, iron, aluminumor wood; planters for both outsideand inside the house; and stone fountains.The store manufactures its own products,except iron garden furniture.Clients can also hire Artemármol staffto provide assessment and advice on gardendecoration, with or without the store’sproducts.Jiménez said garden decorators inCosta Rica must be able to accommodatethe variety of styles that exist here.“Now, we’re seeing minimalist gardens:small plants, a certain symmetry, lotsof rocks (as decoration),” she said, addingthat “the Zen garden, a more Japanesestyle” is another growing trend. Still, oldertrends such as exuberant tropical gardenswith large fountains, or European-stylegardens with orderly, neatly trimmedplants, remain popular, she said – creatingdemand for a wide variety of decorations.Artemármol is located 300 meters westof the Centro Comercial Colonial in thewestern San José suburb of Escazú, and isopen 9 a.m.-6:30 p.m., Monday-Friday, and10 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturday. For more information,call Lilly or Cristina at 289-9595.MIKE Krepin, of Playa Negra inGuanacaste, defies the northwesternprovince’s dry, hot weather with fountainsand ponds that give gardens a unique look.“The imagination is the limit,” said theowner of Miki Landscape Design, whichalso provides general garden-design services(see separate story). “You can justreally change the feel of the environmentwith a pond near a patio, and give it a tropicalfeel. You hear the water running atnight as you are sleeping.”Such designs don’t need to use a lot ofwater, he said – a plus during Costa Rica’sdry season.“Ponds circulate the same water,” hesaid. “In the dry season, you sometimeshave to add a little water because of evaporation,but (we) always shade it to keepevaporation to a minimum.”Most ponds the company designs areabout 15 feet by three feet and run $500-1,000.“I like doing curving ones, maybe witha cascading waterfall or other water features,like pots bursting out water,” he said.Fountains or creative designs, such asrock walls with water dripping down, run$250-600 depending on features andpump size.For those looking beyond the life aquatic, Krepin, who can be reached at658-8270, offers lawn ornaments and pre-Columbian-inspired statues and spheres.Of the large stone spheres – whichhave puzzled archaeologists and anthropologistsalike, since it is not clear whatmachinery or technique early Costa Ricanpeople could have used for their manufacture– Krepin said most of those seen onlawns throughout the country are fake,although a few, such as the sphere in frontof the Daniel Oduber InternationalAirport in Guanacaste’s capital, Liberia,are genuine.SPHERES, squares, any shape imaginablecan be accommodated at FuentesOrnamentales, located 200 meters east,300 north and 100 east of the HermanosMontes gas station in Escazú.The store offers concrete designsincluding fountains, benches, tables, walkwaysand other decorations, and “with allof these, we can play around a lot,” ownerBernard Pohlond said. “If the client has anidea or a special design, we’ll do it… andwhat we don’t have, we invent.”Fountains manufactured at the storeinclude platos, in which the water cascadesdown, and chorros, where the water spurtsupward. Pohlond said it is virtually impossibleto give an average price for fountains,since they vary widely – Fuentes Ornamentalescan create smaller, economicfountains or larger and more costlydesigns.One of the store’s most popular products,a concrete garden set including a tablewith three benches, starts at $98.Pohlond agreed with Artemármol’sJiménez that demand for all things exteriorhas grown in recent years.“The demand has increased, and nowwe have new product lines, such as moldingsfor window decorations,” he said.To view Fuentes Ornamentales’ designs,visit

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