Dakota Murphey, Decoration, Garden Design, How To

How to Choose a Garden Sculpture

A garden statue or sculpture can be the perfect finishing touch to your garden. Choose a beautiful artefact and carefully position it to draw the eye towards it. A well placed garden ornament can highlight certain parts of the garden and break up the monotony of the planting to create extra interest – particularly during the winter months when outdoor areas may look sparse.

Focal points such as statues, garden sculptures, planting pots and seating areas should fit in with the overall design and layout of the garden. A well thought through garden design will make sure the space is used to best effect, including the shape of the lawn and patio area that will guide the eye from one area of garden to the other, creating interest, or the illusion of space if necessary.

Before you choose your favourite piece of garden art, consider the view from the house for the best location to position your garden ornament. Would it enhance the view from the kitchen window? Draw the eye down the garden path, coming to rest on your feature sculpture like a visual full stop?

If you’re not sure, it’s always worth consulting an experienced garden designer to help you incorporate art into your garden to best effect.

What architectural style of sculpture should you choose?

If truth be told, there is no such thing as choosing the ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ statue for your garden – at the end of the day, it all comes down to your own personal taste. The only guiding principle is that your choice of sculpture should complement and enhance the rest of your garden design.

If you have a baroque style of garden, one or several white classical marble statues cleverly positioned might make a fabulous feature. However, in the context of a modern garden setting, they might look totally out of place. If you do have a penchant for classical garden statues (but no grounds of a stately home to put them in), less is definitely more. Choose a weathered version that blends in better visually than a pure white sculpture.

figure sculpture
Source: Ultimate Home Ideas
stone sculptures
Source: Ideal Home
stone lions
Source: The Middle Sized Garden

How to choose a modern garden sculpture

For modern looking statues, there’s plenty of choice available in garden centres while inspiration can be found in parks and open air museums everywhere. Of course, it is also possible to commission some bespoke art for your garden, or indeed create your own.

Media used to create garden art can include anything and everything – from traditional stone such as granite, slate or flint, to weathered metals, ceramics, glass, wood, composite and recycled materials and even plastic.

Modern sculptures can look amazing when teamed with contemporary garden paving or rendered retaining walls.

modern circle sculpture
Source: Andy Sturgeon
abstract modern sculpture
Source: Garden Photos
copper circle art
Source: Lisa Cox Designs

How to accessorise a natural garden

For naturalistic garden styles, sculptures made from natural materials may work best. In fact, a natural setting will accommodate virtually any type of sculpture. Look for quirky interpretations in wood, metal or wicker – or living structures such as planting, hedging and topiary – to add intrigue and enchantment to your garden.

tree carving
Source: Lush Home
flower art
Source: Tom Hare
topiary creature
Source: heardhome.com

If you’re not sure exactly what sort of statue will work in your garden, use photography to help you visualise the end result. Take a picture of your garden – or at least the area where you’re envisioning a feature sculpture – and take another picture of a statue you like. Next, superimpose one over the other to give you an idea of what it would look like. You can use Photoshop or literally cut and paste one photo over the other.

Can you make your own garden art?

If you’re on a tight budget or don’t like any of the sculptures available, why not make your own? As an alternative to buying traditional statues or investing in modern garden art, there are lots of ways that you can turn everyday objects into attractive outdoor focal points, using a bit of creative inspiration, perhaps some paint and careful positioning.

tire swan
Source: Upcycled Wonders
plastic flowers
Source: Notey
mosaic tiles
Source: Garden Lovers Club

Dakota Murphey

Dakota Murphey is an independent content writer who regularly contributes to the horticulture industry. She enjoys nothing more than pottering around her gardening in the sunshine. Find out what else Dakota has been up to on Twitter, @Dakota_Murphey.