Here’s a little excerpt from the new Great Garden Formula 3.0 online course…

A garden statue or sculpture make a perfect focal point when positioned correctly. The job of a good focal point is to draw the eye to certain parts of the garden as well as break up the monotony of the planting to create additional interest. They are especially valuable in the winter months when the plants are not flowering.


Where you put a statue comes down to the design and layout of the garden. A well-designed garden will utilise the space well, and the shapes of the lawn patio areas will draw the eye from one side of the garden to create interest and the illusion of space, if needed.

Focal points, like statues, pots, seating and sculptures can then be placed at each turn in direction, as shown in the example image below.


The effectiveness of the garden focal point placement all comes down to what it lines up with. So, for example, the end of a view from your kitchen window might be the perfect place to put a statue. Or, you might wish to have it at a diagonal to your window to draw the eye to the far side of the garden. Other great places are at the end of paths, like a visual full stop.

What type of statue should you choose?

Well, let’s first start with what shouldn’t choose. Unless you have a baroque style of garden then I would suggest you avoid the pure white classical looking statues. Now, I should point out that this is my personal taste, rather than a major design faux pas. I don’t like the white statues because to me they look out of place in most modern garden settings, and if anything, they tend to remind me of cemeteries.

If you do like the classical style of statues, then considered the weathered versions that you can buy. These tend to be a more grey colour and look older and therefore don’t stick out like a sore thumb in the middle of the garden, as shown below.

Classical garden statues that have been ‘aged’.

There are plenty of modern looking statues and sculptures available in garden centres these days. Everything from modern art to natural rock formations, some of which have had a hole drilled in them and everything in between.

Modern garden sculptures

Choosing statues and sculptures is a very personal thing, it’s really it’s down to your own personal taste as much as anything. If you love the white classical statues then go for it. If you’re not sure exactly what is going to work well in your garden, then take a look at the other materials that you can use.

Sculptures from Burghley House and Hanna Pescar Sculpture Garden, UK

If you’ve gone for very modern paving and rendered retaining walls, then a more modern statue is obviously going to work much better than something very traditional and vice versa.

If you have a very natural garden style, then sculptures made from more natural materials like wood look good. A natural setting will take pretty much any type of sculpture though because there is nothing to clash with it material-wise. Both classical and very modern sculptures will look good in a natural setting, as shown in the example photographs above.

A quick cheat to tell if you’ve got the right statue or sculpture

If you take a photograph of your garden and then one of the statue or sculpture that you wish to use and either Photoshop it in or trace over the shape or cut it out and stick it on to the photograph in the location that you plan to put it in, that will give you a really good idea of how it’s going to look.

On a tight budget? Make your own garden sculpture

Of course, you could always make something yourself. My parents garden was absolutely littered with my DIY sculpture attempts. I think my mother was very relieved when that particular phase came to an end. I realised this when they moved house – they left them for the new owners to enjoy!

In Part 2 of garden focal points we’ll look at alternatives to buying traditional statues and sculptures and look at more natural alternatives as well as everyday objects that you can easily turn into an attractive focal point with a bit of paint and careful positioning.

Need Help to Design Your Garden?

If you’d like to know much, much more then take a look at the all-new Great Garden Formula 3.0 Course that will tell you in details how to design your own perfect garden.

I will warn you, it is a BIG course, suitable for very keen amateurs that are possibly thinking about doing garden design for a living or for professional designers who want to get faster at designing and improve their current skill set.

If you’re looking for a smaller, basic course on garden design, then check the Small Garden Formula courses here:

Not ready for a full course yet? Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

Register on this page:



Rachel Mathews
Rachel Mathews

Professional international garden designer for over 30 years. My mission is to de-mystify garden design and make it easy for people to successfully design their own garden - without needing to spend a fortune!

    20 replies to "Garden focal points – Statues and sculptures: How to choose the right ones"

    • Nick Mallory

      This was a great article. I like to add a bit of flair to my garden, but I've seen too many people who's statuary makes their garden look tacky and weird. Thanks for helping me to avoid the white statuary; I didn't realize that wasn't the best option. I'll try to create good focal points for my garden with my statuary!

    • Rachel Mathews

      Thank you so much Nick. I am delighted that you enjoyed the article and helped to avoid the mistakes in your garden. I am sure your garden is beautiful! Anyway, if you have any questions, let me know and I will be happy to help.

    • Drew Harrison

      For me, I try and get really subtle statues for my garden. Some people like to go for the big greek statues, but that's not my style. I will admit that I have a few of the cliche gnomes hidden in a few places. I think it boils down to what your personaility is.

    • Rachel Mathews

      Thank you for your comment Drew. I agree with you. The garden design should absolutely reflect the personality of a designer. So, if cliche gnomes make you happy – let them be the part of your design 😉

    • Megan Earl

      I LOVE garden statues. I feel like they're the perfect way to spruce up any lawn. They allow you to be unique and to make your garden really stand out. I really like the idea of making your own garden statue. I'm on a pretty tight budget, so maybe that would be a good idea for me. You should post some pictures of your parents' DIY statue attempts!

    • Steven Harrison

      Thanks for this thorough article! I'd love to add a nice statue or two to my garden. I love the look of these gardens. I like the idea of the large face, it definitely stimulated the imagination. I'm going to consider some DIY approaches to making statues. I'll have to do more research, but thank you for getting me off to a good start.

    • Callie Marie

      I love spending time in my garden, so I have spent the summer planting lots of pretty flowers. There is no more space for plants, but I think it needs a focal point to tie everything together. Using garden statues to lead the eye across the yard is great advice. I'll have to find some classic-style statues like the ones you used in your example.

    • Dave Thompson

      My wife and I are working and creating a garden in our backyard. We are trying to decide on a statue to put in the garden to liven it up just a little bit more. The more modern statues you picture are what we are leaning more towards. The broken face one on the end is kind of what I pictured being in my garden. Thanks for the post.

    • Sam Fisher

      My mother is someone who has always loved the outdoors. Given that fact, she is also someone who buy a lot of things online and sticks them in our garden. I think that there are more statues than plants to be honest. Either way, I know she cares about the way it looks and I want to do my part to help out. I'm thinking about getting her a new statue for her birthday in a couple of weeks.

    • Logan Murphy

      I think I like the idea of a DIY garden statue. My wife and I have started our own garden and she wants to spruce it up a little. I've been looking for some cheap ideas we could do to add some flare to our garden. My wife loves to make things so I think she will like this idea. Do you have any tips of what kind of material we should use to make our own sculpture? Thanks for the great tips! <a href='; ></a&gt;

    • Lana Sgd

      Hi Megan,
      I so agree with you. Right statues can make any garden stand out. I think making your own garden statue is a great idea if you enjoy DIY activities. Good luck with your project and I will let Rachel know that you would be interested seeing her parents' statues 🙂
      Thank you!

    • Lana Sgd

      Hi Dave,
      Thank you so much for your comment. Good luck with choosing the righ statue for your garden and I am confident you will get just the right one for your garden. Thank you again and I am glad you've enjoyed this post and found it useful.

    • Lana Sgd

      Hi Callie,
      Thank you for your comment. I love statues in the garden. They make any garden look unique and magical. Good luck with choosing the right one for your garden and I am glad you've found this post useful.

    • Lana Sgd

      Hi Steven,
      Thank you so much for your comment. I am so confident you will find just the right statue fr your garden and good luck with this project 🙂 DIY statue is a great idea if DIY projects are something that you love to do. Thank you again for takin time to comment and I am glad you've found this post useful.

    • Lana Sgd

      Hi Sam,
      I can totally relate to your mom. I love statues in the garden. Good luck with choosing the right one for your mom. I am sure you will find just the perfect one for her 🙂

    • Lana Sgd

      Hi Logan,
      Thank you for your comment. Statues are the great way to create a unique look and feel in your garden. Here at Successful Garden Design we don't really do DIY garden statues projects, but I will make sure to ask Rachel for some tips on what material would be the best to use to make a garden statue.

    • Kirstin Guerra

      I like the idea of a statue being the focal point of the garden. There are parts of my garden that I like more than others. It would be nice to draw people to that area when they come to see my garden. I will have to use your tips when I go next spring to find a statue.

    • Tyler Bond

      Photoshopping the statue into your garden is a great tip, and really helps. I thought I had found the perfect piece to complete my garden, but after Photoshopping it in, I realized that it could have been a big mistake. Using this method I found the perfect statue, and it's a great talking point for anyone stepping out into my garden.

    • Bob Lowe

      Thanks for the post. I think a stature brings a lot of life to a back yard. I really like the idea to Photoshop the statue into the picture of your back yard. I can see how that can give you a really good visual of what the stature would look like in your yard.

    • kylewayne182

      I’m glad you talked about how it’s important to decide if you want classical or modern statues in your yard. My mom is looking to buy some outdoor garden statues for sale so she can change up her garden for spring. I think I will talk to her about knowing they style she wants before purchasing.

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