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

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 Long Garden Formula and 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:

[DESIGN SHOW 12] – Garden Focal Points & Plant Border Tips

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In this episode garden designer Rachel Mathews discusses how to correctly position garden statues, sculptures and focal points. You can see the rest of her interview with artist and author Kitty Harri in the Andalusian sculpture garden in Otivar near Granada in Spain.

Rachel will then give you her tops tips on positioning focal points from a garden designer’s perspective. She’ll show you how you can make your garden look bigger and more interesting by the correct placement of the focal points you use.

Cheeky Plant Border Tips

You will also find out how to do a really simple trick that enables ANY plant border to instantly look better without the need for moving any plants or doing any gardening whatsoever!

Online Garden Design Courses

To take a look at the design courses Rachel mentioned, before the prices go up, go to:

What Would You Like to See Covered in Future Shows?

I’d love to get your ideas for future shows so that this can be as beneficial to you as possible. Leave a comment me know what topics you’d like me to delve into in future episodes in the comment boxes below?

You can also subscribe to the Garden Design Show on iTunes:

If you’d like to see more about the online garden design courses Rachel mentions, visit:

If you would like the Successful Garden Design cheat sheet and video on how to add the WOW factor to your garden  please add your email address below (don’t worry we don’t spam and will NOT pass on your address to anyone else!).

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[DESIGN SHOW 11] Sculpture Garden tour – Kitty Harri, Spain

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Kitty Harri’s Sculpture Garden

In this episode, garden designer Rachel Mathews takes you on a fabulous tour of author Kitty Harri’s Andalusian sculpture garden in Otivar near Granada in Spain.

The garden features over 60 sculptures. Along side Kitty’s pieces there are also works by famous sculptors Carlos Bajouca, Patrick Adam, Ron Egan and Mad Damar, to name but a few.

Rachel discusses with Kitty her tips for picking the right sculpture or statue for your garden. So if you’re looking to get a yard sculpture or garden statue, you’ll get plenty of great tips in this episode.

In the next episode of the garden design show, Rachel will demonstrate how to correctly position garden statues, sculptures and focal points in your garden. She’ll also get some more tips from Kitty on her opinion as an artist.

You can find out more about visiting Kitty’s garden on her website:


Congratulations to our winner!

Well done to Nicky from Washington DC – you are the winner of the Plant Design Formula! If you’d like to see more about the competition prize, visit:

What Would You Like to See Covered in Future Shows?

We’d love to get your ideas for future shows so that this can be as beneficial to you as possible. Leave a comment Rachel know what topics you’d like her to delve into in future episodes in the comment boxes below?

You can also subscribe to the Garden Design Show on iTunes:

Need more help? Attend one of our FREE Fast Track Garden Design online classes…

Register on this page:

Gifts for gardeners – ideas to help prevent you buying your loved ones socks (again)!

If you’re struggling for what to buy beloved friends and family for Christmas, then here’s some suggestions that might just help you!

Sarah Raven Garden Goodies (UK)


Writer, broadcaster and teacher, Sarah Raven has put together a lovely selection of garden gifts, with everything ranging from tools, gardening kits, clothing, unusual see mixes and much, much more.

Garden Water Features, Statues and Planters (USA)


A really wide selection of fountains and water features to suit most tastes. There’s a good mix of traditional and modern styles in all their products from fountains to planters. If you’re looking for something fun, I will admit to having taken rather a shine to the meditating Zen frog!


LED Planter Lights (UK)

I really love these clever LED planters. By day you have a stylish planter and by night, a stunning living light. A great way to light up dull corners on your patio, deck or by the front door and add a contemporary touch.

Cookery and Flower Arranging Workshops (UK)

Sarah-Raven-CoursesThis is another one from Sarah Raven. If you are looking for the ultimate gift, you can spend the day with Sarah at Perch Hill in Sussex. She will show you how she does her amazing flower arrangements or prepare some sumptuous dishes. Very reasonably priced courses in a lovely location.

iPad-garden-desing-coursesOnline Garden Design Courses (Worldwide)

Having mentioned someone else’s wonderful courses, it would be remiss of me not to mention my own! Any of the online garden design courses or workshops can be purchased as a gift and instant access sent to the recipient for Christmas. Instructions on how to transfer a course as a gift are in the welcome email on purchase. All courses come with a 60 day money back guarantee.

Please note: On some of the gift ideas above, I receive a small commission if you purchase through my link, this helps keep me sufficiently supplied with mince pies over the festive season! Please also note, that I do not have direct experience with the companies listed above, so do buy at your own discretion.

Your suggestions…

What wonderful garden related goodies have you come across? Let me know in the comments below!

Every business has got to have one these days, so here it is - Disclaimer: Please note, the information contained on this website is for educational purposes only. Every attempt has been made to provide accurate, up-to-date, reliable, and complete information. No warranties of any kind are expressed or implied. Readers acknowledge that the author is not engaging in rendering professional advice. By reading this website, the reader agrees that under no circumstances is the author responsible for any losses, direct or indirect, that are incurred as a result of use of the information contained within this website or related downloads, accompanying videos, or other supplementary materials. This includes but is not limited to errors, omissions, or inaccuracies. The material contained on this website is not meant to be a substitute for formal training nor a replacement for professional training or services. Please note some of the links on the site go to affiliate websites where a small commission is earned if you purchase. Please do your due diligence on all linked to products before buying.   Find Rachel on Google+
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