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…

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