Gardens are composed of many elements and one of the most popular nonplant elements is statuary. When I say “statuary,” many gardeners might think of a large statue of David adorning their garden. But garden statues don’t have to be large or impressive to have the desired effect. Statues can be as simple as a small frog by a pond or a gnome hiding in the shade garden.
The goal is for the statues to enhance your garden, not take it over. Certainly you can create a more formal garden with a large urn or statue as the focal point at the end of a path, but most gardeners would rather tuck statues in and among plants to be discovered by viewers. Here are some tips on using statuary in the garden:
- Material: When deciding on what type of statue to purchase for your garden, consider the material it’s made from. Steel sculptures are long lasting and, depending on the design, can have a massive or airy look and feel. Concrete statues are solid and formidable, but are a little more delicate than steel in cold weather. Wood feels very naturalistic and blends well in the garden, but is not as long lasting and can change color with age.
- Placement: Statues look best when they accent a garden. Consider placing an artistically designed sculpture in the back of a garden bed or in a garden room to be discovered when viewing the garden. Small stone animals, gnomes, and houses look great tucked in among foliage to add a bit of intrigue. Larger pieces can be the focus of a walkway, patio, or deck. They can be used to guide the eye down a garden path.
- Care: Metal sculptures can handle any weather element and still look good. Of course, if a sculpture has moving parts, it may have to be maintained annually. Concrete sculptures are long lasting, but are best protected in cold-winter areas from freezing and thawing cycles that can cause them to crack. Ceramic sculptures certainly will need protecting in most gardens from adverse weather.