How To Create High Drama With Garden Sculpture

on 22nd May 2019

For the first time, sculptures are taking centre stage at RHS Wisley.

In its ‘Exhibition of Modern and Contemporary Sculpture’ event that’s running for the rest of this year, the charity will feature work from six 20th and 21st century artists as a way of highlighting “the relationship between sculpture and the cultivated landscape.”

With its globally renowned flower shows and events, RHS paves the way in garden design and practices.

It’s highly likely that – as a result – sculptures will become big news in the landscaping scene.

Statues, figurines, ornaments and kinetic art pieces are bound to fall into favour with gardeners all over the UK who are looking to stay ahead of the trend.

So, what are your options if you want to press your artistic taste onto your outdoor space?

1. Marble sculptures

The marble statue. Instantly synonymous with ancient Greece and Rome.

It can be highly polished and is weather resistant and has been the material of choice for sculptors since humanity began.

Today’s marble art takes a more contemporary turn – replacing the whimsical armless nudes and toga-d virgins with all kinds of gods, creatures and shapes.

Like this beautiful Buddha, for instance, sitting peacefully within a Zen garden helping to create a calm and tranquil space for quiet contemplation.

buddah statue in zen garden

2. Stone or granite sculptures

Granite and stone is also a popular substance for sculptors and is generally more widely available due to being a cheaper material than marble.

This makes it a popular choice for domestic gardeners looking to add a bit of curiosity to their space without having to break the bank.

You can easily pick up a mass-produced stone or granite structure from any garden centre. Or visit local antique centres and reclamation yards to find those unique pieces to create points of interest in your garden.

little garden sculptures

3. Wood structures

There are so many ways of adding a rustic, natural feel to your garden with wood. It doesn’t have to be ornate – you can let nature do the work. In fact, an interesting shaped piece of wood can blend beautifully into a garden without any intervention at all.

Just a dried tree root or piece of drift wood mounted in a prominent place can be all it takes to create a beautiful and interesting focal point for your garden

Or go for a stunning visual impact with an installation like one of these incredible horses made from driftwood by renowned sculptor James Doran-Webb.  It will certainly add the ‘wow’ factor to your scheme.  Thames Valley Landscapes had the pleasure of working alongside James at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2015, to create a mythical wild garden to compliment his natural driftwood sculptures.

driftwood sculptures at Chelsea Flower Show 2015

4. Quirky sculptures

If your garden is regularly visited by small children, what better way of injecting a bit of humour than by erecting a quirky or funny sculpture to liven up a corner? It’s a great way of imposing your taste on your surroundings and will also be a great conversation starter at parties!

On the other side of the spectrum, you might consider a garden gargoyle. They’re totally the rage at the moment – and even had an entire slot dedicated to their come-back featured recently on BBC Radio 2!


5. Dual purpose sculptures

Sculptures can be used for climbing on and up – by your kids or plants.

You can create a beautiful climbing frame or tower out of wood that is sturdy enough for clambering. Or, assemble a ‘sculpture’ out of a mesh of bamboo or willow so that a honeysuckle or clematis can use the support to wrap its tendrils around.

Practical as well as beautiful.

6. Water sculptures

Or, how about splashing out and creating a garden fountain for a focal point structure? 

As human beings we are drawn to be beside water.

The sight and sound of water cascading down a stone or marble structure will make a beautiful creation and statement on any patio.

If you position it at one end of your garden it will draw the eye down your plot and add scope.

7. DIY sculptures

Of course you don’t have to be an artist to create a sculpture. Sculpting is for everyone!

You can make wonderful artwork out of plastic,wire frames, wood, clay pots and stones. Just like this insect made completely out of scrap metal.

scrap metal insect sculpture

Pile it high or keep it small: If you make your own sculpture you can choose your subject and style whether classic, contemporary or totally off the wall.

And you’ll know your statement piece is truly one of a kind!

Want to follow the lead of the RHS?

Like the sound of any of the above? If you are keen to follow in the footsteps of the RHS and celebrate the impact of a statement structural piece in your garden, then do get in touch with Thames Valley Landscapes.

We don’t claim to rub shoulders with renowned contemporary artists but as BALI registered landscape gardeners in the Thames Valley, we can help you select, install and landscape around a piece that will work well in your outdoor space.

Contact us on 01628 629720 or email


How To Create High Drama With Garden Sculpture

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