If you are a dog lover whose beloved family pet has crossed the rainbow bridge, a custom dog statue of your beloved dog could be the perfect addition to your outdoor space. And even if you still have man’s best friend in your life, adorable dog sculptures and yard art can be a great way to add interest to your garden in a way that other animal statues cannot.
In this article, we will share how you can find the perfect dog garden statue to celebrate the life of your dog or your love of dogs. These dog statues make a great canine garden ornament for a friend or family member who shares your feelings. But first, let’s look at the principles of landscape design that will make your selection a truly beautiful addition to your landscape.
Landscape Design for Your Dog Garden Sculpture
Your homage to man’s best friend depends on choosing the perfect dog garden statue. Sculptures of dogs come in a wide range of sizes and a wide variety of different materials.
A few simple guidelines can help you find dog statuary that is unique, affordable, and reflects your personal style.
7 material choices for your dog garden sculpture
There are many choices for the material from which your dog sculpture will be made.
1. Natural stone
Natural stone, such as marble and granite, is the ideal choice for your dog sculpture. It is non-porous, so it won’t absorb water that can freeze and thaw and weaken the structures. Natural stone lasts longer than any other common material for dog garden sculptures.
Concrete becomes a heavy statue that won’t be toppled by wind or by boisterous activity in your garden. The downside of concrete is that it is porous, creating crevices where water can enter the statue. Water freezes and thaws throughout the winter, weakening the statue so that it eventually crumbles.
3. Cast stone
Cast stone, or precast concrete, can be mixed with additives before casting so it looks like marble or granite. It can be reinforced so it stands up to winter weather.
Ceramics are great for color, but they tend to be breakable, and their colors fade after just a few years in the sun. A small ceramic dog garden statue could work in a shaded part of your garden.
Stainless steel, brass, and bronze provide a very different look for your landscape than marble, granite, or concrete. Some metals will corrode if exposed to heavy rainfall or heavy pollution over many years.
Wood can evoke a feeling of warmth that stone and metal cannot, but it has to be treated to stand up to rain and snow, and it will eventually crumble.
7. Plastic resins
Resin gives the artist the opportunity to create colorful, whimsical, light-weight statuary, but it also fades after several years of exposure to the bright summer sun.
Before you start choosing from cast stone, river stone, designer resin, wire work, wood, or maybe stainless steel sculptures to capture the noble stance and adorable face of your beloved dog, you need to ask yourself a very basic question:
What kind of material do you need to stand up to your weather conditions?
Consider these factors:
- Sun exposure. Direct sun will fade any kind of painted resin. Any finishing touches will be lost in just a few years of exposure to the bright summer sun. This material is really best for indoor statues.
- Salt air. If you live close to the beach, raw steel will rust in just a few years. Galvanized steel may stand up to salt air for up to 25 years, but even stainless steel statues won’t last the lifetimes of their owners.
- Extreme heat or cold. Resin and cast stone contract in winter cold and expand in the summer heat. This can cause cracking.
- Rain and humidity. Paint peels in conditions of constant high humidity. Untreated iron and steel will rust. Even beautifully galvanized steel may peel in extremely wet climates.
- Air pollution. Car and truck exhaust and industrial pollution can erode beautiful metal statues. Acid rain can wear the features off stone and concrete.
Living in a location that has one or more of these environmental factors doesn’t mean you can’t find the beautiful dog garden sculptures you want. You may need some expert advice in making your selections.
Choosing the style for your dog garden sculpture
The garden style must match the statue style, but it is entirely up to you to decide which is more important.
If you are thinking of large dog garden sculptures, metal garden dog garden sculptures, or a statue of a dog with angel wings, take a look at statues in the Graeco-Roman style to consider how they would fit in your garden.
Or if a Zen dog garden sculpture works for you, consider a Japanese-inspired garden design. But be aware that a formal garden could overwhelm your dog statue, rather than featuring it.
On the other hand, if you were thinking in terms of, say, a chillaxing welcome puppy dog statue, or a Labrador retriever dog statue, or a sitting retriever puppy statue, you may want a more natural, unstructured garden style.
Choosing the placement of your dog garden statue
Once you have decided on the kind of dog garden statue you want to buy, and whether you will change the style of your garden to highlight the statue with the adorable face of your loyal companion, it is time to consider where you will place the statue. Here are some general principles of placement for all garden statuary.
- Once you’ve decided on the type of statue or statues you want to buy, you need to find a place for each one. Take a walk around your garden and look for natural places a statue would go.
- A large dog garden statue will become a visual focal point in your landscape, so place them whether they will stand out, at an entrance, a pool, a fountain, or by unusual plantings.
- Multiple statues get more attention when they are set along a hedge or long beds of flowers to break up the space and add interest.
- Small dog garden statues can be placed directly in flower beds or in niches, anywhere you want to draw attention.
- If you have a hidden nook or a reading bench, consider a life-sized dog garden statue to keep you company.
Wherever you place your dog garden statue should feel right to you. Your pleasure with the dog garden statue in your garden comes first.
FAQ about dog garden statues
How much do dog garden statues cost?
There is a dog garden statue for every budget. You can find dog garden statues made from resin at online retailers for as little as $10, going up to about $200. Brass or marble dog garden statues, at the opposite end of the price range, cost $2,000 to $10,000 (like this one here), exclusive of shipping, installation, and taxes.
Where can I find statues of rare breeds?
It’s easy to find dog garden statues modeled after common breeds like bulldogs, cocker spaniels, and German shepherds, but what if I want a statue of a ridgeback, a Lagotto Romagnolo, or a Xoloitzcuintli?
Statues of rare breeds are often sold on Amazon, although it can be hard to find the material and size you want. One-of-a-kind dog garden statues are constantly sold on eBay. Do a saved search and change your settings to ask for an email when there is a match.
Is there such a thing as a temporary dog garden statue?
There is! Do a dog statue as yard art. Paint it in watercolors. Your creation will only last a few weeks, or until the first heavy rain, but then you can do more.
I want to place two dog garden statues on either side of my front door. Are there any rules for placing dog garden statues at the front door?
Dogs with a lion-like mane, like Leonbergers and Tibetan mastiffs, are great models for front-door dog garden statues. A lionesque appearance designates the occupants of the house as powerful and accomplished. Of course, you could commission dog garden statues to be made from photos of your own dogs, but it is easier to find identical or matching dog garden statues ready-made.
What is the best material for a dog garden statue with a high level of detail?
Resin statues can be cast to create artistic flourishes like angel wings or the fine details of an adorable face. They take a variety of finishes. But because the resin is lightweight, any dog garden statue made from resin that you place in your landscape must be secured to the ground.
How do you secure a lightweight resin dog garden statue so it can’t be stolen, and it won’t be toppled by the wind or knocked over by boisterous dogs and children during playtime?
Dog garden statues made of resin need to be secured to a permanent platform, not just placed on the ground. The base can be wood (which will eventually need to be replaced), cement, or stone. The statue is anchored to the base with brackets. Once you have the base for your statue, securing your dog garden statue doesn’t require any tools more complicated than a drill and a screwdriver.
Adriana Copaceanu is a passionate nature lover living in the country on her dream property where she grows vegetables, lavender, and wildflowers that she shares with the wildlife they attract. When she's not in the garden, she loves spending time with her chickens and planning her next nature project.