The Scary World of Garden Sculpture

 “The Present Order Is The Disorder of The Future [Saint Just]” from Finlay’s Little Sparta. Photo by Michael Loudon

I’ve always been a big fan of the late Scottish artist and poet Ian Hamilton Finlay. He’s probably best known for his enigmatic garden Little Sparta. As Finlay demonstrates, there’s nothing like a carefully placed bit of artwork to tilt one’s perspective on the landscape and make you see it in a different, and perhaps more perceptive way. But good luck finding said piece of garden sculpture unless, like Finlay, you can manufacture it yourself. Just for kicks, I took a look at Amazon’s garden offerings. They are so over the top bad that I think a clever garden artist could actually work with them. .

This one is my favorite Amazon sculpture offering. Looks like something Saddam Hussein would have installed by one of the shark ponds. Suggestive and creepy all at once.

There’s a lot of kids in the garden sculpture world, but this one seems to come with a Jeff Koons kitten. Or is that a Jeff Koons jackalope? A genetically modified puppy/kitten hybrid? I can’t tell.

Perfect for an age of “zombie” banks–a zombie for your garden. Also seen in the Sky Mall catalog, a favorite shopping resource for zombies.

Stick this on one of your trees and you’ll soon find hair sprouting on the tops of your feet.

Depicting smiles is always a tricky one in the world of sculpture. At least you get a stand with this masterpiece.

You could argue that greys are the malevolent elemental spirits of the 20th century. Unfortunately this one will set you back $100 if you’d like it to grace your garden.

 For some reason you can pick up a halfway decent Buddha. Now can we switch out the molds on the other stuff? There’s an opportunity for an entrepreneur here . . .

Update: As reader Paula points out, how could I have forgotten the garden gnome? Must be the terrible head cold I’ve got. Well, here goes:

Share this post

Leave a comment


  1. What? You couldn’t find any garden gnomes?

    The Buddha is not so bad; that first one is seriously disturbing.

    The others just remind me of something my older brother once told me many years ago.

    He said, “Never underestimate the bad taste and buying power of the American public.”

  2. Yeah, I think I need someone to explain why the female/hands one is so bad. Other than the size difference, which is great enough to be intentional, I must be missing something.

  3. Clearly somebody needs to start I just scratched the surface here, missing the garden Jawa and the sheela na gig/goatse thing, not to mention all the offerings at Design Toscana. Thanks all for the tips–keep ’em, coming.

  4. I liked the sculpture of the Gnome! and the kid also. Some are so scary, how will someone dare to place them in their garden?


  5. “Sheela na Gig”!

    Dear Lord, that takes me back. I grew up in Galway, and had relatives in the area area Tulla, Co. Clare. So, I got to visit Co Clare a lot. The place is full of such statues, and they’re all above church doors.

  6. I rather like the woman in the hand… I, like somebody else previously, find it sexy for some reason. Different strokes for different folks, I guess.

  7. Anonymous,
    Are you serious about seeing nothing wrong with the first, the statue of the woman in the man’s hands?

    Woman on a pedestal cannot move, is not free, is defined, lives a circumscribed life.
    Add the hands as male control.
    Naked–male fantasy.
    I will stop so I can sleep tonight!

  8. Pingback: Stencils as Garden Art | Root Simple

Comments are closed.