How to Select Your Catholic Garden Statue
If you’ve looked through our garden shrine page, you know that there is a wide variety to choose from – and an even wider array of ways to display your statue. Here are some guidelines to help you make a decision.
Select a statue that holds meaning for you and your family.
The most popular Catholic garden statue is, without a doubt, Our Lady of Grace.
You might have a personal devotion to another title of the Virgin Mary or Our Lord Jesus Christ or a particular Saint. You’ll be surprised at the variety of garden statues that are available.
Do you have particular spiritual or temporal need that a particular Patron Saint is waiting to help you with?
Are you engaged in a trade or activity that is associated with a special saint?
Have your special prayers to Our Lord, Mary or a Saint been answered?
Have you made a promise to honor that Holy One in a public manner? Our own family prayed to Our Lady to find a home that we could afford and promised to place a statue of Our Lady of Grace in our front yard when we found it.
Has your family or neighborhood been assailed by the devil? Saint Michael the Archangel is ready to help.
We’ve provided brief outlines about the titles of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Blessed Virgin Mary and the Saints on each page of the polyvinyl garden statues on this site to help you discern which one is right for you.
WHAT MATERIAL WILL YOUR STATUE BE MADE OF?
WEIGHING THE a PROS AND r CONS
The choices between concrete, plaster, copper, steel, resin and polyvinyl might seem like simple choices depending on your budget, but there is more than meets the eye. Here we explore the pros and cons in terms of placement, durability, cost, and aesthetics.
STEEL REINFORCED CONCRETE
a Pros – Lasts a long time, usually too heavy to worry that they’ll blow over in the wind or that someone will steal, very solidly built.
r Cons – steel reinforcement is actually iron and eventually it rusts and bleeds through. Concrete garden statues are HEAVY. Getting them home and then in place is a back breaking chore. If you need to move your garden statue as the years pass, it’s even harder, because you’ll be older! The paint does wear off faster than you’d think, and depending on where you live acid rain, etc. can have a pitting effect. Not so easy to repair. Even a small crack can seriously damage a costly piece in no time.
Above at the right is an example of one of our repairs – click image to enlarge. This Saint Anthony Garden Statue has now found a new home with one of our customers. Concrete statues with “tub” shrines are fairly easy to come by, whether at a garden center or estate sale. Getting your garden shrine home is the hard part. Ouch! My back!
FINE METALS -COPPER /BRONZE
a Pros – Beautiful and long lasting. Excellent for a chapel or secure outdoor setting. The perfect choice to make a gift to a parish, school, or religious institution.
r Cons – Expensive and larger pieces are very heavy. They are also a target for theft to be converted into scrap metal, so you’ll have to ensure they are anchored into concrete with rebar.
a Pros – Affordable, Lightweight, Durable, Comes in a variety of finishes, easy to weigh down with sand or gravel placed inside the statue, easy to store, versatile for use indoors and outdoors. Most have UV protection for added durability. and best of all, it’s Made in the USA
r Cons – Like any other material, eventually it will wear down in the weather and can crack after years in extreme temperatures.
Take a Look
Virgin Mary Polyvinyl
Our Lord Jesus Polyvinyl
Polyvinyl Garden Statues
Garden Angel Polyvinyl Garden
RESIN FIBERGLASS COMPOSITE
aPros – Highly durable and stands up to the weather for years. They are also quite affordable – a relative term that depends on your circumstances, of course! The materials used are generally reinforced with fiberglass for superb strength. The malleability of the material allows for outstanding detail.
r Cons – In some cases, depending on the manufacturer, some of the segments of the statue are glued together and eventually they come apart. We have a sweet Angel fountain in our front garden, but the poor dear’s wings have come off. This is usually the case with cheap pieces that are made in China. This is NOT the case with the beautiful pieces from Design Toscano.
Take a Look:
Our Lord Jesus Christ Fiberglass Statues
aPros – presents a beautiful smooth surface that takes paint nicely. Relatively lightweight.
r Cons – breaks and pits easily, paint erodes in sunlight and weather. Here is an example of a terribly eroded plaster statue we found in a convent garden. He looked absolutely horrifying after spending some time under a pine tree that must have dripped sap onto Him, but the Sisters painted Him gold to somewhat restore His beauty, even in the somewhat decayed state. This statue has now found a new home with one of our customers. Click image to enlarge.
ONYX – RESIN COMPOSITE
a Pros – For several years we’ve carried a line of hand painted onyx statues – an example is shown at the left. They are quite popular for indoor use. We recently learned that they are excellent for use outdoors, too. Not too heavy, beautiful detailing.
r Cons – It is recommended to place these statues in a shaded spot so that the powerful UV rays do not cause the paint to fade. We have had great success in extending the brilliance of paint on our outdoor shrines with the use of Rustoleum Clear Acrylic spray. If you don’t want a glossy finish, look for matte or satin. Be certain to hold the can at least 6 inches away to avoid dripping.
Take a Look:
Jesus Statues Virgin Mary Statues
Saint Statues Holy Family Statues
In the rural areas or the suburbs your choices are broad. Consider placing your garden shrine or statue in a front yard facing street traffic as an element of evangelization.
My own front garden has had a number of shrines in the front yard and, although
at times I’ve wondered if it was “too much” – my mind was quickly changed when I
witnessed several regulars bless themselves as they passed each day on
their way to and from work.
We all need a little solitude and peace. You might want to consider placing a well loved statue in a quiet corner of your garden for quiet prayer time.
A children’s play area is also an excellent spot to place a statue of Jesus, Mary or even a Guardian Angel to encourage young Catholics to get to know them and even to take time to pray while they play.
In urban areas with only a small front yard, please be mindful of keeping your statue at a distance from the trash cans.
Keep plantings low in front – flowers like geraniums, alyssum, and lobelia are nice choices along with
the ever popular impatience.
Formal foundation plantings of small leafed hedges like boxwood or azalea are nice too if you keep them neatly clipped. These have the benefit of slow growth that will last for decades and that will also stay green in the winter. You’ll also have a place to string lights at Christmas time.
Incorporate Pavers inter-planted with low growing herbs that can be stepped on without damage.
Some of these will release a gentle fragrance when you approach. You may find a variety in your local nursery under the trade name “Stepables”.
Thymes are quite effective this way with the added benefit of late spring/early summer blooms. We like lemon thyme very much but there are many varieties with different fragrances. At the right is thyme in bloom planted in between the bricks around our Saint Joseph Herb Garden.
are a lovely choice for the placement of your statue.
Whether it is a small fish pond or a larger natural pond, the sound of water is
restful and brings peace to the soul.
One of our customers had a magnificent
arrangement with a statue of St. Therese. Unfortunately I lost the email and
photos before I was able to find it again. Was it you?
Email me please!
Graceful arches of roses and clematis are always lovely, even if they are smaller than the one shown above. At the right is a corner of my sister Joan’s beautiful garden which features an archway with a little statue of Saint Francis. Click the image to see a close up of the way she has incorporated sedum between the pavers.
I don’t know if they are still available,
but in my back garden, I Martha Stewart roses
that are very hardy, long blooming and very fragrant especially around the
Feast of Corpus Christi. The inclusion of some autumn blooming clematis will keep blossoms on your archway even longer. Morning glories are nice and their evening blooming counterparts are cheerful annual additions that will often self-sow for next year – especially if you’re a gardener who never gets around to pulling out dead vines in autumn.
Stay away from datura which is a lovely vine but also very poisonous.
Herb Gardens are a beautiful and fragrant setting for garden shrines and statues. Most herbs bloom at some point during the year, and you must clip them to harvest, so they will stay short enough — usually! At the left is our Saint Joseph Herb Garden as it looked several years ago – click to enlarge. You will notice that there are small rosemary and lavender plants. Fast forward several years and those plants are now nearly 3 feet tall. Time to clip or transplant! If you get into the habit of cooking with fresh herbs, there is the added benefit that you will often find yourself on your knees in front of Our Lord, Our Lady or one of the Saints. As Saint Benedict said:
“Ora et Labora!”
Stay Away From:
Ivy. This plant is hardier than you’d think, and the suckers on the tendrils can cause damage to any garden statue. It can make a very attractive bedding, but you need to keep up with it constantly to keep it trimmed. Even a couple of weeks can mean trouble.
Thorny Shrubs. While some thorn shrubs – like barberry – make quite attractive year round hedges, there is nothing that unpleasantly pricks a child’s memory than reaching out to touch Jesus or Mary and getting stabbed. Not an association you want to make! Even if you keep them carefully trimmed, you’ll find that escapee twigs will magically find their way into your toe or fingers when you next go to weed the garden. Ouch!