Although we all like to encourage wildlife into the garden, creatures of a more inanimate nature made from resin, metal or stone can populate the landscape. Not all are native to the British Isles and David Coton describes how your outdoor space can become quite a menagerie.
All our animal ornaments and statuary are meticulously crafted and sourced from market-leading manufacturers. They can be located inside or out, and you have the choice of wonderfully accurate portrayals or somewhat whimsical representations.
Vivid Arts and Design Toscano have forged a formidable reputation for their vast range of superbly crafted resin ornaments depicting all your favourite pets and farmyard animals, beautifully coloured and highly detailed.
Dogs of many different breeds are available in a variety of naturalistic poses. Among this impressive collection are an alert Airedale, Labradors sitting, a Highland Terrier playing, Winston the Bulldog guarding, and even a Pug and Boston Terrier peeing.
Farmyard animals abound, lambs are a favourite and cockerels will strut around but not wake you in the morning. Pigs can be introduced without their endearing agricultural aroma, and Curly the Ram shows off a splendid pair of horns.
British wildlife is represented by hedgehogs and frogs, deer, badgers, and a fox on the prowl for any ducks who have left the safety of their pond.
African wildlife may seem an anachronism in a British garden but they're certainly attention grabbers. Not every suburban garden is host to gorillas and elephants, with a stalking black panther, rhinos, hippos and monkeys swinging from the trees. It's also a given that the meerkat and lemur families will endear themselves to any children.
Another well loved animal is the bear and whatever type you prefer: panda, koala, black, brown or polar, you'll be amazed at how accurately they are crafted in high quality resin that is resistant to frost, chipping and cracking.
Flying in from all parts of the world are parrots, including the predictably named Polly, pelicans and penguins. Hooting Howie is only one of a large number of owls, a raven can add its dark presence, and a peacock will be notably regal.
Metal ornamentation is well represented by elegant deer, statuesque herons and rutting stags, in addition to a sun bathing otter. A doe rests in the long grass while rabbits dash past a kingfisher eyeing prey from a branch.
Lost wax is a traditional process used to create bronze ornaments and this method is still used for the high quality farmyard and other animals produced by Adams and Brass Baron, they are all wonderfully modelled with a rich dark brown patina.
Home & Garden offer a huge eclectic selection of animals made from aluminium. There are virtually lifesize representations of horses and a running bull while flying ducks majestically skim over water. To indicate the breadth of the range, there are also literary figures such as Peter Rabbit and Jemima Puddle-Duck.
Enigma use crushed marble and resin to create a host of animals in eye catching poses from portly pigs and happy tortoises to stunning fish that will add fabulous interest to anyone's garden.
Although including penguins and owls in their collection, domestic animals are a speciality of Lucas Stone, they are made from reconstituted stone and their cat napping felines and snoozing dogs will age delightfully.
Haddonstone's classical figures include lions and eagles, these are particularly effective when used as finials or either side of an entrance, while the granite horses from Eastern Connections are perfect focal points.
Whether you go for native species or something a little more exotic, there's no doubting that these extremely well made resin, metal and stone animals add intriguing interest to a landscape, used individually or in groups they will loved by children and adults alike.