Fairies have always been favourite garden ornaments, their pure spirits imparting a peaceful and magical ambiance to any garden. With butterfly wings, these slender figures can be seen in meditative thought, playing, reposing and dispensing fairy dust.
Resin ornaments possess fantastic detail, and this hardwearing material is great at displaying fairies in a vast array of poses and situations. With pure white or a bronzed finish, these magical and sometimes enigmatic creatures are all beautifully sculpted.
Placed around the garden, either clearly in view or secreted ready to be discovered by an excited child, fairies are the essence of a fantasy garden, creatures of folk lore and the imagination, we would all love them to be real and they are brought to life by these endearing ornaments.
Gnomes used to be a staple ingredient of any front garden, songs have been written about them and they are ubiquitous fairy tale characters. Allegedly bringing with them good luck, these pointy headed little men with beards are welcome visitors to any fantasy garden especially as they are reputed to guard treasure.
Usually pictured either sleeping or being mischievous, pixies are sprightly inhabitants of the fantasy garden usually pictured by stone or resin ornaments in close proximity to or relaxing on a toadstool. Others can be seen riding on a bird or the back of a snail.
With pointed ears and upturned noses, pixies are intriguing creatures who can play tricks on travellers, love music and dancing, enjoy a party where they drink occasionally drink too much. These qualities could well describe friends of yours and, due to their long history in folk lore, pixies definitely belong to any fantasy themed garden.
Stepping out of the pages of classic novels into your fantasy garden could be several larger than life characters such as Toad, Mole, Badger and Ratty from Kenneth Grahame's 'Wind In The Willows', Beatrix Potter's Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddle-Duck, Mrs Tiggy-Winkle and Benjamin Bunny, and Lewis Carrol's Alice, Mad Hatter, Cheshire Cat, Caterpillar and White Rabbit. Youngsters and adults alike will delight in the resin portrayals that are true to the original drawings and can be bought individually as well as in sets. Impressively detailed, they have an aged verde or bronze finish that creates an attractive antique appearance.
Somewhat more scary than these wonderful literary figures are dinosaurs who will swagger over your lawn and hide in the flower beds. A Komodo Dragon is based on a living animal but how about a Triceratops or Brachiosaurus both made from solid high grade reconstituted stone with great attention to detail.
Daddy of them all is a full size Tyrannosaurus Rex from Design Toscano, at 22 feet long and 11 feet tall this is a monstrous portrayal in fine quality resin. The same company has created other life sized models including Allosaurus and Parasaurolopus, hand painted for complete authenticity so you can have your own suburban Jurassic Park.
These creatures are based on real animals who once roamed the earth but there are other intimidating fantasy figures that depict mythical beasts such as griffins, dragons and temple dogs, the latter particularly appropriate if you have a oriental themed garden, and, if you are Welsh, there's the Red Winged Dragon from Vivid Arts.
Babel the Bashful Dragon will introduce humour but the collection of Griffins from Lucas Stone, sculpted with the traditional wings, talons and head of an eagle attached to a lion's body, present an altogether more alarming spectacle, perfect for guarding the entrance to your house.
Altogether more spooky, are tree sculptures featuring the Green Man who symbolizes life, death and re-birth, and a three faced Nightmare Wall Sculpture. Other ornamental pieces from Haddonstone will add to an uncomfortable atmosphere including a Gothic Obelisk and Chimera Bench that's supported by the eponymous fire breathing mythical monsters.
Of course, all the visitors to your fantasy garden should be on their guard after announcing their arrival at the front door by ringing the Florentine Dragon Gothic Iron Doorbell, which looks very similar to one that Igor answers at Count Frankenstein's castle.
Passing a black Raven perched on the wall, a bird that is said to fly between the mortal and spirit worlds, your guests might also be perturbed by noticing Gaston, Grommit and Marley above them, the ugliest gargoyles they are ever likely to come across.
Your friends might not return but at least you'll have the satisfaction of knowing that by the creative use of high quality ornaments you have created a fantastic fantasy garden.