Creating a Focal Point in Your Garden

Creating a Focal Point in Your Garden

A focal point can be singular or multiple objects that draw the eye or attention to it, and thereby creating a welcoming feel to the space. Examples of focal points are: large colorful pots, specimen trees, sculptures, statues, water features, including fountains and bubbler pots, ornaments, gazebos, metal work, and many other artistic pieces. We love the whimsy of an old bicycle painted and planted with annual and perennials to create an appealing focal point. We have found bubbler pots - pots with a fountain inside the pot - easy to install, and create trickling or falling water sounds in the garden. A metal pillar with brightly growing clematis in the midst of a perennial bed can be stunning. A small table set for tea with an attractive pot of pansies in the corner of the garden always draws the eye and visitor to have a closer look. Come to our display garden to see examples of any of these fun focal points. 



Step 1: Choose the location

Look at your landscape with a fresh eye. When you look at your home and yard where does your eye go first? Remember the purpose of a focal point is to lead your eye to a particular area of your landscape that you want to emphasize.

Step 2: Position the focal point

The concept of a garden axis or line of sight can act as a guide to creating a focal point. Once you determine the axis by dividing your garden into sections and deciding which areas to consider for a focal point, this will help you to determine correct placement. In our garden we have used boxwood hedges and drifts of perennials to create pathways to separate garden rooms that ultimately draw the eye deeper into the garden. Within these smaller garden rooms, we have created a focal point to add visual interest to each area. We use the shapes of boxes, circles, rectangles and more to find the line of sight for each section.

Step 3: Add the objects

Consider the size of your intended object. Is it in harmony with the rest of your landscape? Does the mood of the object match your themes? To help answer these questions, it is a good idea to test your intended focal point. Before you purchase an expensive item or set a pot or piece of artwork in your garden, create something of similar size and shape out of foam or cardboard, or other lightweight material, to place in your intended area and observe for a couple of days. This is a great aide in determining the size of your focal point. In our garden, we use some of the building materials of the object, like wood or stone, to sit for a day or two while we observe to see if it creates the intended feeling. We also do a lot of measuring and sometimes a quick drawing helps too.

Remember: less is more! Too many items can create confusion. One carefully placed item, a bench, statue, or water feature, or even a grouping of plants will be the most effective.

Lastly, consider the ways you will need to care for your focal point year round. Some permanent structures are easier than others, such as a stationary trellis or arbor. Others are worth the work of having to winterize, like a water feature. Whatever you choose, have fun and get creative! Come to our display garden for ideas and ask our staff for suggestions. See you in the Spring!