Design a garden focal point that reveals your personality and communicates effectively to your visitors!
Every garden benefits from a little dramatic finesse! Dramatic placement of plants and decorative touches added to the garden help create a strong personal message.
This strong, personal message is what makes a garden truly memorable.
Our eyes need the information provided by the well-chosen placement of these decorative touches and specimen plantings to enhance the visual organization of the garden. These pieces of information help us “see” the garden. Without these points of reference, the garden can be less than fully satisfying.
Here are a few great examples of the strength of an exciting focal point!
Oh, and did I tell you it is fun!
There is so much opportunity to express yourself when you design a garden focal point. You can drag your mother’s neglected but oh so cool old sewing machine into the garden and it suddenly takes on new life!
Recycle just about anything into the garden as an exciting garden ornament.
If you love plants more than junk, (some of us really DO!!), then you can use impressive specimen plantings, groups of containers, or drifts of like plantings to draw the eye. When you design a garden focal point, anything goes, as long as it is well placed!
As if you even needed to ask!
There are so many valuable reasons to design a garden focal point that it seems to me that anyone who doesn’t take the time is missing a few marbles…up there, you know?
Need I go on? There are so many reasons to design a garden focal point that make sense!
Don’t you agree that a gardener who doesn’t create these areas of emphasis has lost a marble or two?
The major purpose of the garden focal point is to help set the mood for your garden, and to add that theoretical ‘period’ to the design. Garden ornaments and specimen plants are what create a fully finished, highly desirable effect in a garden.
The areas of emphasis that you create when you design a garden focal point help to establish the uniqueness of a garden space and to conjure in the minds of your garden visitor allusions that help to conjure up an exciting garden atmosphere. They create references to pictures and emotions in our minds that evoke a human response.
Garden focal points can be used to help control the movement of a visitor.
Do you want your visitor to slowly meander through the garden while they take in the individual beauty of each plant?
Maybe you want to allure a visitor to your front door quickly, or stop entirely in the garden to take in the minute detail of a delightful garden ornament.
Pairs of objects placed anywhere along an access path create a sense of moving from one garden area to another and set the expectation of new garden delights just around the corner.
Shaping the progression of your visitor through your garden, both visually and kinetically, can be easily managed through the placement and arrangement of objects and plants as you design a garden focal point.
Understanding how the line of sight affects our absorption of the garden space allows us to visually tie our home to the grounds around them and fashion unity among all garden elements, even if our visual choices are quite diverse.
You see, what matters most is the overall placement of the visual elements of the entire garden.
When there is unity throughout the garden in regard to placement of the objects and plants that make up the garden, the variety you introduce within that overall pattern can be quite diverse, and still hang together. Garden axes are one of the secrets of placement that separate a professionally designed garden from the majority of residential gardens.
Here I would like to introduce a concept that is very useful as you design a garden focal point and determine its placement.
Appreciating the concept of a garden axes, or line of sight, has an astounding effect upon your ability to draw the eye and get the most out of your garden.
These garden axes help provide a guide to where to place your focal points in the garden. There can be one, or many, and there are several key principles to keep in mind as you lay these out in your own garden.
Focal points are among the first things you may want to plan for in the garden, as they can provide help in placement of the major elements of your garden design, including paths, patios and water features.
By identifying the garden axes up front, you can be on the lookout for those unique and wonderful objects, plants and features that will make your garden yours.
A unified, memorable garden takes time to create. Don’t expect to do it overnight!
Plan for enticing views from all the key points in your garden, whether patios, destination points, or house windows. Focus on one area at a time, make it spectacular, and then move to the next. Your garden will guide you, a bit at a time toward an integrated, beautiful picture.
Listen to it.
When you design a garden focal point, your goal is to astound your visitor (and yourself!) with the incredible view. Make it something you want to live and grow old with!
However, don't overwhelm your garden with too many areas of emphasis!
Keep the balance, create unity, and provide just enough variety to bring interest.
When you design a garden focal point that is appropriate to YOUR garden, you will know it. It will excite not only you but all your garden visitors.
A picture is worth a thousand words they say!
Here are some great ideas that may help you expand your definition of a garden focal point. ANYTHING will do, placed properly, supported with the right plantings and hardscape and reinforced by placement along a garden axis.
Take a look at these wonderful examples of garden focal points and fuel your own dream. Design a garden focal point that incorporates these ideas or one of the hundred thousand other possibilities and make it your own.
Use a plant with incredible branches, and a year round presence…
Or group plants of a vibrant or contrasting color to arrest the eye….
Find an interesting conversational piece of art and highlight it….
Build a beautiful, quirky, or textural gazebo …
Create an artistic path or patio…
Or an extraordinary water feature…
Add interesting garden furnishings…
Or place an unusual bench in a corner……….
Grab them with the entrance…
Or highlight a gorgeous view.
Establish an appealing collection of objects…..
Or focus on a garden wall….
Create an interesting garden expanse…..
Or salvage your dad’s old car…..
There is ALWAYS another beautiful option available to design a garden focal point with.
Have fun with this!! It is your best opportunity to infuse your garden with personal style!