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Focal points in a garden

You might already be familiar with the concept of focal points in visual arts, like painting, or as they are used in interior design. But you can (and should) also create focal points in your landscape design as well.

Why focal points? A focal point serves two main purposes: First, to draw the eye toward a particular part of the yard that you wish to emphasize. Second, to draw the eye away from an area that perhaps isn’t the loveliest.

For example, a lovely wrought iron gate might draw the eye toward your prized rose bushes. Likewise, a water feature in the center of the yard might keep the focus there, and away from an unsightly area off to the side.

Use focal points sparingly. An effective focal point captures the viewer’s eye, and brings an area of the yard into focus. It should compliment and flow with, but not overwhelm other nearby elements. Conversely, a jumbled collection of objects would be too busy, and would not allow the eye to rest.

Using objects as focal points. While certain plants can also make for terrific focal points, there are a few problems with relying solely upon them. First, many plant species tend to flow with the rest of the landscape, so you would need to choose something that is dramatic and really stands out. Second, the specimen would need to draw the eye year-round, and that’s a challenge for most trees, shrubs, and perennials.

When you opt for objects as your focal point, you can rely upon them to draw the eye to that particular area of the yard. You can then change the elements around the focal point periodically (such as planting different perennials according to their blooming times) to keep it interesting.

Get creative. The great thing about using objects as focal points is that you can really create something unique in your yard. You can opt for something classic like a water fountain, a metal obelisk or a gazing ball. You can go with something more unique like a salvaged, rebuilt stable or a large metal sculpture. Consider the items your neighbors are using in their gardens, and select something a bit different to really stand out among the crowd.

For more ideas on unique and interesting focal points and how to utilize them effectively in landscape design, contact us.