Garden Focal Points - Gardening

Garden Focal Points
Garden Focal Points

 A haphazard garden can be great, no doubt, but often gardens work much better if you have a 'focal point' that draws the eye in to the composition of the garden. A focal point can be a poiniant plant, a water feature, or an ornament of some kind (but you can make it anything really, use your imagination! Maybe a giant gnome?!)

The advantage of a focal point is that it grabs the attention of the viewer, and from there the viewer can radiate their eye outwards, and explore other, less dominat aesthetic features of the garden. A nifty trick if ever there was one!

For those of you who are new to gardens, I have written a whole series of articles (with more yet to come!) on getting a garden started, but you may want to check out some basic design principles first.)

Focal points in a small garden should not ruin the composition by being too dominant, so think about the scale of the garden before you leap in and buy that statue of\

Here are some ideas from about gardening:

  • Colour

You can use a specimen of plant with a vibrant, loud, contrasting colour to call attention to the focal point of a garden.

  • Ornaments

Such as statues (but remeber what I said about David!), or bird baths (and flamingos!)

  • Rock features

Pester a strapping young lad to help you shft that mighty rock from the quarry!

  • Clustered plants

This can work really well, and looks better if you think about contrasting the textures of plants.

  • Dwarf trees

Not too small of course, bonsai is out of the question!

Focal points should be thought of before you start to design your garden, as they can look awkward as an afterthought. Think about existing features in your garden, and be creative, almost anything (pop's old rusted wheelbarrow?) can serve as a point of attention, and you can combine one or more focal points to draw they eye over a variety of diferent areas.

As a rule, don't put the focal point in the centre of the composition, just off centre gives the garden a more 'natural' and easy feel. Also think about where the garden will be viewed from, and position the piece to the back, giving more foliage the viewer and the focal point. Also, think about the distance from which it is viewed, as this will affect how dominant it needs to be. And if you are choosing plants, make sure they will be in blossom all year round (unless you want a spindly, pathetic skeleton as the celebration of your hard labour!)

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