When you look at your garden, what’s the first thing that you see? Is it the lovely pergola covered in climbing roses or the hideous trash bin overflowing with junk? Where your eyes land the moment you step into your outdoor space can make or break your entire design. That’s why it’s really important to decide on a focal point, an element worth highlighting, early on in your planning. With it, you can frame views, blur out the eyesores, and give an awesome first impression for people coming into your space. That said, here are the things you should remember when creating your garden’s focal point.
Anything can be a focal point — as long as they’re visually appealing. Plants can very well be the star of your outdoor space. But do note that since you have greenery all throughout the area, your plant-focal point should have a noticeable, eye-catching feature for differentiation. That could be its bold color, rough texture, or towering height. If you have a large tree in the middle of your garden or a group of unique specimens blooming with red and orange leaves, that’s a natural focal point right there. It will just be a matter of decorating around that design element. If you’re not into plants though, another option for a focal point is man-made objects. This includes water fountains, fire pits, pergolas, gates, or accent walls. These are perfect for framing (or obscuring) views in the garden. So if you want to guide the eyes towards a good sight or away from a bad one, use man-made focal points.
There’s no use to having a visually appealing focal point if it’s not readily seen. That’s why you have to take note of its positioning too. For this, you need to take note of natural sight lines. Where the eyes usually land is where your focal point should be. So when planning your design, take note of the key viewing corners, like for instance, the area near your patio sliding doors or the spaces where you usually lounge around, like at the al fresco or the garden rooms. From these areas, the line of sight to your focal point shouldn’t be obstructed. If it does, then you should be able to adjust the positioning of your statement element. In relation to the bird’s eye view perspective of the yard, the focal point shouldn’t be at the dead center. Otherwise, it will look too forced or staged, which isn’t particularly visually appealing.
One thing people tend to overlook when it comes to designing with focal points is the balance between the size of elements and the size of the yard. Large, monstrous trees will look overwhelming in the middle of a small garden. At the same time, small shrubs will be almost negligent in a sprawling yard (think English gardens). The right proportion matters. Focal points need not be screaming in size just to draw attention in small gardens. As mentioned, other characteristics of elements, like the color and texture, can be the eye-catcher. On the other hand, ‘small’ focal points in big yards can work, as long as you divide up the large area.
What’s Your Garden’s Eye Candy?
A good focal point in the garden improves further your design’s visual appeal. So don’t ever make the mistake of neglecting it. Keep it at the top of your priorities in your planning.