Updated: May 22, 2021
As you can probably guess, the purpose of a garden-related focal point is to draw the eye to a specific area of interest. The premise works the same regardless of the size of your garden. However, smaller gardens are sometimes a bit more challenging. The good news is that there are many ways to achieve your goal.
Focal Point Placement
Because it's natural for the eye to follow a line, it's important to place your focal point on a visual intersection in the garden. Mentally divide your garden space into sections. Take what you can see from inside your home and other areas of your yard into consideration. Once you do that, you'll find it much easier to choose the proper intersection.
Never center a focal point and plant around it. Whatever object you're using looks better when placed a bit off-center of your intersection line. If you have a circular-shaped garden, it's recommended that you place the focal point near the back.
It's also recommended that you never incorporate a focal point that's actually an afterthought. Chances are you'll have to squeeze it in and the end result won't be as pleasing as you hoped.
You have hundreds of options when it comes to using plants as focal points. For best results, choose a heartier variety that holds up well and isn't a dietary choice of the local wildlife.
Bright blooms are visually pleasing. Reds, yellows, and pinks are big attention-getters. Tall plants or ornamental grass is another good option. A small bush or tree isn't out of the question either. The choice is totally up to you.
Many gardeners opt to incorporate seasonal focal points into the garden. However, this takes a little more advanced planning and effort. The basic idea is to plant (in close proximity) something that blooms or looks its best early in the season and something that is meant for fall viewing. By the time the first plant is ready to die off, the second plant is ready to take its place.
The sky is the limit - almost - when using an object as a point of interest. Common examples include statues, waterfalls, arbors, large ornamental pots, birdhouses, and small sections of fencing. If you prefer something more on the whimsical side, try incorporating a cast-off like an old bicycle or even a vintage sewing machine.
Creating a focal point or points in your garden isn't an absolute necessity. It's a personal design choice. For many gardeners, it's a matter of trial and error. Like them, it may take a few tries until you get it right. But, let's face it, that's half the fun of gardening.
Next time, we'll wrap it up with some great tips for novice gardeners.