Eye on the Prize: Creating Garden Focal Points
Draw attention to your garden centerpiece with these simple tips.
Gardens often benefit visually from a dramatic or arresting focal point, be it a statue, pot, or plant, which provides a point of reference within the design where the eye can rest.
In a garden that seeks to recreate the wild, focal points need to be natural objects, such as rocks or specimen plants. In this Mediterranean-style garden, the gnarled trunks and silvery foliage of a pair of old olive trees are as arresting as any classical sculpture.
Even a utilitarian feature such as a flight of steps can provide a focal point, as long as it is well executed. Winding steps passing through lush foliage lead the eye on to brighter, more vibrant flowers and foliage, which then act as a visual stopping point.
Attractive pots and containers, planted or otherwise, are one of the simplest ways of creating a focal point. Used alone or in groups, they can be placed in a border, on a patio, or at the end of a pathway, perhaps terminating a vista. Large, impressive pots are often best left empty; others can be enhanced with a dramatic plant, such as a Dasylirion.
Focus on Color
Brightly colored plants make small-scale focal points in beds and borders. The vivid flowers of bulbs, such as these orange tulips, provide short-term accents, lifting other plantings and heightening interest.