Thursday, January 26, 2012

Creating a Focal Point, Part 2


The beginning and end of this traditional allee is a classic urn. This focal point is accentuated with a circle of stonework. Brian Folmer's Garden near Walkerton, On.

How would a focal point work in the context of a smaller garden? 

Here are some design tips I picked up from gardens that I have visited.

Heather Bradley's Garden, Mississauga, ON.

Guide traffic in the direction of a main garden feature by using a series of pathways.

Heather Bradley's Garden, Mississauga, ON.

This pathway leads you to the birdbath, and then circles around it, allowing you to view 
the planting bed from all sides.

The Singer Garden, Brampton, ON.
Group collections of smaller objects.

In this pretty border, there is no focal point; nothing really demands your attention more than anything else. There are instead, multiple points of interest, that tend to draw you in.

The Singer Garden, Brampton, ON.

 Look closely, there are little bunnies to be discovered amongst the flowers.

The Singer Garden, Brampton, ON.

The Singer Garden, Brampton, ON.

Now, if the gardener had continued with the bunnies in the flowerbed opposite, the rabbits might easily have gone from a cute detail to over-the-top. Instead, she wisely put a single focal point in the planting bed across from the one with all the bunny rabbits.

Private Garden near Hamilton ON.

If your garden is really small, keep it simple. This garden has one main feature: the pond. Located right off the back deck, it is in the perfect spot for the homeowners to relax in the evening.

The Singer Garden, Brampton, ON.

Let the garden suggest a theme for your focal point. In this small garden, the 
pond is again the main feature. 

The Singer Garden, Brampton, ON.

What would be a more natural focal point than a pair of cranes?


Edwards Gardens, Toronto.

Focal points don't have to be traditional.

The Singer Garden, Brampton, ON.

They can be rustic as well.

Brain Folmer's garden near Walkerton, ON.

Private Garden, Mississauga, ON.

 Make use of color and the plants themselves. Your eye goes right to the burgundy leaves of this Japanese Maple. Surrounded by a sea of green, the tree fixes and holds your attention.


Leave the beige inside the house. Instead go bold with color. Your garden can handle it!


Emphasize a focal point with contrast. Your eye is immediately drawn to the stone figure which stands out against the mass of dark green leaves. 


Finally, channel attention toward a pretty feature by creating a frame for it.

These design ideas are just a few of the things that I have learned from other gardeners.

29 comments:

  1. Gdybym miała urządzać swój ogródek od nowa, na pewno bym skorzystała z pomysłów w Ogrodzie Singer. Wszystko tam mi się podoba. Jedno mam tak samo - widzę wodę siedząc na tarasiku swojego ogródkowego domku. Pozdrawiam. *** If I had to decorate your garden from scratch, I would certainly benefited from the ideas in the Garden Singer. Everything I like it there. One thing I just - I can see the water sitting on your ogródkowego tarasiku house. Yours.

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  2. A have loved all the posts you have done on garden design with beautiful and inspiring photos. You have given me lots of ideas to think about.

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  3. Again a great post - thanks for the inspiration! :-)

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  4. All beautiful! I need to take a look around and see if I can do a little better. These are great inspiration.

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  5. Have you ever gone into a clothing store and there are so many racks of clothes you don't know where to start, then you see a maniquin and it gives you a place to focus....OK, bad analogy, but kind of the same principle. A focal point gives our brain a chance to stop and process all the beauty around it before moving on.

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  6. I am enjoying these tips.It is nice to get all this wonderful information from a pro. After seeing that bench I am going to repaint mine this summer a bright blue. LOL! I really like that.

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  7. Such beautiful gardens! I see that I should take another look at the focal points in my own gardens - mostly I've just used large pots, but now I see so many other great ideas!

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  8. Super ideas. Love seeing that blue bench...love color-- stay tuned for our chairs on the patio this summer.

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  9. A beautiful tour of some lovely gardens with great ideas! I think even the wildest, and maybe especially the wildest, garden needs a focal point to provide context and order.

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  10. Loved all the tips on adding focal points and interest to the gardens. There are some wonderful ideas and examples here to put to use in any size garden. The urn is my favorite, what a beauty.

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  11. Thanks for all these inspiring tips, Jennifer. I don't have an artistic eye and could really use some help with design. The photos in this and your last post provide some great inspiration for me. What beautiful gardens you've visited!

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  12. Wow. These gardens are so well designed. Sigh.

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  13. Adding more art and creating focal points in the different areas of my garden became a part of my garden redesign last fall. I'm using different types of birdbaths and birdhouses to create a consistent thread that unites the various items, even though they're all unique. I'm excited about it and I'm happy its related to your post! Great idea for a post. :o)

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  14. What a beautiful series. I don't have room for a proper garden where I live, so I shall have to be contented with viewing fantastic images like these.

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  15. Beautiful blog and beautiful garden...I wanted to say congrats on the blog award from Virginia :).

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  16. Good post, focal point is a very important concept also in photography and makes a lot of difference in images, as you just showed in one of the images.

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  17. Fantastic set of photos demonstrating this principle. Made me want to go on a garden tour!

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  18. hermosos jardines y muy interesantes ideas!quisiera tener un jardín como alguno de éstos! Un abrazo!

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  19. Beautiful garden designs photographed and presented with expertise. Makes me long for Spring and Summer.

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  20. HI there! What a great post and something I always struggle with. I am the opposite of you maybe in that I don't have many ornamental objects or garden art in my garden. I seem to be so entranced with plants that I just don't pay enough attention to objects that could highlight a beautiful plant and provide a focal point. Thank you for the wonderful information, creating a focal point in my main perennial garden is a goal of mine this year!

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  21. You toured a lot of beautiful gardens! My favorite is Heather Bradley's, so lovely.

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  22. Jeg kom lige forbi.
    Dejlige billeder fra en smuk have.
    Jeg holder meget af dit aller sidste billede.
    Tak for rundvisningen.

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  23. Just beautiful! Loved my visit here as always!

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  24. Very nice examples Jennifer. Loved the bunny in the one garden.

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  25. I’ve awarded you the Versatile Blogger Award: http://bit.ly/yhCUbI. Yay!!

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  26. Beautiful garden tour and very useful design tips! Stone figures are not to my liking, but tastes differ.
    Thanks for your visit! :)

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  27. I love these posts you put together so expertly with a common thread holding it all together. I learn a lot from your observations and suggestions.

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  28. i love all of your posts even if i don't comment all the time xx

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