Tips to Add Focal Points

Focal points, when properly used, have a great effect and can really brighten a space.

Let's see why and how.

First of all, it's good to know that when we watch something our eyes are oriented in a focus area of about 2-3 meter radius, called 'cone of sight'. The rest is blurry.

If, within the cone of sight, our eyes are attracted by one object, that becomes a focal point.

A focal point acts as an element of interest that draws attention and attracts visitors, provoking a good feeling and making them want to stay.

What elements are commonly used as focal points?

There are some common objects that are perfect as focal points in a garden. Find below a list:

- A beautiful tree or shrub

- Topiary

- Water fountains or features

- A sculpture, art piece

- A seating area

- An outdoor firepit

- A feature wall, green or with particular tiles

- A gazebo or pergola covered by a beautiful climber

- An archway (an example in the photo above)

Suggestion: in a large garden or terrace, screening part of the focal point can contribute to adding a sense of surprise, mistery and the visitor's interest.

How can a focal point be introduced in the garden?

Here's a few tips to add a focal point in a garden:

  1. First, analyse the main views in the garden. For example the view from the living room window or from the main entrance to the garden. These are commonly the most important views and cone of sight to the garden.

  2. Second, use height. Sometimes elevation is not considered or is undervalued among the garden tricks to add interest. Especially when in a newly planted garden when plants are still small, elevating some areas - i.e. an elevated planter or use a tall plant/ climber - can give immediate movement and interest to the space, removing the effect of flatness.

  3. Do not place two or more focal points too close to each other. Keep in ming the 2-3m cone of sight and remember that one focal point will be enough. Too many elements on the contrary could clog the space causing loss of focus, confusion and disorder.

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