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How Do You Create a Focal Point
in a Garden?


A focal point is any object, ornament or plant which draws the eye to a specific place in the garden. Itís the finishing touch that adds interest and a personal flare to your outdoor space.

With careful planning and strategic placing almost anything can be used as a focal point. Focal points donít have to be purely ornamental. They can also provide a useful function in the garden, like a garden bench, bird bath or sundial. You donít need to spend a fortune to create a big impact, just find something quirky that suits your garden.

Choosing the right focal point can be a fun and creative exercise, but there are a few design points you should consider before making a final selection. The size and shape of your garden must be taken into account. A small ornament in a very large garden will not create much of an impact and a large water feature can be over-powering in a small garden.

Pay attention to the style of your home. A modern statue in the garden of an old farm house may look out of place, but a glass, chrome or bronze statue in the garden of a contemporary home will look stylish. Large gardens with different outdoor rooms can have more than one focal point, but too many items in a smaller garden can look cluttered and over-done.

Find the right spot for your focal point — an empty corner, the end of a footpath or a flower bed near the entertainment area are all suitable locations. You may have a place in mind and choose your ornament to suit the area, or you can find your object first, then the place it correctly.

Focal point ideas

  • Garden statues or sculptures are available in different sizes and shapes to fit any size garden or style of house. Pay attention to the colour and the material of the statue you choose.

  • Plants that are unusual or exotic can be utilised as a focal point. A plant in an elegant container or ornate urn makes a trendy focal point near the entrance of your home.

  • Items from nature can make a big impact if they are correctly placed. Large rocks, old tree stumps or branches or even a collection of sea shells can be incorporated into an attractive focal point.

  • Water features or a garden pond are popular garden focal points. The sound of running water is a delight in any garden and will also attract insects and wildlife. Choose the right size according to your garden. Water features are generally easy to install but first have the electrical work approved by a qualified electrician.

  • Recycling old items can bring a special, personal touch to your outdoor space. Consider old cart wheels, milk churns, an old boot, a boat or a rusty anchor. If you plan to use a selection of smaller objects for several smaller focal points throughout the garden, select a main theme to link them and keep the consistency.

  • Day and night focal points do not have to be the same. Outdoor lighting can be creatively used to enhance a statue, container or interesting plant. Backlighting makes an object stand out, while up-lighting can enhance texture. Concealed lighting creates splashes of gentle light for focal points at night. Fittings should be hidden behind foliage and the beam of light directed at the appropriate angle.

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