Does your garden feel a bit empty? Are you sick of seeing your bins every time you step outside? Knowing how to create a garden focal point is the answer.
Whether it’s an arrangement of plants or a practical structure, having a garden focal point is what gives your landscaping purpose. A focal point will draw the eye towards it, making sure all of the attention is on your favourite garden features and away from less attractive areas.
Let’s take a look at how to create a garden focal point, including what makes a good focal point, and how to make yours the star of your garden.
Choosing a garden focal point
The right focal point will transform your garden from a simple space to cast your gaze over, into a more intriguing landscape that deserves a closer look. Whether you choose a practical part of your garden to be the focus (like a deck or greenhouse), or an ornamental feature – like a plant or flower bed – it should connect with its surrounding elements so attention naturally moves across the space to take everything in.
How to create a garden focal point with plants
Using plants is a natural way to create a garden focal point, and can be more subtle if you only have a small space. Of course, it doesn’t have to be – here are some ideas for botanical focal points to inspire you:
If you have a large tree in your garden, it’s going to be a focal point whether you like it or not. Enhance its natural beauty by keeping the area around it tidy, and adding nature-friendly decorations, like bird boxes or an insect hotel. You could also surround the base with containers of shade-loving plants, which will happily grow in its shelter.
Climbing plants will take some time to flourish, but if you have the time to wait, they make for stunning focal points. Honeysuckle and climbing roses have the added benefit of being beautifully fragranced, but wisteria or climbing hydrangea will also look gorgeous. Train them over a doorway, pergola, arch or shed.
A cluster of containers looks amazing, especially when they’re in full bloom and colour-coordinated with each other. We’ve got some container garden inspiration for you to see what I mean. Keep in mind that floral displays will only look their best for a couple of seasons – you might want to arrange them around a larger tree or evergreen topiary to maintain your garden focal point year-round.
Choosing a plant for its intense colour makes it easier to tie other decorative elements into your focal point. For example, the vibrant pinks and purples of this fuchsia would look great echoed in the cushion covers of a bench on a balcony, or by using pink containers at ground-level.
Botanical focal points don’t have to be solely ornamental – a vegetable patch or fruit tree can be both an intriguing thing to look at and an excellent conversation point. Take a look at foodscaping tips if you want to grow plants that are as beautiful as ornamental flowers.
Structural, functional garden focal points
Making the most of your outside space usually means having a number of structures in your garden, like a shed, patio, or shelter. These are all excellent candidates for becoming a garden focal point. You can complement them with other decorative objects – like fountains or sculpture – especially if your garden is large enough for several focal points in different areas.
Let’s start with garden sheds. If you intend to use a shed as a focal point, make sure it’s in excellent condition, and don’t hold back on decorative features. Create a path leading to its door (stepping stones look pretty), and keep the surrounding foliage well-pruned. These garden shed ideas will show you all the ways in which your shed can be working harder for you!
Patios and garden decking are usually a place for looking out over your garden, but they can be a focal point in themselves. Add a pergola or gazebo to create structure (and shelter), covering it with lighting and plants. If you decide to make your seating area a focal point, remember to balance it out with a second point of interest that you can see while you’re relaxing.
Sculptural containers are a good way to break up busy flower beds without overshadowing them. If you like a cottage style garden with waves and waves of flowers, try putting seasonal plants or hanging baskets to pull focus to specific areas. Our vintage garden ideas offer some creative ways of doing this!
Fancy turning up the heat? Having a dedicated BBQ area, or even an outdoor kitchen makes for a fantastic garden focal point. It’s not up everyone’s street, but take a look at these gorgeous outdoor kitchen designs to see what we mean.
Is your outdoor space a family-friendly zone? There’s no reason why a beautiful playhouse or treehouse can’t be a garden focal point. The key is making sure it’s well-loved, and drawing attention with a path, and coordinating colours across other elements in your garden.
Water features create a soothing ambience in your garden, and are hypnotising to look at – perfect for a focal point. Would you like a natural-looking feature like a pond, or do you prefer the sound of moving water from a fountain or rill? There’s a style of water feature for every outdoor space.
Building an archway will create a garden focal point if your garden is lacking in structure. Use it to create separate garden areas for different purposes, with privacy screens as a nice addition.
A garden swing seat can be both practical and beautiful, acting as a charming focal point from your garden but also a cosy viewing spot. Choose a style that works with your garden aesthetic.
How to make your garden focal point stand out
There are a few things to keep in mind when you’re planning your garden focal point. Here are some tips to help you ensure yours is the right fit for your garden:
- Decide where you want your prime viewing spot to be – your patio? Maybe a kitchen window? Position your centrepiece with this location in mind and it’ll hugely increase your enjoyment of your garden.
- Scale is important. Smaller gardens might only have room for one focal point, and it might have to be something on the smaller side, or focusing on natural elements. In a larger garden, you can afford to use more space for a sculpture or furniture set.
- Use lines and symmetry to draw the eye towards your focal point and then away into other attractive areas of your garden. For example, a garden path that leads around your centrepiece and then beyond, to something out of sight. These lines can also be created using fencing, flower beds, edging, privacy screens and repetition of colour or pattern.
An attractive, visually-pleasing garden focal point needs more thought than simply plopping a nice bench in front of your flowers. Whether you’re looking to add a finishing touch or treating your centrepiece as a starting point for the rest of your garden design, it’s important that there’s a connection between the focus of your garden and its surroundings.
Take a look at lots of garden style inspiration to see what kinds of features might make a good focal point for your space. We’ve got gorgeous Moroccan-themed gardens, pared-back Japanese-inspired gardens and beautiful Grecian-style spaces to get you started. Take your time in choosing the right garden focal point for your home.