• Sandi Manna

With Good Choices You Can Have Your Dream Garden. Part 1 of 5: Create A Focal Point

Are you struggling with an awkward space? Did you inherit a messy design when you purchased your home? Does your garden miss the mark for your lifestyle? Maybe it requires too much maintenance for your schedule. If you answered yes to any of these, don't give up. The right changes can transform even the worst outdoor space into a dream garden. In this series you'll discover the key things it takes to transform a nightmare into a dream. You'll learn what to take into consideration and how to enhance the views from within, and beyond your garden. You'll get tips for creating a landscape that's colorful all year long (yes, even in the dead of winter), without overdoing it. In this 5 part series, we'll discuss the different points that professionals take into consideration to create the ideal landscape.

So stop stressing over your garden and start enjoying it!


Create a definite focal point to anchor your garden. This can be an entire area such as a specialty garden, or something as simple as a bench or piece of statuary.

If you're not sure where to establish a focal point, take these ideas into consideration.

A site's focal point is anyplace that is more interesting than another. It may be a view out to the water, overlooking a field, or even a structure such as a pergola. It can be a high section, a rock, or a beautiful tree. If you don't have a focal point, don't worry, you can create one. Just envision where you would like to spend time in your yard (even if it's just all weeds and faces the woods), and work backwards from there. Maybe you want the shade of the house or a tree to cool you in the afternoon. Maybe you want to sit in your yard and look at the sunset...or sunrise. Maybe your front yard has a better view or is more private than your back. There are no rules. Spend some time quietly in your yard at different times of the day - especially during the time you might be most likely to use it. See how the different areas make you feel. Pay attention to the various sounds. There is a solution for everything. A grouping of plants can create a natural screening both visually and audibly. A pond or fountain can soothe obtrusive sounds. Once you figure out where you'd like to spend time, here are some ways to help draw attention to that area.

Clear around it

If you have woods or weeds, you want to clear enough of a spot around the area so that you

feel comfortable and not crowded.

Make it a destination.

Create or clear a path to it. This can be as simple as some stepping stones placed in the grass or an all out walkway. There are no rules, this is your garden, your sanctuary. There are a number of different options for paths. From pavers to grave,l to bluestone and natural stone - the possibilities are endless. Look online or in some garden magazines for inspiration. You can even browse our portfolio.

Incorporate some things that invite you to relax

Add a bench or some chairs.

Remember, today's lawn furniture is not your grandmother's lawn furniture. Today's outdoor furniture can be quaint

or elegant. Outdoor furniture comes in

a variety of styles and colors to suit any

taste. There are even different types of

outdoor furniture with the same types

of fabric that they use for indoor

furniture. Gone are the days of cheesy

plastic, uncomfortable furniture. Look

around, you might be surprised!

Add some shade

Add a pergola or an umbrella to keep you cool in the afternoon sun

Illuminate it

Soft landscape lighting can create a mood. Whether it's a space for entertaining that's well lit,

or just a quiet area that's slightly enhanced, an area that's lit draws the eye.

Incorporate soft curves

The curve of a walkway or garden bed is much more pleasing to the eye than a straight line.

The curve automatically draws your eye through the space in an appealing way. Even if you

can see the final destination, a curve creates a curiosity the eye wants to explore.

Create a focal point for your area of interest

Just about any and all of these tips will work to create a focal point where there is none, but if you want to take it to the next level and create a focal point within your area of interest, consider a patio, a pond, a water feature (which could even be a simple bubbler), or an upright stone. This is an example of an armillary within a landscape border. The height draws your attention to the piece, while the contrasting texture of metals amidst the softer texture of leaves offers a nice contrast. The height and contrast create a focal point within this garden.

Surround yourself with color and/or fragrance

If you're not truly a gardener, you can surround yourself with color and or fragrance simply by

adding a few pots. They can be tall or short, or a

combination of sizes. You can plant annuals

that will add color and/or fragrance to that area.

You could also plant herbs along with annuals or

leave them as only herbs for use when you cook. A

few pots won't require a whole lot of maintenance

and it's a really good way to liven up your space.

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#Landscaping #EnhancingYourLandscape #PlanningYourLandscape #GardeningBasics