Add Garden Art to Create a Focal Point in Your Outdoor Space
Article by Elizabeth Cull. Dig This Patio images by Jody Beck; all others courtesy of Castart Studios.
You’ve done the “hardscaping” – laid down perfect paths, built rustic walls and extended the patio to be a great spot for entertaining friends and family. Your planting schemes are the envy of your neighbours – lush, textured and interesting twelve months of the year. Yet something is still missing. There’s nothing to stop your eye, to make you linger to inspect more closely, or wonder what’s beyond that curve in the path. You need a focal point.
Every garden deserves a little drama. Adding drama makes it personal and moves it from ordinary to extraordinary. Placing art in your garden as a focal point is the easiest way to do this.
Why should we care about focal points? Good focal points direct you where to look and create a mood or theme for your garden. Without focal points, the viewer’s eye wanders from place to place without a plan. There’s no “story” to the garden – it’s just another pretty place. An interesting focal point says “look here!” and makes the garden coherent.
Dig This owner, Margot Wilson, explained that almost anything interesting can be a focal point in the garden. Arbors, obelisks, statues, benches, birdbaths, pots and sundials all make great focal points. You don’t have to spend a lot of money to create a great focal point. Found objects, like a rusted milk can or an old wheelbarrow or bicycle turned into a planter work just as well.
Focal points serve several purposes. The lanterns, glass bottles and colourful pillow draw the eye to the centre of this outdoor seating area. They say “this is where it is happening”. In a garden, the furniture itself becomes a focal point, so you should consider not only sun and shade when you position your outdoor furniture, but also where you want people to focus.
Focal points can also distract from views or objects you wish weren’t visible from your garden, like a neighbour’s garage or an ugly power pole. An interesting focal point in the foreground keeps the eye inside the garden. Seen from a different angle, these same objects distract the eye from the unattractive building in the background.
Focal points can also create a theme to your garden. The Japanese lantern sets the tone for Asian themed garden. The serene face creates a mood of peace and invites contemplation.
By contrast, the three playful otters strike a fun note and whimsical little Ernie with his flower, or the thinker, will bring a smile to anyone’s face.
The selection of garden focal points is as personal as selecting art for your home. Go with what you love and what creates the mood you most want to experience in your garden. If you do that, you won’t go wrong.