Growing Concerns: Arrange garden around focal points

By Staff

Focal points are features in the yard or garden meant to attract attention. They can be lots of different things, but the bottom line is everything else is planted or placed to make this one item stand out. You are not limited to just one focal point in the yard. You can have several and if placed strategically they will not compete for attention.

I like to work in views for my garden. My first focal point is just after you open the gate to walk into my backyard. Right in front of you, along the back fence is a beautiful Japanese maple with its bright, vibrant red leaves which draws your eyes right through the yard. To make the Japanese maple stand out even more I have planted blue hostas and grey lambs ear around it.

If you look to the left in my yard, you will find a large, black, cast iron bird bath surrounded by copper coralbells and yellow iris and other plants in that gold, bronze and yellow with a hint of orange in this theme.

In both back corners of my yard you will find arbours. One is white resin, leading into a formal garden of hostas and hydrangea and a large cast iron planter full of annuals framed by the arbour.

In the other corner is a handmade metal arbour that suits the more rustic garden on that side of the yard. As you pass through the arbour and go around the corner you will find a concrete bird bath hidden from site but framed by a large ornamental grass.

In another garden I have a variegated dogwood planted in an English cutting garden. With this tree, I have put up lighting so it glows in the evening and makes a beautiful view from our porch.

Focal points are things that make you happy and give you joy. Experiment by moving your art around in the garden. I try hard not to put my figures and other items in the same spot every year. I spend a lot of time in the winter scrolling through pictures of focal points and figuring out how I can make the ideas work in my garden.

I love colour, so I have been known to paint my garden art a different colour every couple of years. Birds have been hunter green, bright red and now black. Trellises have been green, black, brown, grey and even bright blue. Don’t be afraid to give some of your garden art a facelift with a coat of paint.

Denise Hodgins is a professional gardening coach in London. Send your questions to [email protected]

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