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Gardening

The Secret To A Beautiful Garden: Make A Focal Point

If a garden is a show, the focal point is the main act. Here's how to add interest to your own garden.

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Original Article: Franco Hubilla Photography: Miguel Nacianceno

Gardens aren’t just for growing plants; these can also be a great area to receive guests, especially if you’re in the mood for a bit of change in scenery. Therefore it is important to make sure that your garden is just as lovely as the interiors of your home. But in case you’re at a loss on how to do this, here is a simple step-by-step guide to form a beautiful focal point in your garden.


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Step 1: Find a spot for the focal point

Choose an area which people frequent, so that the focal point can be viewed and appreciated as much as possible. If your garden is small, the best spot would be a corner, because the two converging walls creating that spot direct a person’s view towards it. Make sure that the corner isn’t near any utility rooms, such as a dirty kitchen or laundry area—it would defeat the purpose of creating a pretty focal point if there are trash bins or water tanks in the periphery.


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Step 2: Find a purpose for the area

Make your focal point not only visually pleasing but also functional, because if it is just pretty to look at, people will eventually stop paying attention to it. The focal point will be appreciated more if it also has a function—for example, if it is also a side table with a deck chair for lounging. Make sure that you do not set up any other nearby areas in the same way, to avoid making the focal point look redundant. You will end up losing your focal point and making your garden look even smaller.


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Step 3: Complement the focal point

Arrange the rest of the garden to complement and direct one’s view towards the focal point. Use different heights of plants that look uniform in terms of color and texture (example: plants with different shades of green; plants with leaves that are all fine).


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Step 4: Set up your focal point

Use tall plants (with different heights) with big leaves and bright colors for the main area.

Use pavers to highlight, define, and add contrast to the plants. If there’s enough space, put in a small sitting area.

Use lighting to define the area from the rest of the garden. Some kinds of fixtures you can use:

  • Fixed/in-ground uplights: Lamps which are usually set in the ground and directed upwards, which help add depth
  • Directional uplights: Adjustable lamps which are directed upwards, which help give focus to the plants
  • Low lights: Mushroom-shaped light fixtures that are about a foot high, which help define the space and set a mood


READ: We've Got Everything You Need To Know About Garden Lighting

This article originally appeared as “Garden DIY: Make a focal point” in the November 2005 issue of Real Living magazine.

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