Focal Points in Landscape Design
A “Focal Point” is a center of interest or activity. Focal Points are a design concept and are important to keep in mind when doing a Landscape Design. This is because a focal point is something that will capture the bulk of your attention and capture your interest. Now think about Landscape Design and how it relates to focal points. Landscape Designs should have “movement” as one of the requirements. In other words, you don’t really want to be able to see absolutely everything in the entire landscape all at the same time with all of the components of that design capturing equal amounts of your attention. The landscape will quickly become boring to the viewer...the person experiencing the landscape. If there are focal points around the property, the person experiencing the landscape will become intrigued. They will be pulled to move forward to the next experience.
In interior design, an example of a focal point might be one brightly colored wall in an otherwise neutral pallet of wall colors. It would certainly capture the eye.
In the composition of artwork, the focal point may be most interesting for a number of reasons. It may be given a prominent position strictly on the basis of composition, it may have a deep meaning related to it, it may be controversial or otherwise compelling. A set of focal points will draw the eye from one place on the painting to the next, then around and back to where you started perhaps. You will not become bored with the piece of art. It will keep you looking. Your eye will keep moving.
Take a look at the photo here of a pretty formal landscape design. This design illustrates the idea of focal points quite clearly. Take a look at it. You will be intrigued and left wondering what it would be like to EXPERIENCE that landscape. You will be drawn around that experience with focal points leading the way.
When you first exit the house onto the patio, you will be tempted to go to the screen room. Once in the screen room, you can’t help but be impressed by the view down the corridor underneath that long, impressive Pergola.
At the very end of the view down that Pergola corridor, you will spot a fountain in the distance. It’s a destination. That destination that captures your attention is a focal point.
So, you go explore the fountain. But, when you just about get to the fountain, your interest is now captured by another focal point to your left. There’s an interesting little garden shed down another path. This garden shed is another focal point. Another point of interest drawing you down yet another path.
When at the shed, you see the exit out onto the lawn. When you get to the lawn, your attention is captured by a lovely statue at the edge of the yard. Once your attention is on the statue, you will notice an arbor at the corner of the yard. The arbor is, of course, another focal point. It invites you to come see what is beyond.
This is a basic lesson on focal points. Use them wisely and strategically and you will notice how your property becomes instantly more intriguing.
Landscaping is another form of artwork. Think of your yard as a canvas.
Use design principles. You will be glad you did.