Accessorizing a garden is like decorating a home or choosing a new outfit. How a garden is adorned sets the tone and defines a space. To establish order, focal points are commonly used as part of basic garden design. A focal point is the anchor around which the rest of the garden is created. Mindful placement of plants and hardscaping enhances the visual organization of a landscape. A central subject lends continuity throughout the seasons as plants go in and out of bloom. Without something to focus on, the eye wanders, looking for a place to rest.
Two modern-style ceramic containers create a frame that directs the eye to the Chinese bell arbor. The contrasting color and style of the pots and arbor creates visual tension and a sense of intrigue. A lone teal pot off to one side gives an initial glimpse into the garden beyond. Another similarly hued container placed farther down the path draws the viewer into the landscape and lends continuity. The placement of a tall burnt sienna vessel at the center of a gravel landing encourages visitors to pause and enjoy this narrow side yard. Splashes of orange and red in adjacent plants and garden art unifies the space.
A focal point can be a foundation plant, gazebo, chair, water feature, statue or a piece of art. It acts as a calling card, the cue that invites viewers to explore the garden further. This grouping of pots has greater impact than a single container, and ultimately draws attention to the glass water feature in the background. A classic terra-cotta urn is decorated with cheerful metal ribbon sculptures. A jasmine-covered arbor frames the container, further directing the eye to the center.
Containers are commonly used as focal points and are equally effective whether planted or left empty. There are several factors to consider when choosing a pot. Color incites the mood; bold hues of yellow or red create drama and excitement, while cooler tones of blue and green are more serene. Selecting a pot with hues similar to a home’s exterior integrates the house with the landscape. A Craftsman or Victorian home is more suited to traditional urns, while a ranch or contemporary-style home is enhanced by modern planters.
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