We use cookies on this website. To use the website as intended please accept cookies.

Tuesday August 20 , 2019

Blue Daisy Blog

Blue Daisy blog written by Nicki Jackson & Jules Clark - for news, views, garden design, gardening and plant observations and thoughts.

Garden Design Quick Tip - Focal Points - Lines and Frames

Posted by on in Garden Design
  • Font size: Larger Smaller
  • Hits: 3013
  • Subscribe to this entry
  • Print

focal point - leading lines

Focal points are brilliant tools for bringing your garden ‘into focus’ – focal points add context to a garden.  By giving a viewer something distinct to look at, it somehow manages to bring the setting around it – the wider garden – into focus too.  

Focal points work best when there is a clear line of sight to them; by clearing the way of any other distractions the viewer’s eye is inexorably drawn to the focal point at ‘the end of the line’.  The focal point can be anything – an urn, a bench, a plant, a sculpture, etc but it needs to be distinct enough from its surroundings to hold the attention of the viewer for a while once their gaze reaches it.  It’s that ‘pause’ of attention that then allows the focal point’s surroundings to then be thrown into focus too.

There are a number of ways of creating those clear lines of sight but two of the most effective methods, and most often used, are based around converging lines and frames.  

In a converging line approach you’d place your focal point at the end of two (or more, but usually two) converging lines. Whilst physically converging lines can be used in most instances the converging lines are a trick of perspective: for example if you look at a straight road in the distance both of its sides seem to converge at a single point – it is this effect that focal points can benefit from.  If you position your focal point at the ‘meeting point’ of those lines it creates much more impact.  The lines draw the eye along them right to the meeting point/focal point as can be seen in our first image (above).  This shot was taken at RHS Wisley and you can see how the lawn/border edges create converging lines leading to the luminous clump of ornamental grass at their virtual meeting point.  It is a compelling sight (added to by the direction of the lawn mowing lines too!); you can’t help but be led to the focal point and only then, once you’ve seen it, do you traverse back and take in the bigger picture.

focal points - framingFraming on the other hand is where the focal point is framed for the viewer, thereby becoming the centre of ‘the picture’.  You can ‘frame’ a focal point in any of a number of ways: pergolas, arches, branches, climbing plants, hedges, reflections, buildings, colour, etc – they can all work spectacularly well.  Our example image (left) shows how Yew hedges (Taxus baccata) have been used as a frame for the water feature beyond them but it also frames the ongoing and further focal point beyond the initial one too.  The first focal point is the pause point which once seen, then pulls the scene beyond it into focus.  The frame surrounds a perfect ‘picture’, only viewable from that particular point since the hedge blocks any unintended views.  This was taken at National Trust Hidcote Manor Gardens.

Obviously we’re not all lucky enough to have acres of land in which to create long sweeping vistas but we can still apply these techniques in smaller spaces.  Simple pathways can create a converging line effect while small trees, hedges, arches and gateways can create the perfect frame for your own personal focal point.  The possibilities are seriously endless but don’t forget to try to be restrained with the number of focal points you use in your garden.  Less is definitely more for this effect to be truly outstanding.




  • No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment

Leave your comment

Guest Tuesday, 20 August 2019

Blog Categories

Tag Cloud

rainwater harvesting topiary James Wong Joe Swift roof garden Chelsea Flower Show RHS Hampton Court CorTen steel watering paving kerb-side appeal cottage gardens stonemarket Lantra twitter GYO Berberis bees February garden water butt Absorb pollution winter garden garden focal points Echinacea Sophie Raworth HNC Garden Planning lawn care cyclamen Narcissus Urban Heat Island Euphorbia productive garden grow your own Kew Gardens grey water garden advice at home Jekka McVicar roof gardens John Massey vertical garden Highgrove snow Moss Bank Park Charlie Dimmock rock gardens edible garden show January garden house plants spring garden Briza maxima surfaces scented shrubs wild flowers August garden show gardens Hidcote Bamboo autumn garden London Birmingham Library Kelmarsh Hall July garden Trees Hosta contemporary legacy gift plant pots Stoneleigh Urban Heat Island Effect ornamental grasses Chris Beardshaw plants Great British Garden Revival Phyllostachys nigra summer garden April garden women and work award hosepipe Tom Hart-Dyke Wisley October garden deer sound in the garden December garden ash pollinators heatwave Spring shrubs sunflowers Malvern Hills reclaimed materials bulbs pests Cloches hard landscaping acer watering can Horticultural Shrubs Winter shrubs colour in your garden courtyard gardening on tv recycled materials Ashwood Nurseries Achillea Monty Don doddington hall herbaceous borders terracota Kensington Roof Garden pollinating insects Stone Lane Gardens form composting Alan Titchmarsh sweat peas Decking movement in the garden Laurel rosemary Cosmos astrosanguineus Lawrence Johnston repetition Crocus saving water bulb display RHS Tatton Park NSALG Matt James RHS Malvern build Horticulturalist career in horticulture Buxus water conservation eco-friendly New York Highline front garden Toby Buckland RHS Chelsea garden design Daffodils elm traditional style planning your garden Herb garden Coastal plants Fleece Geranium poppies Joseph Banks alpines Alys Fowler Prince Harry Carol Klein Wildflowers Events & Shows green spaces blue garden gravel Rachel de Thame hydroponic winner June garden Cambridge botanical garden September garden RHS birch rococo kitchen garden basil Capability Brown herbs Taxus pond BBC CorTen patio water Perennial Floating Paradise Gardens of London February timber Selfridges Roof Garden HTA sorbus Snowdrops Joanna Lumley Chelsea Physic Garden Seed sowing Ilex drought Mrs Loudon Glasshouse March garden Acuba Levens Hall wildlife ha ha Berginia garden design trends unity structure National Trust National Gardening Week Futurescape Blue Daisy Greenhouse spring bulbs November garden May garden garden room Malvern Spring Show water feature Herb Gardeners World garden design tip cottage garden Cut flowers Nicki Jackson Horticulture

Welcome to Blue Daisy Blog

Our Promise

promiseWe work hard to keep our customers happy.  We work to a voluntary customer charter.

Peace of Mind

simplybusinessWe take our responsibilities seriously so we're insured through Simply Business.

Click on the logo for our Garden Design insurance details. For Gardening details see our gardening services page.

Proud Members Of...

landscapejuicen... The Landscape Juice Network where we interact with other professional gardeners, designers and landscapers.