One garden design concept is to create a focal point in the garden. Some plants can be considered “specimen plants” because of their unique characteristics, such as a striking color, form, or texture. The idea behind focal-point planting is to make these specimen plants stand out, as well as to avoid a chaotic look and feel that can come from planting too many specimen plants together.
A star attraction in the garden could be a Japanese Maple with its intricate leaves and delicate form; an Azalea covered with an almost iridescent purple hue of blooms; and mounds of strikingly black Mondo grass.
A good strategy for creating a garden focal point is to choose and plant the focal-point first. Then, fill in around the focal point. One way to make a specimen plant stand out is to surround it with contrasting colors, forms, or textures. For example, if you’ve planted a Japanese Maple with narrow leaves, try planting shrubs with broad leaves around it. If you’ve planted Black Mondo Grass, try surrounding it with lime green Creeping Jenny. In addition to using contrasting colors, note that green foliage provides a perfect backdrop for making a specimen plant the star of center stage (red rose bushes look beautiful placed in front of dark green conifers).
You can create focal points in several areas of a garden. Imagine someone scanning through your garden. You want to draw their eyes to a focal point, then give their eyes a break as they scan some more, and then provide another focal point for them to pause and look.
Not only will you create a harmonious garden, you will also give your star plants the undivided attention they deserve.
By Shannon Mendez