In the first part of this series on focal points we touched on how to use the front door as an “eye catcher” to draw attention to the entry of our homes. In the photographs that follow, I have selected other features that can be added to the garden to serve as decorative elements, that, when placed strategically, can add interest and charm. The feature can be architectural such as the lattice panel and arbor which are larger in form or simply the whimsy of a little bird house tucked into a container. The charming ‘castle bird house’ is a one of a kind piece by Harry Holl at Scargo Hill Pottery in Dennis, MA. It shows to best advantage here simply backed by the foliage of a white pine.
Beautiful containers filled with flowers or sculpture can be used effectively as well. The bust is located at the Saint Gaudens Historical site in New Hampshire and gives us an idea of how this kind of feature can be tucked into a garden for interest. One need not own a costly work of art to achieve this vignette, so search for some interesting found element that resonates with you. A client of mine asked me to place a cherished piece of driftwood somewhere in her flower garden!
I am particularly fond of armillary spheres and they make a wonderful addition to a traditional garden. Use a compass to set true north and you’ll never need to wear a watch when working in your yard. Typically they are set on pedestals of a given height to display them to best advantage. The one pictured here was made in California and set on a pedestal from New England Garden Ornaments in Sudbury, MA. The piece was then set as a “focal point” in a driveway island and accented with true dwarf boxwood. Notice how the steps in the stone wall frame this beautiful ornament.
In the next post we will look at how plants can play a similar role. Positioning that specimen tree will be our first consideration.