“Go back to the basics,” is what you’ll always hear from professional designers when improving a space. It couldn’t be simpler than that. When you know the essential principles of design, you can pull off just about anything. One basic concept that can make all the difference in your makeover project is the focal point. While you probably have been very familiar with this in your interiors, do note that it’s also equally important in your landscape design. Here’s how a good focal point improves the overall look of your yard or garden:

It’s an instant point of visual interest.

Focal point commands attention. It captures the interest of people stepping into the space. You need that in such an area that has a lot of elements competing for people’s eyes. Remember, it’s not only the plants in your garden vying for attention. There’s the sky, the sunset, the ocean view perhaps, even your neighbor’s cute, little gazebo.

When you have too many visual points, you risk confusing the people entering the yard, leaving them with visual fatigue. That said, never ever overlook the focal point at the start of your project. Identify already what you want to highlight in the space. Once you decide, tone down all the other stuff. For instance, if you picked a certain plant, elevate its height compared to the rest using a big copper planter. If you picked a natural element, say, a sunrise-sunset, screen all the other attention-grabbing elements with dividers or panels. Kind of like a private viewing nook.

It downplays the eyesores.

tending the yard

Another reason you want your yard to have a focal point is for the fact that not all in your space is an eye candy. Some are simply hideous eyesores. There’s the trash bin in one corner. There’s the air conditioner unit on the other, and then there’s the fire hydrant in the middle of the lawn. You don’t want to see these details in your view when you step into the yard, right?

The solution is capturing sight immediately with a good focal point. Imagine your eyes landing on a majestic water fountain in the middle of the yard. All the other details, including the pesky eyesores, get blurred. When you do notice them later, though, they don’t matter anymore because you were already impressed by the focal point. Of course, you can always conceal those eyesores for real, and not just in sight. Hide them with tall shrubs. Reuse old shutters. Build an aluminum fence around them.

It fills up the awkward corners.

Pretty sure you’re familiar with awkward corners in the yard. You know, those tiny nooks and crannies that do nothing. But because of the irregular shape or a slip-up in the layout, they’re just there. These can be good places for focal points. You can have a bright-colored bench there. You can place a small bird feeder. You can put a mini water feature.

Keep in mind, though, that these focal points in various stations shouldn’t steal the spotlight away from each other. Again, you don’t want to leave people with visual fatigue. If the little corners have a good distance away from one another, then you can put a focal point. But if they belong to the same line of sight, just pick one place. Remember, negative space is equally important in design.

A good focal point makes a lot of difference in your outdoor space. In terms of aesthetics. In terms of functionality. Don’t ever make the mistake of neglecting it in planning your next makeover project.