IF you are trying to create more excitement in your garden, consider adding a focal point to direct the eye to an object or area of interest.
If your planting borders seem like they are missing something, you probably need a scene-stealer.
As the eye sweeps along the bed, it needs a landing spot.
Think of a focal point as punctuation and your plants as words. You need a little punctuation for a sentence to make sense and optimise the flow.
We all strive to create a planting border that floats along with a variety of textures and colours, but it may need a vertical element or a special item to add interest.
These can be dramatic expressions such as a sculpture, or more casual features such as a birdhouse.
Each has its place depending on whether your garden tends to be formal or casual.
As you think of gardens with stunning water features, an architectural tree or interesting sculpture, your eye takes in that information, then travels outward to the other plants and features.
This is a way to transform your garden from ordinary to extraordinary.
For those who admire formal gardens, the classic sundial is the perfect centrepiece.
These instruments were once used to tell the time by the length of the shadow cast by the sun, but today they are simply ornamental features.
What can you use as a focal point? You don't have to break the bank or redesign your entire garden.
One of the simplest things you can do is to place a container planting in a border.
On the formal side, you can add a large, elegant urn, but for the casual garden a container or group of planters can make the area pop with excitement and colour.
As an example: in a shady area with hydrangeas, a bright, blue ceramic pot planted with a red begonia and fern and elevated with stones echoes the blue of the hydrangeas, creating a simple, but elegant, focal point.
When the hydrangeas have finished blooming, the container stays fresh and colourful.
Adding a vertical element, such as a metal or wooden garden pillar, to your bed or border is another easy solution.
As annual and/or perennial vines grow on the pillar, they lead the eye upward. Other vertical structures include a birdhouse on a pole, an arbor or a pergola.
Even stones can make an attractive focal point.
You can use a boulder or boulder grouping, or even larger stones artfully placed in the garden.