If I think of all the gardens that I’ve visited (and believe me there have been many!), the ones that stand out in my mind are those that don’t let it all hang out at once.  It’s far more interesting to be enticed around a garden moving from area to area finding hidden gems and surprise views.  If there’s nothing to discover, why bother looking?

View to the clock tower at Bramdean House

If there’s enough space to divide a garden into different areas then there should be a reward for making the journey.  Back in the days of the Landscape movement clients would commission buildings and bridges and the planting of majestic trees.  For the average client these days, things are done on a smaller scale!  But there’s still scope to use views and focal points around any garden, whatever the size.

Bust on pedestal viewed through archway

Sculpture is the obvious choice when it comes to choosing a focal point. But also consider ornamental pots, or seating tucked away or at the end of a vista.

A beautiful pot tucked into planting at the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden

Dividing the garden up with hedging, fences or trellis screens creates the opportunity to develop more intimate spaces which are perfect to show off ornamental features.

A pot surrounded by low hedging forms a lovely focal point at the end of a path

It’s far more effective to show artworks or objects as single items where they can be savoured, rather than bunched together where they lose impact.

View of the South Downs framed by these gates, which are left invitingly open

Framing a view (which could be outside the garden, not necessarily inside) is a great device for adding extra interest to a garden. It’s often more interesting to be allowed only a partial view glimpsed occasionally, than to have an open view at all times.

Brickwork ‘moongate’ framing the view at Great Comp gardens in Kent

As with many things in life, less is more when it comes to focal points, but when used with restraint, they can make all the difference.

Sundial at Bramdean House set in circular lawn, surrounded by Yew hedging

Picture credits: Janet Bligh, Photoforsale