Every garden is comprised of a wide variety of different design elements, every one of which work in harmony to make the space unique, and give it personality. Your choice of Indian paving stone makes up just one of these design elements, and it can have a surprisingly large effect on the overall look and atmosphere for your garden. There are only a few other elements to have this level of influence on your garden’s appearance, and one of those is its focal point. So if you’re wondering exactly what that is, and how to create one for your own space, this short guide should be able to provide some helpful pointers!
What is a focal point?
In a nutshell, a focal point is an area of your garden which naturally draws and directs the gaze of an onlooker, due to its decorative, colourful, or inviting nature. It might be purely an item of visual interest, such as a particularly beautiful plant or ornament, or it could serve practical purposes as well, such as a bench or seating area where visitors can relax and take in the space around them.
Focal points can be used in different ways to achieve some quite fascinating effects, depending on the style of the space. For example, in traditional gardens which use Golden Leaf or Autumn Brown Indian sandstone, a pergola could be used to create a permanent shaded seating area, with its warm or neutral shade blending seamlessly in with the natural trees and hedges around it. Statues are a popular choice, often wrapped in vines or creepers so that they’re partially absorbed into their surroundings.
Alternatively, a focal point can be used to create contrast, such as a brightly coloured plant or area of shrubbery in an otherwise cool and contemporary space. (These sorts of spaces tend to incorporate neutral tones like Kandla Grey Indian Sandstone, or even Kota Black.)
How to create a focal point for your own garden
The beauty of a focal point is that it can be almost anything - a sculpture, statue, plant, hedge, building, structure or piece of furniture. You might know right off the mark which of those appeals to you most, but if you’re still having trouble working out where to start, it can be helpful to begin by considering exactly what you want for your space.
First of all, do you want your focal point to be decorative, or functional, or both? Some of the most common decorative focal points include brightly coloured plants, trellises or ornaments, whereas more functional options include pergolas, seating areas or even garden sheds.
It’s also worth considering the sort of style and atmosphere you’re going for with your garden. A focal point can even be used to enhance, complement, or even adjust the overall look and feel of your space. Carefully chosen focal points are great for adding texture and depth to a garden design, although care must be taken to ensure they don’t end up looking too incongruous.
So, are you looking to create a stunning contemporary space with real visual impact, or a cosy cottage garden where you can read and enjoy the sunshine in the warmer months of the year? For the former, you could start by looking at darker or more monolithic ornaments and structures, or something silver or glass. For the latter, you might want traditional stone urns and ornaments or modest wood furniture. Simple ponds or more complex water features are also ideas worth considering, and how they’ll fit into your space.
Deciding on the best position for your focal point
Don’t forget that focal points aren’t just defined by their size, materials and textures, but also by their positioning in your garden. If you’re having trouble visualising where it may go, it’s a good idea to use a chair or similar object as a temporary substitute. Place it in the space you’re considering reserving for your new focal point, and then come and stand at your back door and think about the effect. Does it stand out or draw your eye naturally, or does it look awkward and hemmed in?
Lots of people like their focal points to be central within their gardens, but it’s not a hard and fast rule. If you’ve got a circular garden, for example, you might find that a focal point works best when it’s placed towards the outer edge. And if you’ve got a large garden, try to avoid placing a smaller focal point too far down towards the end of your space, as it can be difficult to pick out for onlookers, which can undermine the effect you might be going for.
A final word of advice - make sure not too have too many focal points in your garden, or it can end up looking cluttered and chaotic. If you already have a large tree of any kind, that’s probably already going to be a natural focal point whether you like it or not, so you’ll have to take that into account.
These are just a few of our ideas, of course - you might well have plenty of your own! If you still need a bit of inspiration, you can check out our favourite up-and-coming design trends for 2021. And if you’re looking for the best Indian sandstone to help you achieve one or more of these effects, you’re in exactly the right place. We’ve got a varied range of Indian sandstone paving to choose from here at Bridge Street Stone, so you’ve got no shortage of choice in terms of achieving your vision. All are sourced directly from India, and we’re able to offer free delivery to most areas. To make an order, feel free to give us a call today on 01282 860571.