Create an object of desire. An arbor in the distance shelters a garden bench, but it also serves as a frame to highlight a classical sundial placed at the cross section of two intersecting pathways, transforming a once-unnoticed corner of the garden into a charming focal point.
Give prominence to an otherwise ordinary object. Note where your gaze rests as you view the garden. Emphasize the importance of that perspective by displaying an urn, a planted vessel or a small sculpture on a garden table or pedestal. The placement of a table with an elegant base gives this garden niche a heightened feeling.
Go diagonal. Enhance diagonal sight lines with pathways and plantings placed at a 45-degree angle to the house. This method allows extended views through the garden while giving your landscape the illusion of being larger. Here, the diagonal stepping stone pathway has its own special point of view: a beautifully placed contemporary planter, its half-sphere bowl mirroring the mounded plant forms.
Use light and reflections. While this home's architectural lines are undeniably appealing, the structure is all the more stunning after dark when interior and exterior lighting turn it into a glowing beacon. Light creates dramatic contrast — thus, emphasis. Additionally, light can be reflected, which adds a touch of mystery.
Play with light. Here is another example of how light can create emphasis. Spotlighting and uplighting add glowing washes along the tree trunk and on the face of a sculpture. Garden lighting creates a magical effect that gives the garden a point of view after dark. It may take only one or two fixtures to achieve this effect.
Highlight Mother Nature. Plant an eye-catching island on the sunrise or sunset side of your home to take advantage of the way horizontal rays at dawn or dusk backlight branches, foliage and ornamentation. This beautiful island is a focal point, with large-scale urns integrated with a specimen tree, various shrubs and ground covers. It is almost as dramatic as the snow-capped mountain range in the distance.
Use color for emphasis. The color, form and placement of a piece of art elevates it to a place of prominence in this hip rooftop garden. The glossy orange steel forms in "Tempest," by Jennifer Gilbert Asher of TerraTrellis, make a compelling connection with the Golden Gate Bridge in the distance. There's also a whimsical interplay with the row of orange-blooming kargaroo paw plants against the white structure. Brilliant, in more ways than one.
Balance the scene. Frame a view with symmetrical plantings, such as clipped hedge forms or a set of flowering crab apple trees placed in all four quadrants around a central element. This design reveals an updated approach to the traditional garden maze. Yes, it is a perfectly symmetrical garden vignette, but the blue-glazed urn downplays stuffy formality.
Create a portrait. A combination of architecture, horticulture and art turns what could easily have been a prosaic section of fence into an intriguing moment in the landscape. The inspired placement of an Asian stone lantern is the detail that creates emphasis and a point of view. Every other element draws the eye to this spot, from the vivid red canopy of the Japanese maple tree to the stepping-stone path.
A room with a view. It's natural to want a point of view when we look through a window or door, but this exceptional home is so fully integrated into the landscape that it's hard to tell where the garden ends and the interior begins. Clearly, the multitrunk tree is the focal point of this environment, and the open-air architecture is perfectly sited to exploit the vista. Wow!
Journey's end. This path leads through a stand of trees where only dappled light illuminates, and it continues toward a distant, sunnier spot in the landscape. By creating a walkway through the trees, a series of strong lines is emphasized and the low, L-shape bench becomes the natural focal point.