Tag Archive: focal point


front garden1A front garden is on view to all, so must look good all year and be functional. Here are a few ideas for making your own ‘entrance’:

Focal points-

  • A statue, pot or some other hard landscape feature can be used to provide a focal point; something to draw the eye and give a sense of unity to the front garden.

  • Alternatively, box topiary shapes or other bold ‘architectural’ plants can fulfil this role and can be relatively easy to maintain. Likewise, planting groups of the same plant can be used to create a series of ‘green’ focal points.

  • Another idea is to create a feature such as a rockery that will be seen from the roadside and combines both hard and soft landscaping elements.

Paths and drives-

  • A path to the front door is a central feature of most front gardens. By laying this diagonally across the plot an illusion of depth can be created. If your plot is relatively small and your path from garden entrance to front door has to be primarily fucntional, they should take the shortest route if they are going to be used by casual visitors. However, they can be made to look more attractive by introducing gentle curves or by by using a mixture of path surfacing materials such as brick and stone. But don’t use more than two or three different materials as this can cretae a fussy, disjointed look.

  • If your plot is larger and you can fit in a second path which has a mainly decorative role, this can be routed to meander through the garden and provide easy access to each part of the plot; it could be a continuous ‘snake’ of paving or stepping stones, or a combination of both.

  • Don’t underlay gravel with different coloured or shaped chippings, as over time these will rise to the surface and the result will look ugly.

  • Try to avoid using impermeable materials for vehicle hard standings (there are now regulations in place about this) and if you do have large hard surfaced areas use planting pockets to break these up- a car can easily pass over low growing plants.

Planting-

  • Drought- tolerant shrubs such as Hebe and Choisya help to squeeze out weeds, so helping to keep the front garden looking tidy.

  • Plant tough plants at the edges of drives such as ornamental grasses, heathers or creeping thymes, which will survive an occasional clipping by a car tyre.

  • Use creeping plants near to the edges of the garden to create a natural look.

Good neighbour-

  • Abide by the law if you are thinking about some more major changes to your front garden e.g. if you are putting up a wall or fence adjoining a public road that is higher than 90cms or hedges in such locations. You need to contact the local authority before putting in solid boundaries and may be asked to cut back hedges that interfere with sight lines.

  • Likewise you need to contact the local authority if you plan to put in a vehicle ‘crossover’ over a public footpath and if you want to cultivate any grass verge outside your house.

front garden2

Source: Short Cuts to Great Gardens- Reader’s Digest

Old School Gardener

 

 

Using focal points- including the more unusual- is an effective way of drawing the eye away from the edges of a space
Using focal points- including the more unusual- is an effective way of drawing the eye away from the edges of a space

Sometimes, especially with awkwardly shaped or smaller gardens, it makes sense to try and draw the eye from the outer boundaries and create a more pleasing and, apparently larger space. Here are seven ‘top tips’ for achieving this:

1. Put square and rectangular patios and lawns at 45/30/60 degrees to the side boundaries or use shapes for these and other flat areas which contrast with the outer shape of the garden.

2. Set paths to run at an angle to the garden boundaries in zig zags or dog leg style.

3. Make paths curved, meandering from side to side.

Paths- including grass- and the border edges they create can be meandering to take the eye on a journey..
Paths- including grass- and the border edges they create can be meandering to take the eye on a journey..

4. Fix structures such as trellis, pergolas and arches or plant hedges across the garden to interrupt the view and to create separate compartments.

5. Place groups of tall shrubs or trees at intervals in the line of sight to block views across or down the garden.

6. Use climbers and large shrubs, especially evergreens, to disguise solid formal boundary fences and to break up the straight lines, particularly the horizontal ones of fence/ wall tops.

7. Carefully place focal points to draw the eye in various chosen directions, positioning them so that they can be seen from different places in the garden.

Use climbing plants to cover up and soften hard boundaries

Use climbing plants to cover up and soften hard boundaries

Related article: Arbours and Pergolas in the Garden- 7 Top Tips

Old School Gardener

Hosta shoots

Hosta shoots -courtesy Marcus Bawdon http://www.countrywoodsmoke.com

‘Everyone has Hostas’… OK so you may think them unfashionable, but I love them… the whole growth process –  new shoots spearing up above the soil surface (right now in Old School Garden), the unfurling leaves, the full blousy foliage and the delicate flowers of pinks, lavenders and whites.

Otherwise known as the ‘Plantain lily’, Hostas come originally from eastern Russia, China, Japan and Korea. They are very hardy. Most of the 40 – 70 or so species (there is disagreement over the exact number) and over 7000 cultivars are grown for their foliage, though for many the flowers are also noteable. True perennials, their foliage dies back and they descend underground over winter, to send up new growth spears in spring and achieve their full glory in summer with some varieties flowering into early autumn. Some species also give a second, albeit brief, display in autumn.

 

The leaves vary between round, ovate, lance or heart – shaped and are between 12cm and 50cm in length. They come in all shades of green, some solid in colour others with margins or centres variegated in shades from white to golden yellow. Flowers range from bell to trumpet shaped, and are held in one-sided racemes or ‘scapes’.

 

Hostas will grow in full sun to full shade – they flower better if in the sun and the yellow-leaved varieties also do better in full sun. Overall, however, they tend to do best in dappled shade and where they are away from the hot noon-day sun (the blue – green leaved varieties have more intense colouring in the shade). They need moisture at their roots and this is even more the case in full sun – so they need watering in dry spells and generally do best in moist ground which is rich in organic matter and neutral to slightly alkaline . Foliage will start to wilt if they are too dry. They can be easily propagated by division at almost any time of year – a sharp spade or knife thrust down to split the roots is all that’s required.

Slug and snail damage

Slug and snail damage

Pest problems focus on slugs and snails which can nibble the emerging shoots – such damage can scar the leaves for the rest of the season, so preventative and quick action to remove slugs and nails is crucial, especially in early spring. Sometimes, especially in water – logged ground, the plants can be susceptible to ‘crown rot’ and if this is the case they should be moved to a more suitable site. Hostas have low levels of allergens. Some Hostas are edible, their young shoots being forced and harvested in the far east, eaten sauted or rolled in proscuitto!

 

Hostas look good in groups around ponds and damp areas, and are particularly useful in areas of medium to light shade.   Their foliage makes for a bold texture so they are good as focal points, contrasting well with grassy – like leaves and stems. They are also good in containers where the leaves and flowers can be seen close up. I grow most of mine this way, in black planters in our Courtyard Garden – the black provides wonderful contrast to the rich greens and yellows of the foliage. But it’s important to keep them well watered once growth starts. Other ideas for using Hostas include:

  • ‘Plant different varieties in large masses or drifts for reliable color and texture in the garden.

  • Brighten shady garden areas with gold or variegated hostas.

  • Use hostas to bridge gaps in seasonal perennial bloom.

  • Variegated hostas with white or cream margins paired with other white flowering plants glow in “moonlight gardens” when homeowners arrive in the evening from work.

  • Hosta leaves emerge just as spring bulb foliage starts to fade, hiding it from view.

  • A single hosta in a container is dramatic and sculptural. Hostas look great in containers paired with other foliage plants or annuals. Remember to provide adequate water.

  • Plant fragrant hostas close to paths and walkways for best appreciation.

  • Use small hostas for edging along walkways and flower borders.

  • Hosta leaves and flowers are attractive in floral arrangements.’

Source: University of Minnesota Extension

Images from:  Newtonairds Lodge Hostas and Garden (the national collection), Wikipedia and other sites as shown on picture titles.

Further information:

RHS- Growing Hostas

British Hosta and Hemerocallis Society

Slug resistant Hostas

How to lift and divide Hostas (video)

Hosta varieties and where to buy etc.

The National Hosta collection

Winsford Walled Garden, Devon- success with Hostas

Hosta shoots wrapped in prosciutto

Hostas and their flowers

 

Old School Gardener

If you’ve enjoyed reading this post and others on this blog, why not comment and join others by signing up for automatic updates via email (see side bar, above right ) or through an RSS feed (see top of page)?

Alphabet Ravine

Lydia Rae Bush Poetry

TIME GENTS

Australian Pub Project

Vanha Talo Suomi

a harrowing journey of home improvement

How I Killed Betty!

The Diary and blog on How to Tackle Depression and Anxiety!

Bits & Tidbits

RANDOM BITS & MORE TIDBITS

Rambling in the Garden

.....and nurturing my soul

The Interpretation Game

Cultural Heritage and the Digital Economy

pbmGarden

Sense of place, purpose, rejuvenation and joy

SISSINGHURST GARDEN

Notes from the Gardeners...

Deep Green Permaculture

Connecting People to Nature, Empowering People to Live Sustainably

BloominBootiful

A girl and her garden :)

gwenniesworld

ABOUT MY GARDEN, MY TRAVELS AND ART

Salt of Portugal

all that is glorious about Portugal

The Ramblings of an Aspiring Small Town Girl

Cooking, gardening, fishing, living, laughing.

aristonorganic

"The Best of the Best"

PetalPushin

Thoughts from a professional Petal Pusher

Free Spirit Publishing Blog

An idea exchange for kids' education

%d bloggers like this: