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Other Landscaping Visual Cues: Foundation Plantings

Color, Symmetry Used to Create a Focal Point


In this photo gallery, we look at various tricks employed by landscape designers for controlling the viewer's eye movement....
Focal point example.

The central shrub in this arrangement is the focal point not only due to its position, but also due to its color.

David Beaulieu

Focal points are just one of those tricks, but that's what I'll begin with. In the example above, the homeowners clearly value their Chamaecyparis shrub: they've made it the focal point of their foundation planting. But how did they go about it?

Well, centering the shrub in its foundation planting was obviously a good start. But in this case, centering is accomplished by more than just the placement of the Chamaecyparis; it's also a matter of how the other plants are arranged around it. Specifically, the other plants are paired off symmetrically, flanking the Chamaecyparis. The effect of this arrangement is to highlight the Chamaecyparis: it's the "odd man out" (in a good way!) in the arrangement.

The status of the Chamaecyparis as focal point is further ensured by its color. Its golden foliage stands out from the red of the barberry shrubs and the green of the other evergreens.

Another question: Why have a foundation planting here, at all? To answer that question, imagine the house without the foundation planting. The house siding creates rather strong horizontal lines, doesn't it? The shrubs help break up those lines, thereby softening the house's appearance. To that end, however, a taller central shrub might have been even more effective.

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