Landscape & Hardscape Ideas

Points of interest: Draw the eye to these garden and patio focal points

Gardens can tend to be pieced together bit by bit. One year a raised bed may be the new project, the next year vegetable stakes line the back fence. A year-by-year approach is a great way to add on to your landscape and patio, but a few elements can help the space feel more cohesive.

Walk up to your space as guests would. What is the first thing you see and what is the biggest element? A homeowner’s eye may be drawn to a different object or scene than a guest’s view. People tend to look at the center of things or the biggest thing. If that object is a good focal point, then stick with it. If you’d like to bring attention to other features, use a few of these designing tricks.


Walls and tiered gardens add interest and visual texture to a landscape. Short walls with stone caps can be used as seating as well as a base for potted plants or lighting. Consider outlining a dining space with a low wall or banking a walkway or pathway with tiered garden plots. These lines will bring the eye further into the garden.

Doorways and arches

A cool designer trick is the “double doorway.” Interior designers will flank a room’s wide entrance with two indoor tall plants, one on each side of the entrance. A double doorway instantly piques curiosity and draws the guest in. In a landscape, you can use wrought iron arches or bamboo structures to hold vines. Place the arch near another wider entrance into the patio or garden, either in front or in back.

Walkways and paths

EP Henry Quarry Steps Bluestone | Photo ID: 970

Curves and lines make a design. If you have space, consider curving your path for an added element of interest. Everyone wants to see what’s around the next corner, and a curved path will definitely attract the curious guest. Another walkway design trick is varying textures and materials. A slate stone path may fit into a cottage’s garden. A herringbone paver pattern may go with a larger home’s aesthetic. Research different paver textures and pattern ideas.


Kinetic and stationary sculptures are popular garden accessories. Less is more when it comes to garden statues, birdbaths and globes. Pick one or two significant pieces and place them strategically in the landscape. The sculpture is meant to enhance its natural setting, not draw attention away from nature’s splendor.

Water features

The sound of a babbling brook is relaxing and welcoming. When homeowners think of water features, they may imagine big fountains or spread out ponds, but there are hundreds of different kinds to choose from. If space is a problem, look into a vertical water element. Small, tabletop elements for patio sets are also an option.

Examining your landscape and hardscape with a designer’s eye will help you find that unique twist that will elevate a year-by-year garden into a whole, planned outdoor room.

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