mylandscapes contemporary garden design london

garden design focal points

focal point centrepiece outdoor designs

blog / design elements

design & words Amir Schlezingeramir schlezinger

Balanced Outdoor Space

When truly absorbed in a dynamic outdoor space, we experience transition through a series of architectural focal points; some are finely subtle, others fairly dramatic, and at times it's the borrowed landscape which defines our view when sculpturally framed within a garden design layout. Distinct focal points invariably balance outdoor spaces, and lead the eye instinctively towards exceptional vistas. A familiar technique to craft a focal point is to align trees and shrubs along a design sequence, while sculpture, water features, furniture, customised planters and spatially engaging bespoke elements form further personal centrepieces in modern garden design settings.

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1. tree 2. water 3. shrub 4. planter 5. fireplace 6. furniture 7. sculpture 8. structure 9. landscape 10. architecture

modern architectural garden
contemporary water feature
focal point native specimen tree natural garden

1 tree

whetstone landscape garden

Selecting an optimal position for a new tree, or an architectural shrub, forms an intrinsic aspect for garden design landscapers, and while free-standing, man-made objects are repositionable, vegetation remains largely permanent, where its locations articulate pivotal focal points within immersive vistas. We continually plant small evergreen trees in many urban settings to produce all-year-round consistency, yet increasingly seek native, deciduous and wildlife friendly species to enhance seasonal interest, offset pollution and infuse a connective outlook across London's rooftop terraces and back gardens alike.

2 water

belgravia garden

Well-designed water features extend reflections and sounds, while producing eye-catching focal points; whether displayed as organic forms, or urban geometric silhouettes, their sense of serenity and natural connection generates indispensable, energising facets. At times, a garden design & build project evolves entirely around the position of a waterfall, where lucent aquatic qualities, combining every innate aspect of landscape design, produce a broad gamut of energy distilled into pure quietude – within pivotal focal points.

3 shrub

fulham courtyard

There are thousands of shrub species and cultivars available in the UK, and with a profusion of winter-hardy, sizeable plant specimens imported from European nurseries, we're truly spoilt for choice. Since much of the flora originates in Australia, China, Japan, South Africa and South America, we frequently create a soft landscape containing plants from nearly all continents. By infusing bark, berries and scent, amid structural planting designs, we utilise shrubs to form, extend and sustain the backbones of contemporary London town gardens.

4 planter

millennium bridge rooftop

Adapting an architectural element into an inspired, personalised object produces a unique setting, amid distinctive focal points. We design our own planters, particularly for rooftop landscape projects, where in Central London, the urban experience is uniquely amplified by reciprocating with significant landmarks in a panorama. Bespoke planters form integral focal points across rooftop terraces, where we extend usage, and fully immerse our clients in architectural outdoor space by creating connective centrepieces which aptly support roof terrace planting and synchronise with their city landscape backdrop.

roof terrace custom planter
modern vondom outdoor furniture
outdoor fireplace design

5 fireplace

clapham town garden

An outdoor fireplace forms a captivating showpiece, where dynamic moving flames combine function with visual fascination by imparting focus to a dormant outdoor zone. Enhanced with built-in seating or a dining table, these intimate garden milieus transform into cosy social hubs, and since UK temperatures are rather variable, their usefulness extends the alfresco season much further, whether utilised for sitting outside in frosty weather or when gazing at the flames from indoors.

6 furniture

In such proximity to an open-plan lounge and kitchen, the Vondom furniture set in this small rooftop garden provides an integral focal point, where its white geometric facets display sheer contrast to the convexity of tall architectural plants. This roof terrace design includes diverse focal points, layered skilfully within a minimalist layout. While furniture maintains medium height focus, a tall multi stem Eucalyptus tree, elevated in the corner of a floating raised bed, leads the eye across a London terrace skyline, expanding perspective towards a Wembley Stadium vista above the Chelsea horizon.

7 sculpture

battersea patio garden

Sculpture evocatively imprints intimate cultural nuances within artistic garden design landscaping, producing both allegorical and silhouetted interplays to personify and humanise an outdoor space. We continually collaborate with artists who augment our projects by integrating site-specific concepts into distinct locations, infusing vital context. Whether a specially commissioned piece, or a client's travel artefact, modern outdoor sculpture generates alluring focal points with everlasting contours – accentuated by skilful lighting designs.

8 structure

covent garden rooftop

The outdoor kitchen in this expansive roof garden in Central London provides both focus and comfort; clad in a vibrant crimson hue, the cooking hub forms a social area, amid inspiring landscape panoramas. At 3-metre span, the linearity of the bespoke structure extends views towards London Eye and Royal Opera House across its Corian worktop. While fulfilling an integral lifestyle necessity, this large centrepiece defines an architectural rooftop focal point – interlinked to its urban surroundings by articulating scale afront of a spinning Ferris wheel...

modern built in outdoor kitchen
modern garden sculpture
london city terrace view

9 landscape

thames barrier terrace

Across this 16th floor penthouse terrace, an immense London skyline forms a grand focal point at sundown, defined by a clustered Canary Wharf backdrop. The seating orientation focuses towards the setting sun, enhanced with an ever-changing panorama of glistening sunrays and cable cars in motion across a dome-shaped O2 Arena silhouette. Borrowing the landscape beyond is a well-established design practice, utilised in many gardens with expansive rural views, and while some of the English garden traditions are still relevant today, in present-day London, the city's skyline has evolved into a source of eclectic architectural ingenuity when developing a high-rise terrace design & build along the Thames. While skyscraper clusters are here to stay, defining a forthcoming urban futurescape, we may as well embrace their phenomenon and design with it rather than ignore it!

10 architecture

debden country garden

This barn conversion in an Essex village is surrounded by fields, amid a 5-hectare site and a balmy sunset. The barn's colossal roofline, with its clay tiles and raven cladding, forms a rather prodigious focal point viewed across the grounds. To soften the architecture and reciprocate with its grand symmetry, we planted two multi-stemmed Ginkgo trees either side of the back doors, framed by a pair of large-scale, square Box hedges. The south-facing frontage benefited from a similar design approach, where sprawling Lavenders highlight Palm and Tuscan Olive tree trunks in geometric troughs, forming balance and interconnection with the home, while setting the scene for a modern country garden.

modern country garden landscape architect project
modern rooftop landscape tree planting with lighting
modern accent planting

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Ever-changing Landscape

Unique house architecture defines a paramount focal point, while accentuated skilfully within embracive garden settings, and when we refresh design principles to frame an ever-changing London skyline, we achieve one of the most rewarding aspects of interacting with new metropolitan landscapes. Conceiving dynamic focal points to heighten contemporary London town gardens sustains the resourceful approach of delineating the genius loci of a diverse metropolis, its history, past and present, while firmly interlinked with modern outdoor living.