Focal adhesions (FAs) are specialized membrane-associated multi-protein complexes that link the cell to the extracellular matrix and play crucial roles in cell-matrix sensing. Considerable information is available on the complex molecular composition of these sites, yet the regulation of FA dynamics is largely unknown. Based on a combination of FRAP studies in live cells, with in silico simulations and mathematical modeling, we show that the FA plaque proteins paxillin and vinculin exist in four dynamic states: an immobile FA-bound fraction, an FA-associated fraction undergoing exchange, a juxtamembrane fraction experiencing attenuated diffusion, and a fast-diffusing cytoplasmic pool. The juxtamembrane region surrounding FAs displays a gradient of FA plaque proteins with respect to both concentration and dynamics. Based on these findings, we propose a new model for the regulation of FA dynamics in which this juxtamembrane domain acts as an intermediary layer, enabling an efficient regulation of FA formation and reorganization.