Lighting up the garden this spring time
With springtime quickly approaching, it’s time to start turning your attention toward your garden once again. We all know that the garden is a splendid place to spend time during the daytime, but with the right lighting, it can be used as a space for entertaining in the evening hours as well. Even if you simply want to highlight the walkways or the plant life after dusk, you need to know which lighting will achieve the best aesthetic—and keep you and your visitors from stumbling around outside. Use these tips when deciding on the right lighting for your garden:
1. Don’t flood your garden
The worst mistake you can make in outdoor garden lighting is to use too many spotlights or a single, powerful bulb that washes out the entire garden. Achieving the quiet nighttime beauty you desire for you garden requires you to carefully balance areas of illumination with areas of shadows and darkness. For this reason, a series of smaller lights placed strategically throughout the garden will work better than a single source of illumination.
2. Let the moon be your muse
To create a natural-looking lighting effect, use overhead lighting that blends seamlessly into the surroundings. Some ideas are to mount luminaries in tree branches, install subtle lighting in the wall slats, or to mount small panel lights from roofing to create a romantic moonlit effect. Remember to use lights with low wattage for overhead lighting — anything over 100 watts is too harsh.
3. Keep your plants looking healthy
Even if your plants are thriving, they can appear sickly under the wrong light. Whereas dimmed incandescent lights will end up casting an unpleasant amber tone on your plants, daylight correcting filters use blue tones to keep them looking in their prime. Here again, a series of small lights spaced apart throughout your flowerbed or planting area will create a more inviting ambience than a single lighting fixture.
4. Know which plants glimmer in the moonlight
Some plants simply look more splendid in the evening hours—and are better suited for a landscape lighting scheme. Plants with white flowers look like little stars when illuminated. Other plants actually wait until after dusk to start blooming: moon flowers, night gladiolus, Casablanca lilies, four o’clocks, and evening primrose, just to name a few. Plants with an intoxicating nighttime musk include flowering tobacco, night phlox, Japanese wisteria, datura, and petunias, so make sure include a least a few of them in your garden.
5. Make use of reflective surfaces
Inside your home, you probably play up natural lighting by allowing light to bounce off brightly-coloured walls and glass surfaces; use the same logic when planning your outdoor lighting scheme. Exteriors made from lightly-coloured siding make great reflectors, as do fences. If you have an outdoor pool, you can you use the water to help reflect the natural light as well as the scheme you’ve set up around your garden.
6. Flirt with focal points and silhouettes
Spotlights should be scarce in your landscape lighting plan, used only to point out interesting landscape or architectural features, like a statue or an outdoor pool. The focal point of your garden or planting area should be a full-bodied plant or blooming flower, rather than skeletal branches or budding flowers; the latter do not illuminate well, so don’t waste your resources.
7. Make switches accessible
A brilliant lighting plan does little good if you have to stumble around your garden to flick on the switches. For this reason, it’s good practice to place most of the switches at the entry point of your house—the front or back door or the garage—so that illuminating your garden is both safe and convenient.