Just because it is dark outside doesn’t mean that you have to stop enjoying your garden. Lighting a garden is often overlooked - which is a shame because the addition of some well placed lights can transform any garden, of whatever size, into a magical, enchanting world.
Consider which areas would benefit from being lit - these could include the obvious such as dining and seating areas, paths and steps. However dramatic effects can be created by lighting walls, trees, ‘architectural’ plants, sculpture and water.
There are many different ways of using light to achieve different effects.
· Uplighting. Lights placed at ground level which shine up a wall or into a tree.
· Downlighting. Places the light source above the feature to be lit.
· Path and step lighting. Usually shines a beam of light horizontally across the step or path.
· Washing. Literally washes a surface with a soft glow and brings out interesting shadows and shapes.
· Shadowing. Creates very dramatic effects and strong shadows by placing the light directly in front of the object to be lit.
· Cross lighting. Lights an object from two sides and creates soft highlights.
· Moonlighting. Replicates the effect of moonlight by placing a light high in a tree for romantic, soft dappled shadows.
Many of these techniques can also be used to light water which will glitter, sparkle and glow.
Part of the drama of what you choose to light lies in the balance created between shadow and light. Do not be tempted to light everything. Keep some mystery in the shadows and be subtle. Less is more. Do not over-do it or you run the risk of your garden looking like Disneyland.
You can create extraordinary effects using LEDs or fibre optics. These can use colours and almost as many different theatrical effects as you can imagine. Just don’t get too carried away.
There are many different types of light fitting to choose from. Buy ones specifically designed for outdoor use with low voltage lights routed through a transformer and get them fitted by someone qualified. .
So don’t just think about it – get started. Wait for a suitable evening. Open your curtains. Take as many torches, lanterns, even candles as you can find, go outside and experiment. Then go back inside and look at your garden and see how it can be transformed into a 24 hour space.