Gardens are increasingly becoming multi-functional spaces that add to people’s living experience. Within these space, whether you are dealing with sculptures, water features, patios or paths, each element needs to be carefully considered and given its own lighting treatment in order to create a truly memorable setting. Lighting also offers a unique opportunity to present the garden in an entirely new way than what is seen in daylight, you can create a completely different garden at night.
A little light goes a long way in the night-time landscape, so ensure that you are aware of both what is being lit and what you want to keep in the dark. It is best to place lights along the view to help lead the eye to a focal point using layers of light. When planning to illuminate a garden, you also have to ensure you don’t end up with lots of contrast. Effective landscape lighting builds a scheme using both light and shadow.
Light pathways with soft lanterns or spike lights. Another option for a path might be to up-light the trees either side using a spiked light or a spot. The angle of light the lamp throws can vary; a 60-degree angle will flood a wide area such as a bushy shrub, whereas a 15-degree angle produces a slim, narrow beam, perhaps to highlight a narrow pencil cypress.
Select a focal point or centre of attraction for each lighted area, and highlight this by emphasising it with additional brightness. Point out its most attractive features with one or two spotlights, to really make it shine it your garden. Framing a focal point with illuminated arches and other perspective devices can create stunning lighting effects.
Water is one of the most inviting elements of any garden design. Placing a light in water can produce some wonderful effects, especially if the water is moving, refracting the light and dancing it across nearby walls. Mirror lighting is subtle, but can look stunning; it is created by illuminating a far object, such as a tree or sculpture, which is then reflected in the adjacent pool.