Lighting your garden is an art form. The real master landscapers will use the light as an artist would in painting, creating an interplay of shadows that will delight.
When using lighting and highlighting some spots in your garden, there are things which work well and a few that don't. Here we offer you some of the essential tips for lighting your landscape, so you can make the most of your planting from dawn and beyond dusk.
Image credit: John Cullen
Design the lighting after you design the garden
This is an odd place to begin. To start by saying lighting should come last seems counter to how important it is to the final design. However, the landscape light should be used to highlight the lines and central points of your garden.
You need to put all your desired features in place and then design a light scheme that complements this. It is not the lighting itself that is so stunning, though you can buy some beautiful lamp designs - it is how you stage your design like it is a star being put on a show.
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Connect the garden to the house
You are rightly proud of your home, and you want to show it off. Therefore, it is completely normal to be tempted to point the significant beams at the house. However, the right sort of lighting should highlight the architectural features of the property, which you have then used as an inspiration in your garden.
It might be that you want lighting as security, which is a different matter. You can then have safety lighting that comes on with movement. However, if the light is for decoration, keep the house and the garden as a unit. You should maximise the connection between the two.
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Too little is better than too much
One of the significant failures of lighting design is to use too many lights in a single space. Some people throw the kitchen sink at the garden and then some. All the visitor can see is a barrage of bulbs with no distinction between one area and another. Therefore, you have to demonstrate a little restraint and aim for subtlety over extravagance.
Sometimes selecting the most beautiful lights and using these sparingly can have the most stunning effect in the garden. So, if you have money to burn on lighting, invest these funds in high-quality equipment.
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Layering can be beautiful
Layering any element of the garden is a challenge. If you have the skill and talent to achieve the perfect layers with planting and lighting, you will be rewarded with a beautiful three-dimensional effect. A simple starting point could be to use spotlights onto statues, which rise the eye of the visitors upwards and creates shadows across your lawn. Then, you could use lighting to great effect on your decking too.
When you are layering, avoid falling into the trap of putting lights in a straight line. You might want to light a path and then the fencing on your raised beds. However, if you are not careful, you can create the impression of a runway in your garden. You might not want to encourage that jumbo to land on your carefully crafted beds.
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We hope that this landscape lighting tips will allow you to enjoy your outdoor spaces after dark and help you add the finishing touch to your garden!
If you are interested in learning more about garden design, take a look at our industry-accredited courses.