Light Your Garden Up at Night with These Enchanting Tips
Is your garden as attractive at night as it is during the day? Consider your garden as another room of your house—one you can lounge in after work and socialize in on weekend sunsets. Gardens are increasingly becoming multifunctional spaces that add to people’s living experience. It extends the perception of the interior. However, unlike the interior, which always has a general level of light, the garden at night can be viewed as a black canvas. You decide what may be seen and what is left in the dark. Now take this factor to your advantage and light your garden up!
How to Light Your Garden Up Under the Moon
Matthew Wilson—garden designer, writer, radio and television broadcaster, and lecturer—says, “Without lighting, a garden is just an inaccessible black space the moment the sun goes down. It’s rather like having a room in your house from which you’ve removed all the light bulbs.” Transform your garden under the moon with these tips.
Light the steps.
Safety first! When lighting steps, illuminate every other riser. The contrast created allows you to still see each step while creating a much more subtle effect. Uplights recessed into the side wall are also ideal solutions that create an atmosphere while reducing the risk of anyone tripping. Alternatively, for an instant lighting effect, use night lights in small glass holders—a pretty way to emphasize a staircase or a low-level wall.
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Match your colors.
First, be sure that the color temperature of all your LED light sources matches. Warm white can mean different things across manufacturers, so check the number given. Second, most garden light fittings are black, but the ones that usually blend into landscapes best are olive green. Copper fittings can also be good as they patinate to a neutral green color with age. When mounted high up in a tree as a downlight, bronze fittings blend in well with the color of most tree trunks and can provide pools of light at the base. Finally, when lighting outside living spaces, make sure the wall lights complement rather than detract from the lighting in the rest of the exterior. Wall-mounted lights and up- or downlights can be dramatic while wall lanterns can provide a soft glow.
Light your water features.
Water is a wonderful medium for light, as the movement and refraction create ripples reflecting the surrounding area. Use a simple underwater spotlight under a pond or fountain, if you have any, or alternatively, consider using fiber optics within water jets to create magical-effect candlelight. Also, consider randomly adding fibers set into the base of a pool to imitate the night sky.
Hide cables and seal connections.
It’s always a good idea to contain electrical cables within mesh-reinforced tubing. Also, make sure to seal all the electrical connections so that they are totally waterproof. Moisture has a crafty way of traveling up cables. There’s nothing more disheartening than spending money on a good-quality external light fitting, only for moisture to get in because the connections were poorly made. Aside from protecting cables and connections early on from potential damage, you would not want them to ruin your garden’s color scheme and intended scenery.
Avoid harsh blue or glaring white lights.
Harsh blue or bright white lights can look garish rather than add warmth. Make sure you only point the light downward for trees and don’t try to light across a distance; otherwise, what was supposed to be a subtle lighting effect will suddenly feel like a security light. Spotlights should be used sparingly in the landscape and for accent lighting only. Besides making certain that your landscape lights do not blind your eyes, courtesy also requires that they do not blind your neighbor’s eyes.
String fairy lights through trees.
Strings of festoon lights hanging between trees or structures can also instantly uplift a night garden. You may also choose to give your garden a wonderful warm glow with enchanting festoons wound through a pergola. There’s just something magical about fairy lights, creating dappled pools of light on a terrace or a path. And with the accessibility of solar-powered lights, this is something you can do without electricity.
A little goes a long way.
Use comparatively low wattage floodlights for most of this, never any outdoor lights or light bulbs larger than 100W. Consider low-voltage lighting as well. In an age of energy efficiency, a whole new range of exterior lights from 1W to 8W already means you can light your garden up for less than 60W! There is no need to feel guilty about energy consumption at night anymore. With the efficiency of LED light fittings, you can certainly go smaller than you might think.
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