Let There Be Light!
can extend your use of the garden into the evenings,
and provides visual interest as well. Joe Swift takes
a look at the various types that are now available.
Garden lighting is well worth installing in your garden.
There are the all-important practical aspects such as
lighting steps and paths to help you see where you’re
going, lighting seating areas for eating, and the added
security any form of lighting will bring to your garden
(no you don’t have to have a glaring light on
On top of these functional issues there is also the
fun, creative aspect of making new compositions with
light. In fact, good lighting in a garden covers both
practical and creative functions, and makes your garden
a much more inviting space to go in the evening.
I recently made a film on lighting for Gardeners’
World in my own garden. A complete system was installed
(and taken away the next day I’m sorry to say).
It was amazing. It completely transformed the garden,
and made me see plants and particular compositions in
a whole new way. A rather ordinary trunk of an old ceanothus
is not particularly special by day, but at night when
uplit at an angle it became an intriguing focal point.
The red leaves of a maple when lit from behind changed
colour with the green underside and the veins of the
leaf became more pronounced. Whether you want to put
one or two lights in your garden or a complete system,
try to visualize how it will look at night. There are
various simple techniques that can be used to create
Spotlighting is used to specifically highlight
a particular plant or feature. It will create dramatic
effects and draw the eye towards whatever is lit and
therefore works well when viewed from a reasonable distance.
Uplighting is used to light the crown of a specific
tree or large shrub. The light is set at ground level
and points up to light the branches against the night
sky or dark background. This technique will help add
height to a city garden. The lights should always face
away from where the tree is to be viewed to avoid seeing
the glare from the bulb.
Grazing is mainly used as a technique to light
walls or hard landscaping structures in a garden. The
lights can be placed at an angle to show off a structure
or surface, such as the bricks in a wall or the slats
of a fence. If the walls are painted it will help to
bring colour into the night garden. Grazing walls with
light will also help to keep the layout and structure
of a city garden at night, which is important if you
don’t want the garden to be overly ‘soft’
in its feel.
Downlighting can be either the lighting of the
crown of a tree or lighting a specific area of garden
from above. A series of lights set into the branches
of a tree will imitate the effect of a strong moon and
generally outline the shape of the tree. Downlighters
set into a tree or fixed to a wall can be directed to
create pools of light on specific areas of the garden
to show the layout or certain features such as a path
through an arch.
can be achieved by placing waterproof lights in ponds
or fountains. These lights will give a glow to the water
feature as a whole and emphasize any movement to the
surface of the water. The underwater lighting of a waterfall
or fountain can create a really dramatic effect and
turn the waterfall into a cascade of light.
Silhouetting is when a plant or sculpture is
lit from the front to specifically cast a theatrical
shadow on to a wall. The shadow will change according
to the relative size of the object, placing and power
of the light. The light fitting should be hidden to
achieve maximum effect.
As well as being able to use the garden more in summer,
lighting will also change the way you view the garden
through the winter. Since it gets dark so early during
the winter months there may be long periods of time
when you may not see your garden at all. A simple flick
of a switch can make the winter night garden a fantastic
composition when viewed from inside through a window,
and help to brighten up those dark gloomy nights.
Visit our Superstore
to see our lighting range.
Click on the following Helping Hands workshop for useful
to add lights in your garden.
Photographs by Clive Nichols
reprinted with premission from Greenfingers.com