Gardening Ideas: Nightscaping your garden

Nightscaping


Lighting can provide safety and add ambiance.

Do you ever look at other homes as you’re driving by in the evening? The ones that catch your eye are usually aglow with feature lighting playing up aspects of the yard, garden or home itself. Why not consider accenting your home’s features with lighting as well? Take the step from ordinary to extraordinary and make your home the one at which people take a second look as they pass by in the evening.

“Nightscaping”, even the word is romantic, is the latest landscaping trend for homeowners. It can be romantic or dramatic, but it is not being overlooked by gardeners anymore. Lighting does more than just enhance the beauty of your yard; it also increases the security and safety of your home.

Making a choice
Landscape professionals can help you make an informed decision about where best to place lights, new products on the market that may be of interest to you and what type of lighting is best for your yard.When deciding what type of lighting to install you need to not only consider the layout of your yard, but how you use the space and how the lighting will look from inside your home. You may need lighting for pathways to ensure safety or just want to play up the gorgeous views.

Play up gorgeous views with strategic lighting.

Applying a unique landscape lighting idea can improve the appeal of your garden if you know how to do it.
Styles of lighting
Designers can discuss with you the several ways in which you can achieve different effects through lighting. Lights are generally aimed three ways in landscaping. Moonlighting aims lights downwards, usually from a tree or structure to create gentle romantic lighting. Up-lighting is, as it suggests, the upward use of lights aimed from the ground or below a structure, it creates bold shadows contrasting with bright lights. Cross-lighting uses two light sources to eliminate shadow by lighting an object from both sides.Silhouetting, shadowing, grazing, spotlighting, down-lighting from structures or hardscapes, pool or underwater lighting and washing are just a few of the other techniques you can use to make your back yard shimmer.
Fixtures
When it comes to bulbs and outdoor fixtures, variety it seems is the spice of life. The least expensive, incandescent, are making way for a host of better offerings. They offer pleasing light, but have a short life and consume more electricity than halogens which are more efficient – lasting longer and requiring less energy. Halogens emit strong, white light and provide an intensity that works well for landscape lighting. While they do burn hotter than LED, this is a benefit in the winter where halogens will melt the surrounding snow while LEDs become buried. Halogen lights are priced midrange between incandescent and LED. LED lighting is still very popular, both for its affordability and practicality. LED lights will last longer than halogens and use even less energy. A more recent trend is low-voltage lighting which uses about 12 volts, thus eliminating the need for deep trenches for wiring. Solar lights have also grown in popularity as the styles, quality and quantity of lights on the market increase.

There are several styles of unique lighting fixtures available that are sure to suit any style.

Multiple types of lighting work in harmony when used correctly.
Lights can add depth to your yard.
Where can you light?
• Paths: Lighting pathways can increase safety, but they also make paths more welcoming, drawing people down them. Down-lighting, individually lit pavers, path lights and ambient lighting are just some of the options available.
• Patios, gazebos or decks: Down-lighting can create a moonlight effect without the effects of harsh lighting or glare.
• Feature trees: Show off unique trees with up, cross or down-lighting effects.
• Pools and ponds: Underwater lights can attractively show off your water features. Water lighting is popular because of the soothing, rippling effect that water has on the reflective light.
• Architecture: Highlight pillars, art, walls or other aspects of your home with dramatic up-lighting.
• Driveways: Rather than light the driveway itself, light the landscape along the driveway; this will create depth to your yard extending the visual space.
• Doors: Entryways are best lit from above or from either side.
Lighting, it seems simple enough, but it has become an art form unto itself. Often the use of more than one type of lighting is required; for example, ambient lighting can create atmosphere with gentle lights in a seating area, while spotlights can draw attention and add dramatic effect. There are a ton of factors to take into consideration when you nightscape your home. Above all else, lighting should be pleasing from every window in the house; the last thing you want is glare from outdoor lights spoiling your own views. Some advice, a consult at the least, will leave you with a better sense of what will work best in your yard.

Subscribe now to your Local Gardener magazine. Dismiss