So last week I was lucky enough to take some R&R in the most wonderful retreat, I did a seven day fast with some sun and lots of swimming, some pilates and yoga and have come back feeling completely rejuvenated and a just a little lighter. What I couldn’t do was completely switch off but thankfully the gardens were amazing with so many palms and plants, similar if not the same as we use here. The Jasmine was still in flower and the scent was divine and the relaxation and meditation rooms had a wonderful pond filled with fish, insects, water lilies and the most delightful little frogs hopping across the lily pads. As the sun went down and without the distraction of food and drink the evenings were filled by reading a book in a comfortable chair and looking out into the garden which were filled with lovely lamps and lanterns and outdoor lighting to bring the garden into a completely different space. Which got me thinking about how we use lighting in our gardens.
Lighting is one of the things that is not fully appreciated in a garden, a little lighting can go a long way to creating the perfect space when the sun goes down but here are a few tips that may make it easier to find the right lighting for you. Use lighting selectively and remember that darkness can also be used to great effect too. Decide on the areas you want to light, what your key features are and focus on these.
The key to successful landscape lighting is flexibility. LED exterior spike lights are ideal as they can be easily moved to suit the changing seasons and planting growth. Energy consumption is also something to think about, both for your pocket and the environment, especially in the current energy crisis.
Lighting for safety is key, lighting steps that may not be as easy to see or at the end of a patio – when you are entertaining friends and family in the garden the last thing you want is an accident, especially one that could have been avoided.
Most garden lighting fittings are black, which looks really smart but the ones that usually blend into landscapes best are olive green, corten steel and copper. Copper fittings can also be good as they patinate to a neutral green colour with age.
Water features are a wonderful to light as the movement and refraction creates patterns which reflect on the surrounding area. Use a simple underwater spotlight (Pond Light) under a water flow or think of adding fibres set into the base of a pool at random appearing almost as stars.
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 Pillar up/downlights can be dramatic or use wall lanterns can be a soft solution.
Bollard lighting is perfect for driveways, paths or to add height to lighting in a bed or along a terrace or lawn area. As you probably know, by now, we use our own garden to show the different lighting to great effect, using a really simple spot uplighter up the driveway to light up the Cherry Trees up the driveway and a ground level LED at either side of the gate, inside and out.
Once we park the car we have the two wall lights on the garage and then bollard lights in the parking space, we used the corten steel ones.
Along our path we then have a galvanised silver downlighter to tie in with the green and white planting and the grey porcelain tiles and then two lanterns by the front door. As you go around the back of the house we have more really simple bed lights and my favourite, Fold light on the stone wall, in a recent photo shoot we lit the fire bowl and had great fun with all the lighting after the sun went down
Here are a few of my favourites
As I said above, I really love the Fold Light its simplicity is beautiful and the option to light above, below or both is perfect.
The Helix Bollard light is also really beautiful, its simplicity and the texture of the corten steel to light a driveway is ideal.
For wall lights I’m a big fan of the Luxembourg Wall Light, its in a rust colour and has a traditional look which I like to use against a more contemporary wall giving a real twist to it.
If you’re a fan of copper like I am the Nibe Outdoor wall light is simply beautiful and looks stunning.
If you are looking for stick in uplighter and spots then these are simple to position and cost €20-€30 at most and can be used to great effect once you have an electricity source.
All these lights can be found under lighting tab or in any lighting store and if you are still needing assistance maybe one of our design consultations might be the way to go to give you guidance on your garden.