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Bright Ideas for Lighting the Outdoors ...

Jonathan Allin's picture
Posted Nov 27th, 2015
by Jonathan Allin

Lighting the home is something we all take for granted - but how about lighting the garden?

Natural sources of light such as sunlight and moonlight create many emotional responses. We all love a sunny day and have recently been mesmerised and transfixed by the Blue ‘Super’ Moon.  As a photographer I am aware of the importance of light and spend a great deal of time trying to capture its beauty.

If you walk into a well-designed garden that is thoughtfully lit, it will take your breath away.  Good lighting can transform a dark and empty space and transport you into an elegant and dreamlike spectacle filled with ambience and excitement.

The Etoile - Up and Down Lighting accentuates the outdoor fireplace

Paul Cook sums up garden lighting very eloquently “Subtlety is the key – both light and shadow are required to create drama and atmosphere”.

In practical terms lighting can be used for safety and security – a hidden light source positioned high above the ground gives a softly lit shadow-like effect aiding direction and deterring unwanted visitors. Lights can be used on the risers of steps to guide direction and ensure that nobody stumbles. Similarly, pathways can be lit to outline otherwise dangerous trip hazards, such as the family cat or a misplaced skateboard….

LED Strip lighting used to great effect - Clients site at 1A Wimpole Street, London

Often known as contour lighting, lights are positioned to outline the edge of a planter, underneath benches or as strip lights to illuminate pathways and foliage. This is my favourite type of lighting as it directs your eye without you realising and shows off some of the features that would otherwise go unnoticed.  Great for making plain everyday objects into a feature.

Garden lighting is an art form and when used creatively can encourage you to enjoy a once forgotten garden after dark.

Crystal clear water always looks spectacular when illuminated from below. Why not consider this option when thinking about designing a new water feature?

Consider lighting from below when designing a new water feature

Lighting can be used to emphasise focal points by means of uplighting or spotlighting. This is when a ground-level light source is projected upwards to accentuate a tree, garden ornament or garden border.

Here at Clifton Nurseries we have had many years of experience with installing a wide selection of lighting schemes. Our expertise and knowledge is second to none. Please come and talk to us to discuss your plans and let us guide you through the process of installing the garden of your dreams. 

About the author

Trained at Kew, Jono enjoys combining his interest and expertise in both horticulture and photography. Many of the images on this website were created by Jono.