Garden Lighting Tips

Here are a few tips to help you get the most out of your garden lighting design.

Don't Over Light! - This is the cardinal rule of lighting and the one that gets broken most often. Over lighting your garden can make it look like a stage play or a soccer field. The effect is garish. Remember the paradoxical saying, "Less is more."

Make Use of Shadows - This is closely related to the cardinal rule. Unless you over light, you're going to have shadows. You want them. And you want to decide where they should go and how they should help give definition to the areas you are lighting.

Create a Nighttime Look - Don't just try to show nighttime visitors what your garden looks like during the day. This is your chance to be discriminating and dramatic. Point visitors to what you want them to see. Accent the features you like best. Hide the ones that seem less worthy and especially those that detract.

Hide Your Lights - Unless the light is decorative and meant to be seen, conceal the source of the light. Tuck it behind a bush or tree. Add a glare guard. The focus should be on the garden, not on the mechanics by which it is visible.

Hide Your Lights - Unless the light is decorative and meant to be seen, conceal the source of the light. Tuck it behind a bush or tree. Add a glare guard. The focus should be on the garden, not on the mechanics by which it is visible.

Avoid Glare - It's hard to enjoy the view when there's a light shining in your eyes. Especially in areas where people will be congregating or sitting (say, a deck or a patio), you want to position the lights so they aren't shining up into the eye.

Pursue Safety - Don't get so caught up in your artistic vision that you conceal trip hazards or make walking down a path the wrong sort of adventure. Light up any unexpected steps, turns, or rough patches.

Buy Quality - The saying is true. You get what you pay for. Cheaper fixtures may please the budget now. But when they corrode or break, you may wish you'd laid out more money up front. Get the sturdiest, most weatherproofed equipment that you can afford.

Take Advantage of Variety - There are so many different kinds of lamps and mounts available. Make sure you know what they are and choose the ones that will do exactly what you want them to.

Experiment - Deciding where everything goes on paper is one thing. Putting it out there is another. Experiment with placement and angles to see what effects you can create. Pay attention to the shadows and the silhouettes as well as to the lighting itself.

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