Archive for the ‘Garden Lighting’ Category


Garden Lighting

October 25, 2012

The summer is coming to a close and autumn is starting to set in and the days are now becoming notably shorter all too soon. Still, with a garden carefully designed, these dark evenings are the prefect opportunity for using garden lighting.

During the summer months the use of candles can be very attractive and are wonderful for atmosphere on a lovely warm evening. Those late dinner parties in the garden have a little extra magic with candle lighting. There are so many types of candles available for outdoor use and these often incorporate insect repellents.

There are types that come in various pots and containers, or there are types that you stick into the ground and there are type of lanterns that you can hang on the branches of trees, although I would advise great care with these types. I know it goes without saying, but please do remember that candles, any candles, not just in the house, should never be left unattended, and should be kept out of the reach from children and animals.

Candle garden lighting is obviously more suitable for the summer months. Let’s look at lighting that can be used all year round.

The use of electric lighting has become so popular in recent years and the advent of the “safe type” of lighting using very low voltages have made garden lighting accessible to everyone. This type of lighting is so safe that it can be used all year round in all sort of weathers.

It is best to plan your garden lighting when you are having your garden landscaped, if possible. That way you will ensure that your lighting is an integral part of your garden’s design and not just an afterthought.

Remember that lighting isn’t just “lighting”. It can be use in many creative and artistic ways. It can be used to accent various features in your garden, or not as the case may be. Spotlighting is great for highlighting specific garden features or ornaments, and shadowing can create dramatic effects. Cast the light onto a wall or a fence through an architectural plant to get a nice effect.

Uplighting as the name suggests shines upwards and can be used with subtle effects. Uplighting is great for lighting a tree as the bark, branches and leaves take on a different character with such lighting

With carefully positioned garden lighting you can enjoy your garden after dark during the winter evenings. Lighting up the garden brings the garden to life in such a unique and different way than usual. It allows the best features to be shown off and leaving others hidden.

On a practical note, lighting is useful for simply lighting paths to and from various parts of the garden during the dark evenings. Movement or heat sensitive security lights for the garden are a sensible thing to have, but do check with neighbours that it is not intrusive into their property.

A winter’s garden with snow on the garden features, ornaments and plants with the crystals of snow and ice twinkling in the concealed lighting is simply magical in any garden.

Please remember that if you are considering any garden lighting or electrical work then always consult a qualified and experienced electrician



Lighten The Gloom

March 6, 2012

A garden never has to be dull and uninteresting even during the dull months of winter. By adding form and texture to your garden, together with a good planting plan with garden structures, there really is no excuse why any garden cannot give all-year interest.

As a rule (although rules can be broken) it is a good idea that one third of a garden be planted with evergreens as this gives form and texture throughout the whole year and is the back bone structure to the garden.

When planting evergreen shrubs or plants, take a look at the form and texture of the leaves as well as looking at the whole plant itself. Foliage can sometimes create more of an impact than flowers, which is very useful in the garden in winter.

For example, the bold architectural leaves of the Fatsia japonica or the sword shaped leaves of the Phormium tenax, can really be striking.

Also by planting different textures of foliage together with for example large bold smooth leafy plants together with small leafed and fine spiky grass-like foliage you can really add contrast and a professional look to your planting scheme.

Topiary is another good example of form, shape and texture. For a winter garden when there is less growing, I think topiary in a well-planned garden adds a certain elegance and interesting structure.

Other ways of creating interest in the garden in the winter are with garden structures themselves. Arbours or pergolas really do give vertical interest and as deciduous climbers die down during the winter months, any decorative trellising underneath will come into its own and become a focal point in itself.

Such structures used in conjunction with large pots or garden statutes can make an otherwise plain garden very striking during the otherwise drab winter season.

In my own garden I use form and texture a lot. For example by using drift wood and large rocks, which otherwise during the summer get lost in the planting, my garden takes on a different and interesting character as the seasons change.

Also as the days get darker earlier, by using soft garden lighting, these objects take on a different dimension as the sun goes down.

So you see, you don’t really have to have only one garden; by forward planning and careful design you can have a number of gardens within the same space, each coming into its own as the seasons change.

Just because we are now huddled indoors doesn’t mean that our gardens have to be boring and ignored, just add some winter interest with form and texture and see what designs you can come up with.



Planning The Year Ahead!

January 25, 2012

flora4.jpgIt’s during this time of year that many of us plan our next summer holidays and possibly reminisce about our last summer’s break.

When I’m on my summer holidays in my favourite parts of the world, I often think how nice it must be to live in the part of the world where the sun shines most of the time, and then I realise how much I would miss what we have here…

… seasons.

It’s with the seasons that we’re lucky enough to have such a wide variety of plants.

I know that most of us hate the dreary winter months, but natural beauty can still be found in our winter gardens. A winter garden shifts its emphasis from the focus and details of leaves, flowers and colour to more of the outlines of solid and definite geometric shapes.

There’s nothing like a cold frosty morning with the garden sparkling and glistening as the sunlight shines on the plants creating a vivid winter wonderland. I think our gardens take on a completely new dimension in the winter, particularly when it snows and it all looks neat, clean, crisp and uncluttered.

If you’re lucky enough to have outdoor lighting, don’t just use it in theflora4.jpg summer nights when you’re outside with friends, turn it on in the winter evenings and enjoy your stunning night-time winter garden. The forms and structures of a garden such as deciduous trees and pergolas become striking canopies covered with frost or snow, and the winter’s low sun angle will create artistic silhouettes and shadows.

Clipped hedging and topiary create prefect shapes and I think they’re the backbone to a winter garden. A well placed statue or an decorative bench will create a focal point and add interest to dull corner and in a winter garden and will come into its own when most of the surrounding plants will have lost their softening foliage.

Certain plants look so lovely when touched by the frost such as the fine foliage or feathery plume seed heads of ornamental grasses or the frozen long pendent catkins that look like hanging Christmas tree decorations of the evergreen shrub Garrya elliptica.

It’s always interesting going abroad and seeing the native plants and even the weeds; some of which we here regard as tropical plants, however it’s always good to come home to my own garden… and of course, the British seasons.

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