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Light up your garden

By: Garden Gate staff
Remember how you hated to go when your mom called you inside as it got dark? With landscape lighting, you can stay outside and “play” in your garden a lot longer!

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light up your garden

Remember how you hated to go when your mom called you inside as it got dark? With landscape lighting, you can stay outside and “play” in your garden a lot longer!

Garden lighting can illuminate a patio for entertaining, showcase a dramatic plant or highlight a path for safe walking. With lights, you get a completely different look in your garden after dark — and they make your home safer, too.

But before you go out and plop a bunch of lights into your flower beds, take time to decide what you need. Too many lights, or the wrong kind, might make your garden look like a carnival instead of a peaceful retreat. And poorly placed ones can annoy the neighbors or keep you awake at night. So let’s walk through your garden and figure out a lighting plan like the pros do.

DESIGN FIRST, INSTALL SECOND — Start by sketching out your yard on graph paper. This will make it easier to see where you need lights, without being distracted by whatever’s blooming at the time. When your sketch is done, here are three important things to consider as you decide where lights should go:

   Think about how you use your yard. Do you entertain outside? Do you sit on your deck in the evening? Are you worried about safety? On your sketch, mark where you like to sit, or dark areas that could use illumination.

   Pick one to three focal points to highlight. Too many focal points will be distracting. You might choose a specimen tree, an arbor or a special statue or sculpture.

   Figure out where you walk. What are your most traveled paths through the garden? Make sure those areas will be well-lighted.

Once you’ve marked all these points on your sketch, try out different looks in the garden with a flashlight. Get someone to hold the light while you see how it looks from different angles. Keep in mind you usually want to see the effect of the light, not the fixture or the light source itself.

Looking for attractive garden lighting? Check out the new Soji Modern Solar Lanterns at right!

Published: Sept. 8, 2009
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