The right lighting is an essential part of creating a truly enjoyable outdoor living space. But there is far more to it than installing lights on the patio — and far more opportunities for creativity than you may realize.
Lighting paths: Use path lighting to give guests a clear idea of where to walk, but remember that it’s not necessary to light every foot of the way. It’s unlikely that your garden will ever be completely sunk in darkness, even late at night, so use path lights sparingly at wide intervals and enjoy the contrast between light and shadow. It’s worth noting here that cool or white light is closer in appearance to moonlight while standard, somewhat yellowish light bears more resemblance to daylight.
Lighting plants and trees: Garden lights can be used to highlight interesting shapes and textures among your plants, and uplighting a favorite tree turns it into a feature that you can enjoy 24 hours a day. Concealed lights within the upper branches of a tree create a whole new effect, almost as though the tree itself is glowing. A blue gel or filter on your lights will give green foliage extra pop.
Lighting manmade features: Depth is important. If only the facade of a house is lit, for example, leaving the garden in darkness, you’re sacrificing an opportunity to showcase the entire property and leaving the house floating sadly in space. Use outdoor LED tape or a string of LEDs concealed under ledges, bench seating or planters to create a glowing effect. Lighting at an acute angle creates stronger shadows, which is worth considering when lighting a stone wall or any other with an interesting texture.
Lighting water features: Uplight running water or fountains for a dramatic effect that draws attention to the movement of the water and the textures surrounding it. Alternatively, use soft downlighting for a calmer, more Zen feel. Underwater lighting lets you transform any ponds on the property into quietly spectacular living works of art.