Garden Lights – When Less is More

Here’s the thing about garden lights – once you’ve caught the bug, it can be awfully hard to kick it. Not only that, but you may even find yourself painfully addicted! Another light there, a different-colored bulb there . . .

There’s always another little project that you can do when it comes to garden lighting. And those projects can become pretty large-scale, too. How about stringing some Japanese lanterns along the garden’s perimeter? Or a solar-powered gazing ball? Or strobe lights on the garden statues? Before you know it, your garden has lost that subtle elegant beauty that defines all the best gardens and has become more like. . . well, like Snoopy’s dog house at Christmas! Too many lights can ruin your garden. So you’ve got to use a little restraint. The truth is that when it comes to an efficient garden lights plan, less is almost always more.

It’s good to try and keep a handle on this from the outset. Before you start installing exterior lights, carefully consider the garden. What’s the natural play of light and shadow? Does your garden look best in the low light of morning or the direct light of high noon? How about the soft glow of twilight? Heck, head out at night and see what moonlight does to your Pansies and Hydrangea. If there’s a secret to garden lighting, it’s simply this – you want to show off the garden to its best effect, and nobody can guide you in this direction as good as Mother Nature.

In addition to your moonlight stroll, you’ll want to use a flashlight – probably several flashlights of varying power – and see how your garden looks as you play the beams across it. Do this from many different angles and directions. Raise the beams and lower them. What looks best?

Don’t set up your garden lighting until you’ve identified other light sources that are going to impact your garden. There might be a streetlight nearby. Or maybe your neighbor has one of those military grade flood lights above the garage. These and other lights will impact your own plans, so take note of them.

You’ll do fine if you keep in mind that your goal isn’t to light up the garden as if it were a book to be read. You won’t want to drown it with lights from which you can literally feel the heat. Rather, you just want to use some gentle lights to boost it’s natural beauty. If you stick with the mantra that “less is more” when it comes to garden lighting and put some thought into carefully selecting both the types of lights to use in your garden, as well as the proper location of those garden lights, you are sure to end up with a beautifully and subtly lit garden that will create the perfect glow under the moonlight.

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