How To Light A Garden – 6 Contemporary Garden Lighting Ideas
I want to end The Lights Month with a post about something that many of you asked me about: how to light a garden correctly. That’s not a very easy thing to do, that’s why I decided to write an entire article about this topic, which I will simply call “6 Contemporary Garden Lighting Ideas”.
I will try to show you which are the most important 6 things you should consider when lighting a modern garden, because if you understand them, you’ll have a really easy time choosing the best lights.
Besides, I will try to give you some lighting ideas, as they would help you understand everything much better, plus that they may be a great source of inspiration for you and your garden.
I guess I’ve made you curious, haven’t I? 😀
If I have, I won’t make it any longer and get right to point. (I promise to try to stick to the essentials and don’t write 10.000 words 😛 )
1. Decide what kind of lighting you need in your garden
It may sound like a useless thing, but thinking about what type of lights you want to have in your garden is actually an essential step of this process.
Maybe you’re a person that loves to spend the evenings in the garden, which means that your lighting plan should provide a regular illumination for the entire garden. On the other hand, you may prefer to focus on just one part of your green space, so the lights you choose should bring that very part forward.
Therefore, ask yourself what exactly you want from your garden and how you see it in your mind, because the most important thing is to make it look according to your vision.
2. Try to avoid chandeliers and very large lighting fixtures
This a general rule, that’s available when lighting any outdoor or green space. Just like when you’re lighting a balcony, try to avoid big lighting pieces, such as chandeliers.
These would make your garden look like a combination between natural and artificial, and even though this combination itself can look amazing sometimes, in this case it would definitely look far from it. To give you a DON’T example, this chandlier that I reviewed recently is definitely a piece to avoid in a garden.
So now you’re probably thinking: Are all large lighting pieces unsuitable for a garden?
No, they’re not. In fact, there are some so-called “chandeliers” (which aren’t really chandeliers, in my opinion) that were created specially for outdoors. They have a natural print or pattern, with flowers, leaves and butterflies, and they could easily be used as a decoration, besides the lighting feature.
You can always choose this kind of lighting fixtures, because they would blend easily with your garden, no matter if they’re large or small. As long as they have a “natural” aspect, you don’t have to worry.
So instead of getting elegant, sparkling lighting fixtures, try to go for something more garden-like, with flowers, insects, and other natural patterns.
3. Choose the right places for the lights
That’s probably the most important step when lighting a garden, I guess you already noticed it, right? 😛
Well, there is a big connection between the first step (where you decide what kind of lighting you want) and this one. That’s because the best place for the lights is the one you want, nothing more.
For example, if you want to draw the attention on the back side of your garden, the best place for the lights will be exactly that one, right?
You want your lights to focus on the back of the garden, so there’s no point placing them in front and illuminating the whole backyard. In this way, everything would look the same and the back side will lose its brightness.
Just in the same way, if you want a unique decor and think about lighting some trees in order to get it, there’s no point adding bright lights all over the garden. You can add some lighting pieces that illuminate normally there, but the important thing is to add stronger ones on and around the trees.
And if you don’t want any central point and prefer to keep your garden equally illuminated, add the lighting fixtures all over the place, but at a certain distance, so that you won’t overcrowd the decor
4. Go for nature related colors
As we’re talking about a garden, I always recommend people to try to keep the colors close to the natural shade. What does this mean?
That colors like red, violet, light blue and other similar ones aren’t the best in a garden. They would only overcrowd the decor, making it look less natural and more artificial. And I told you before, in this case these 2 don’t make a great combination.
Therefore, try to stick to natural shades for the lighting fixtures. All kinds of green, brown, black, even white would beautify your garden and give it that natural touch that is so important for an outdoor space.
5. Check to see if you have the proper light intensity
That’s something many people forget about, simply because it’s not seen as such an important detail. But it is, actually.
How would it feel if you had some really bright lights catching your eyes, when spending a Sunday evening in your garden? By “bright lights” I mean that your lighting fixtures illuminate so strong that they catch your eye immediately, involuntary. Would that feel nice? Would that make you want to spend your whole evening in that place?
I don’t know about you, but it would definitely make me want to leave as soon as possible. That’s because the human eye can only stand a certain power when it comes to light. And even if we believe we can stand more, it actually becomes irritating and disturbing (though we many not be completely aware of it sometimes).
So what’s the best thing to do?
After placing the lights in your garden, turn them on and see how it feels. Go from one side to the other of the garden and try to look around. If your garden looks nice and you don’t have any problem with the lights, this means they have the right intensity.
But if you feel like they’re too strong and bother you, try to realize which particular one(s) is disturbing and change its lighting bulbs with the ones that have a lower voltage. You will see that the problem will be solved immediately. 🙂
6. Make sure the lights match the garden decor
That’s the final step of this process, but it’s also a very important one. How come?
Well, there are some situations when you choose the right lights, that make your garden look just like you wanted, they illuminate the part you want but…they simply don’t look good. I know it sounds a bit weird, but it happened to me to decorate a garden well (in theory I mean) and the aspect it had wasn’t that…well.
This happens because sometimes, certain decorations don’t go well with certain lights. You can never know this before, you only notice it when you put them together.
So what is to be done in this case?
Well, you can only replace that decoration with another one. I think replacing the decoration is much easier than replacing the light itself, so try to get another one that is slightly different. I say this because if you chose a very similar decoration, there were high chances that the problem continue.
I realize this step can be extremely tricky and complicated to understand, so I will try to sum it up in this way: If you don’t like how your garden looks at the end, try to change some of the decorative items you have there. And if you don’t have too many and your garden looks too empty, try to add some.
This would immediately change your garden’s look and make it more similar to the way you want it to be.
Lighting a garden isn’t the most difficult thing in the world, but it’s definitely not the easiest either. 😉
Before you start the work, think about whether you want to accentuate a certain part of your garden or the whole space. Choose and place the lighting fixtures accordingly, trying to go for more Rustic pieces and avoiding elegant ones.
If possible, pick natural colors for your lights, like green, black and brown and buy lighting bulbs that aren’t too bright. In the end, change the eventual decorations that don’t match with the lights with some more suitable ones.
Once you follow these ideas, it will be much easier to light your green space correctly and make your dream garden come true.
I really hope that this post helped you understand how to light a garden correctly and that it gave you enough reasons to realize that lighting a garden isn’t as difficult as it often seems.
Do you have any lights in your actual garden? Let me know your answer by leaving a comment below.