Tips for your first garden lighting project

Lighting your garden is more of an art than a science. Whether you are hosting a party or simply enjoying some alone time, the mood of your space is important to create the effect you desire. If you are creating a landscape design for the first time, check out some of these tried-and-true tips from experienced landscape designers:

Define the project
The first step to creating a mood with your landscape lighting is to define what kind of mood you would like to create. This is easy if you start by thinking about what activities you will be performing in your garden. Will you be entertaining in this area or simply enjoying the view? Do you want to illuminate a few of your favorite features or the whole garden evenly? Once you have clarified how you will most likely be using your outdoor space, it will be easier to choose the best lighting solution to fit your needs.

Draw a plan
Next, you will need to put your plan to paper. Make a diagram of your garden area and decide where you want lights and what effect you are going for in each area. Below are two examples of mood and the appropriate lighting techniques for each:

  • Subtle ambiance: Path lighting is the easiest and most effective way to create a warm glow for a night stroll or intimate gathering.
  • Highlighting features: Directional lighting is perfect for creating a more energetic and lively mood. Whether it is a fountain or a creative arrangement of seasonal flowers, your lighting can set the focus on those areas to give your landscape a “wow” effect.

Try it out
Once you have a sketch of your garden, try testing the design. Put the lights where you would like them to be and see how they look. Move them around until you are happy with the results. At this point just make sure you don’t overlap the lighting from different fixtures, or cast light off a hard surface that will cause a glare. Harsh, intrusive lighting can be disturbing.

Trust your instincts
Finally, remember to trust your instincts because they always know best. At the end of the day, your landscape should speak to your unique personality and make you feel good about your home.