Summer Gardening: It’s almost never too late

Just because spring is over doesn’t mean you missed your chance to start or add more color to your garden or landscape. It may be too late to grow sweet peas, as they’re unlikely to survive during the summer, therefore it’s all about knowing which plants will work during the hot months. Below is a list of some beautiful plants that favor being planted in the summer.

New England and New York Aster

Aster:
Blooming in the late summer and fall, aster comes in a variety of bright colors including reds, pinks, purples, and blues to choose from. They’re low maintenance, love the sun, and perfect for garden beds and borders.

Large beardtongue / Penstemon grandiflorus
Beardtongue:
Also known as snapdragon and penstemon, is great for the hot summer. They can grow up to 3ft tall and they bloom around mid summer. This plant is great to have if you love hummingbirds too.

Centerville River Cottage Garden planting

Dahlia:
These sun-loving flowers bring real beauty into your garden around late summer and fall months, especially since they can come in such a diversity of colors, shapes, and sizes.

Contemporary Cottage Garden teak table and chairs

Marigolds:
They’re easy to plant, easy to care for, and easy to love. They’re quick to grow in the sun, and you can choose for them to come in a few different, vibrantly warm colors. Adding some landscape lighting to them would make your garden glow extra bright at nighttime.

Country gardens in Berkshire & Oxfordshire

Lavender:
Since they love the heat it makes them perfect for summer. Adding beautiful purply-blue tones to the garden, they’re easy to care for, and have other uses as well, like lavender tea. Also, they’re really great for the declining bee population. Plus, who can resist that lovely smell?

Villa Terra

Sunflowers:
These iconic flowers say summer like no other. Sunflowers are exceptionally great as they can withstand harsh dry summers. They also tend to grow fast as they do tall, so make sure you have enough vertical room for them to stretch in your landscape.

Azurri Blue Satin® Rose of Sharon (Hibiscus)

Hibiscus:
Known for its tropical-ness, it’s another great option for your garden in the summer. They may take a little more maintenance than other summer options, but their blooms are worth it that you’ll want to make sure you show them off at night as well using directional lights.

What is reflectance and how it affects your garden lighting

Reflectance is the measurement of the amount of light reflected by a surface. While the concept sounds very technical, knowing how the light will behave around the materials in your garden can help you create a better landscaping project.

Although most garden surfaces are dark and do not reflect light well, your eyes need less light outdoors than they do indoors to see forms, shadows and patterns. To choose the right lighting intensity for each area of your garden, remember to also consider the materials around the fixtures.

Below are some ideas of landscape lighting that take advantage of materials and their reflectance. The more reflective a surface is, the less light you will need to achieve the desired brightness around it.

Here the design makes use of the highly reflective white walls to brighten up the whole area.

Light stones reflect around 50% of the light, making it possible to create a well lit entryway with soft low voltage lights.

Concrete reflects about 40% of the light and the rough texture creates a sharper outline of the lighting spots.

Red bricks reflect about one third of the light shed on them and they provide a warmer, cozier look to the garden.

Placing lighting fixtures closer to vegetation can be a good way give the garden a more discrete lighting. Plants have around 25% of reflectance.

Soil and dark stones reflect about 15% of the light and it is possible to create an interesting design by featuring different shapes and textures.

Grass is one of the lowest reflecting surfaces, only 6%. In this example the lawn creates a great separation around the house.

8 Beautiful Garden Lighting Projects

A good landscape lighting project has the power to enhance outdoor spaces, by taking control of what is seen. With directional lighting, for example, we can create focal points in some areas while adding a touch of mystery to dark areas. We can also play around with color and texture by using different kinds of bulbs in different areas. Below are a few examples to inspire your garden lighting project.

Image: diynetwork.com
Image: diynetwork.com

Play around with the location of pathway lights to add interest. By placing some in the middle of the garden bed and others closer to the path and by varying the distance between them you can guide the visitors eyes down the path.   

Image: MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr
Image: MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr

Mirroring is a simple technique that can be achieved by adding accent lights on the far side of a body of water, across from the viewer’s point. In this case, the accent light should be bright enough to outweigh the moonlight and there should be no underwater lighting.

Image: telegraph.co.uk
Image: telegraph.co.uk

Discrete lighting and fixtures can add depth and color to a garden without overwhelming the view.

Image: houzz.com
Image: houzz.com

 

Mixing uplighting fixtures with strings of glow lights can add a festive mood to your garden patio.

Image: houzz.com
Image: houzz.com

 

Uplighting is the most common way to emphasize  trees,  adding scale and drama to your garden. Also note that different types of fixtures and bulbs will produce different results.

Image: naturallivingmag.com
Image: naturallivingmag.com

 

Underwater lighting can be used to emphasize the shape of a pool and looks great, especially for geometric designs like the one in the picture above.

Image: coolshire.com
Image: coolshire.com

Just because step lighting is a functional requirement does not mean that it has to be boring. Using the same lights for both garden beds and stairs can do the job and save energy.

Image: fydeo.com
Image: fydeo.com

With a few low-powered bulbs, you can achieve enchanting visual effects by shadowing small plants onto walls or other vertical surfaces.