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Hard Landscape : Garden lighting

Lighting can bring a whole new dimension to the garden. It extends the use of the garden, most notably in summer, and makes it possible to view the garden from inside the house at any season or time of day. Floodlighting is not particularly appropriate for a garden because the glare is too harsh.

Dramatic effects can be created by highlighting key plants and ornaments. Light can be shone on the front of an object or plant and this is known as ‘spot-lighting’. Shone behind an object, it emphasises the silhouette of the object and is known as ‘back-lighting’.

Mood lighting effects are most successful, using small lights in key positions. This is sometimes known as key lighting. Pale flowers especially catch the half-light from lower powered lamps and create a mysterious mood. Lovely effects can be created when a garden pool or waterfall is lit with underwater lighting, the source of which is most effective when hidden.

Lighting has the practical value of making steps, pools and other hazardous places safer. The fittings themselves, whether bollard-type or standards, can be quite ornamental, even unlit. Although lighting particularly complements modern gardens, it is also very effective in older style gardens, providing the lamps are well hidden from view. Electrical installation outdoors should be left to an expert. Low voltage lamps are safest.

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