Light has magical properties. Otherwise, how to explain that with skillful lighting, even the most ordinary garden becomes mysterious and unique. Using the example of several landscape projects, we will tell you what role decorative lighting plays in garden design and how to transform flower beds and other garden objects with it.
The magic of light in the garden
Why do you need decorative garden lighting
There are two types of landscape lighting – functional and decorative.
The first is designed for safe stay in the local area at night and for evening relaxation in the garden. Functional lights are located in the entrance area, along the garden paths, on the terrace, in the patio, in the barbecue area.
For recreation areas (gazebos, outdoor terraces, patios), choose lamps that emit soft, diffused warm light. It creates a cozy, relaxing atmosphere that is conducive to rest with family and friends.
Decorative lighting has completely different tasks. With his help:
- highlight the beautiful elements of the garden;
- emphasize successful design solutions;
- create optical accents and light illusions;
- adjust the size of the site (spacious – zoned and made more comfortable, small – visually expand);
- create a festive, mysterious or romantic atmosphere in the garden.
Types of decorative lighting
There are three types of decorative lighting
- Flood light. It is created by lamps that rise about 50 cm above the ground and emit diffused light. Usually they are installed in flower beds and lawns.
An example of decorative illumination of a flower bed with a flood lamp
- Spot (accentuating) illumination. It is needed to highlight the individual elements of the garden (plant, sculpture, stone). Depending on the angle and direction of the beam, the object can be fully or partially illuminated.
Such illumination is realized with the help of spotlights, which are installed on the ground or a small elevation. Sometimes a spotlight is placed in the crown of a tree or in the middle of a bush, making it feel like the plant is glowing.
Thanks to the spotlight, the crowns of trees and shrubs seem to glow from the inside
- Contour (silhouette) lighting. This is the name of the type of decorative lighting in which the contour of the object is highlighted with light. This is done using garlands and LED strips. Usually, the outlines of trees, bushes, sculptures, garden ponds are highlighted in this way.
Example of contour lighting for a pool
Recently, decorative backlighting with LED lamps of various colors has become popular. When using it, it is important that the shades are harmoniously combined and complement each other. It is not recommended to use more than 2-3 colors at the same time. Be wary of using very bright white light, which in large quantities makes the garden lifeless; do not overdo it with red – it looks too defiant.
Examples of decorative lighting of flower beds and landscape compositions
Let’s consider how you can organize the lighting of the garden using specific photo examples.
Flowers in glowing containers
The composition of flowers in garden vases decorating the gazebo includes three flowerpots with built-in LED lighting. During the day they do not stand out, but at night they turn into bright glowing balls. The luminaires run on rechargeable batteries and provide soft, diffused light that floods the flower beds and lawn. Flowers planted directly into glowing containers look unusual – they seem to float in the air.
Composition with amphoras
Accent lighting of the composition on the lawn
The composition of the all-round view, located on the lawn, is illuminated by several spotlights. One of them is set on the ground and focuses on the amphora, the second is slightly raised and directed to the crown of trees. As a result, the entire composition is presented in subdued light, and the most interesting details are brightly lit.
Japanese style garden corner
Japanese lantern on the shore of the pond
A Japanese lantern mounted on a large stone was chosen to illuminate the coastal zone of the garden pond. Its bright diffused light beautifully emphasizes the silhouette of the plants growing along the edge of the pond, but, most importantly, the lamp itself serves as an interesting decorative element and looks like a small lighthouse. The water mirror is immersed in twilight, reflecting only the light pouring from the lantern.
Snow-covered needles effect
Illumination of a flower bed with conifers
The use of dazzling white point light to illuminate the coniferous composition creates the optical effect of frosty needles. Several lamps are installed around the perimeter of the flower bed and form bright light spots, others are placed in the crown of plants and illuminate them from the inside.
The magic of blue and white tones
Decorative lighting of the recreation area with a pool
The play of light and shadow, combined with the blue mirror of the pool and the jets of water in the small waterfall, makes this relaxation area spectacular in the dark. Shrubs and conifers, illuminated from below with small spots of light, look very atmospheric and mysterious.
Illusion of a multicolored tree
Illumination of a tree with colored lights
Just two LED spotlights with color filters, mounted on the ground and pointing upwards, create a stunning multi-colored wood effect. It looks like a fabulous giant wandering into the garden. Use this lighting with care and dosage so that your garden does not sparkle like a casino entrance.
Contour lighting of flower beds
Contour lighting of flower beds
And this photo is an example of LED strip lighting. It is located along the contour of the flower bed and forms a contrasting border of light and darkness. Since the radiation is directed into the flower garden, but at the same time the background is in the shadow, the rays perfectly emphasize the silhouette of the plants, but blur the color scheme and the composition is perceived in black and white.
Chinese lanterns in garden design
Flowerbed lighting with Chinese lanterns
To illuminate the lawn and flower beds, located along its perimeter, we chose the usual flood lighting, but non-standard approach to the choice of lamps. These are decorative Chinese lanterns suspended from a tree. The glowing balls emit soft diffused light and look very romantic. The design is complemented by several point light spots that focus on the garden waterfall and individual plants.
Cross light illumination
A simple technique was used to illuminate the cascade reservoir – they installed small projectors opposite each other and directed the beams so that they intersect at the point where the water is pouring out. The result is a stunning effect – it seems as if the light itself is streaming, similar to molten gold.
Lanterns on posts, located along the perimeter of the reservoir, gently flood the surrounding landscape, creating smooth transitions from light to shadow.
Recreation area lighting
Illumination of the recreation area in the garden
In conclusion, we have selected a photo example where several types of decorative lighting are used at once. LEDs integrated into the retaining wall gently indicate the contour of the platform. Spotlights with color filters color the tree crowns red, yellow and white. Additional illumination is the fire in the garden fireplace, filling the area with atmospheric light and pleasant warmth.
In this article, we focused on the aesthetic component of decorative lighting, but it is important not to miss the technical aspects of organizing landscape lighting. You can read more about this here and watch the video.