In early January, there was a great article in the Edmonton Journal that talked about the brand new idea of subtle lighting in Edmonton’s downtown core. This is something that made me smile, because Edmonton’s landscape designers have been incorporating low voltage outdoor lighting into gardens for years now. A concern that I had always had was that after spending a significant amount of time and money and creating an unbelievably beautiful landscape, winter would come. Snow would cover the ground and at 4:00 in the afternoon your windows would turn black and you could no longer see outside. By adding lights to your garden the landscape comes alive again. When you are in your house, in the evening, looking out you can again see the rich tapestry that is your yard.
Landscape Lighting Design
Now, although with landscape lighting you can recreate Las Vegas, the general idea is to create what is called a lighting portrait. You are using both strong, medium, and soft lighting to create a theatrical atmosphere, a sense of drama. Certain areas will be for safety, e.g. along pathways, but other areas highlight statuary, create silhouettes, or capture movement.
These lights are not the little solar lights but rather high quality lights using either halogen or 20 year LED lights. You can vary the wattage to really highlight your garden; up light full trees like elm or birch, graze a fence panel, or down light a patio. My favourite is to hang lights in the tops of trees to create what is called moon lighting. The shadows of branches dance across the snow and the snow flakes reflect the light like little diamonds.
If you don’t have a window that directly faces the garden or have a hot tub, then lighting isn’t useful. But for me, sitting in the hot tub with a glass of wine in the evening, looking up at the stars, and then casting an eye across the yard fills me the sense of enchantment.
Have an outdoor space that could use some atmosphere with garden lighting? Get in touch we are happy to help!
Kevin Napora – Master Gardener, Landscape Designer
Kevin believes in the power of nature’s aesthetic to inspire, create and motivate. After acquiring his degree in Horticulture at the University of Alberta, Kevin has spent close to a quarter of a century studying landscaping and designing residential gardens. Over the years he has won more than 12 industry awards and has been published in various magazines and newspapers.