With the nights drawing in and Autumn fast approaching, many people will be feeling that opportunities to enjoy the garden are becoming a thing of the past until the spring comes round again. The use of lighting in the garden can change all of that, reclaiming the garden from the night and turning it into a magical, theatrical place. In fact, it may look even better at night by hi- lighting the very best bits and hiding the perhaps more neglected parts.
What you are not aiming to do is flood the whole garden with light. You want to manipulate the space with the light and give features, plants textures and colours a different dimension.
As a general rule, lighting works best in the garden if there are lots of small sources of light rather than just a few large ones and if the fittings are hidden, either in among the foliage or set flush into the paving.
Spotlights are ideal for emphasising the star features of the garden - a piece of sculpture, a particularly pretty bench or a striking shrub or tree. Statues are best lit from the front so as to emphasise the detail rather than create a silhouette. A tree looks striking when lit from below in the winter, their tracery of branches standing out against the darkness.
Lighting and water - moving water especially - is a magical combination. Even a simple bubble fountain or wall mask becomes a star attraction at night a style light turns each dancing droplet to gold or silver. Up lighters work well underwater in a formal pool especially if they are placed directly under a fountain or jet. As does side lighting, creating a mirror effect on a still pond surface.
Be sure to avoid down lighters in ponds though as these will reveal the mechanics and any debris in the water.
If you are looking for a less permanent, quick lighting fix that won't require an electrician to fit, solar powered fairy lights can give a lovely subtle effect when draped through shrubs and trees.
Not forgetting the natural way of lighting your garden - candles, ranging from large flares on stout canes to versatile tea lights, you can create a beautiful "fairy garden" effect.
Hanging in jam jars along paths, metal lanterns from trees, en masse on the patio or dotted along the walls of raised beds - the more you have, the more magical the effect!