When you’re planning lighting for the garden, it pays to start by focusing on safety, such as lighting up the paths and, most importantly, steps. I like using eye-lidded spotlights recessed into the wall, which are located so they send beams across the step risers. I’m not a great fan of bollard lights for lighting paths.
I prefer installing small ground-mounted lights, or hanging lights from trees and pergolas, which wash the pathways in light and are less obvious at night and during the day.
Ponds, pools and water features look amazing at night and it’s almost worth putting one in to get the effect. Lights can be reflected off the surface of the water to create a natural, moody effect. Alternatively, for a more dramatic effect, submersible lights can be placed below the water’s surface, making the water glow and silhouetting waterlily leaves and other items above. Silhouetting also works in other areas of the garden, particularly where dramatic or architectural plants are located in front of a wall. Wash the wall with uplights for interesting shadows.
One of the greatest joys of the night garden is smelling the flowers. Many nocturnal flower perfumes are famous as ingredients in expensive fragrances – think Chanel, Dior,
Yves Saint Laurent – all in your own garden. Planted around the house and outdoor living areas, they add another dimension to night-time enjoyment. Space these through the garden and enjoy walking from one distinctive pool of scent to the next.
Most night-blooming flowers are white, moth-pollinated flowers and are reflected in the moonlight. These often have longer flowering seasons than their day-pollinated colleagues.
I particularly enjoy growing night-flowering waterlilies, which stay open well into the morning. With a sweet perfume and free-flowering habit, they come in reflective whites and dramatic deep pinks and reds.