Garden Lighting Ideas

Gardens can be many things from utilitarian spaces where we grow our food, to luxurious hideaways and places to entertain guests. Whatever the style or function, any garden may be enhanced by the proper kind of illumination and transformed from a daylight-only area to a secure nighttime workspace or fantasy landscape.

Late Night in the Vegetable Garden

If you are one of those folks who never has enough time during the day to get the weeding and planting done, or if you live in an area of blisteringly hot days when doing the simplest gardening chores may lead to heat stroke, consider working at night. You will not enjoy a great many flowers whose blooms open and close with the sun, but those are best enjoyed from a cozy bench with a glass of lemonade in hand anyway, and night is a convenient time to transplant and weed. For this situation, fasten swivel mount spotlights on tall posts at garden corners (or wherever needed most). They will provide plenty of adjustable lighting to get the job done when everything is cool and quiet. If the garden is far from an electric source, consider solar powered walkway lights at the ends of each row. Most have on/off switches so you need not have the entire garden lit when not in use.

Magic in the Moonlight

For a purely magical effect--especially in gardens designed for entertainment--try this inexpensive but beautiful effect. String clear twinkle lights high in trees around the perimeter of the garden (hide electrical cords against the backs of trees or under vines). Hang an extra large, white spherical light fixture slightly lower at each end of the garden, but still partly obscured by tree branches or finely cut foliage. When it is very dark outside, these will give a "moon and stars" effect to softly illuminate the garden. Solar-powered LED lights may be substituted for twinkle lights to avoid unsightly cords and electric bills. If you hide waterproof LEDs here and there in the ground cover near paths, guests will have no trouble finding their way in this romantic garden. To further enhance the magic, drop an occasional mini blinking LED from a length of fishing line away from paths. When they wave in the breeze you will get the effect of fireflies.

Tropical Paradise

In warmer zones where gardens may be filled with tropical foliage and exotic plantings, get with the theme and space tiki torches along garden paths for flickering light. You can use the real thing or invest in safer, adjustable gas versions. It is worthwhile to investigate and understand the differences before buying, as there are some important factors to consider, as reported in Outdoor Lighting's guide comparing oil to gas tiki torches. They come in many styles to suit your landscape and home, and they look great reflected in waterfall pools. Float a few lotus-flower-shaped waterproof LEDs, in the pool to enhance the tropical effect while beautifully illuminating the pool.

Keywords: garden lights, outdoor lighting ideas, lighting outdoor entertainment

About this Author

Deborah Stephenson is a freelance writer and artist, who brings over 25 years of both professional and life experience to her writings. Stephenson features a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. She is an anthropologist & naturalist, and has published a field guide on Michigan's flora & fauna as well as numerous political and environmental articles.