Lights in the garden serve several purposes. Lights increase safety by allowing people to see where they are walking and to keep strangers at bay. Lights add atmosphere to outdoor gatherings after dark. Garden lights are an artistic expression and bring attention to prized plants. Adding lights to a garden is a relatively quick way to change how and when you use your garden.
Ambient lighting in the garden fills the entire space with light. Use ambient light for parties, gatherings or nighttime gardening sessions. Create ambient light with large spotlights that are attached high up to the side of the house, garage or other structure. Alternatively, choose decorative lamp posts to provide light for a small area. Purchase ambient lights that you can control with a switch so that the lights are on only when you need them. Low-level ambient lights will make the space usable at night, while brighter lights will increase the security in the area.
Accent lights are small to medium size lights that you angle to shine upon a specific feature you wish to highlight in the garden. Place accent lights at the base of trees and point them toward the tree. Aim lights at specimen plants to extend the time you and your guests can enjoy these special plants. Accent lights can create unexpected shadows. After positioning the lights look to see that they highlight what you want to highlight and that they do not give the illusion that a figure is lurking in the bushes. Power accent lights with low-voltage wires, batteries or solar power. Solar power will be less effective for lights you place under trees. Accent lights are available in different colors to add interest to the garden.
Path lights increase safety for people walking at night. Path lights help people to follow curves in the path. Good lighting is essential for uneven surfaces, steep slopes and steps. Add lights that emit a contrasting color from the path to make hazards, such as steps, easier to see. Path lights also improve the overall appearance of the path. Users typically stake path lights into the ground on either side of the path. Power pathway lights with low-voltage wiring, batteries or solar power. Many manufacturers sell pathway lights as a set that you can control with one wire. You will likely find path lights in more colors, finishes and styles than other lights.
Whimsical lights are basically art pieces that light up at night. Whimsical lights will not cast off enough light to light a path or work on a task. These lights do not highlight an attraction, rather, they are the attraction. Artists manipulate plastic, metal and glass into various shapes and incorporate a lighting element to create light sculptures. Common shapes are butterflies, fireflies and orbs. Power decorative lights with unobtrusive below ground wiring or with small, discrete solar panels.