A few elements from an inspired gardener can extend the beauty of a day garden into the evening. Moon gardens are designed to allow the gardener to enjoy the garden by moonlight. Plant choice, lighting and layout should all be chosen according to how the garden will look at night, and which nocturnal creatures it will attract.
White or Silvery Plants
Choose plants with white blooms, white variegated foliage or silver foliage. It stands out better in moonlight, and white blooms also attract nighttime pollinators such as moths. The Io moth and the Luna moth, for example tend to visit gardens that have white, fragrant blooms.
Designing the garden with crescents of white or silver foliage and blue blooms creates noticeable contrast when viewed by moonlight. Ambitious gardeners can even plant with white, gray and dark foliage plants in the image of the full moon and its craters.
A garden that withholds its blooms during the day but opens them at night builds anticipation for the nighttime view. Plants like night-blooming jasmine and moonflower vines have white blooms, a strong fragrance and wait until dusk to start opening.
Still water reflects the moon. Moving water adds a sound element to the garden, and reflects light around the night garden. Water also provides a habitat for night-wandering insects and a drink for nocturnal birds such as owls.
Use outdoor lighting sparingly. One of the big draws to the moon garden is the moonlight, so you don’t want to upstage it. Dim, low path lights or area lights in one or two key spots are best. Solar lights glow softly, making them ideal for lighting paths for the first half of the night.
Benches are typical for day gardens, but a place to fully recline for moongazing and stargazing is optimal for the moon garden. Outdoor reclining chairs or even long patio throw cushions provide spots to enjoy your garden. On summer evenings, furniture may not be as enjoyable as spot to lie on the grass during a clear evening.