1When I pull into my driveway in the evening, I’m greeted with a delightful show of light and shadow. I appreciate the same show while I’m enjoying dinner in my sunroom or washing dishes at the sink. Anytime I look outside I’m mesmerized by how night lighting reveals and enhances facets of my garden. My husband is a great fan of our lighting as well. Occasionally he leads me out into the evening garden to stroll hand in hand through the soft shadows. It’s always romantic.

5 I’ve always wanted to have night lighting in my garden. I even tried an inexpensive lighting package before I became a landscape designer. The effect was disastrous. Rather than seeing pools of light along a strolling path, I saw low orbs of light that caught my eyes but did not illuminate the path. I lived with them for a few months and then pulled them out and discarded them.

3 Years later, when I was finally able to add lighting to my present garden, I chose a licensed landscape contractor who had years of experience designing and installing night lighting. The contractor and I had slightly different ideas of how to light up my various garden rooms. I went for the minimalist look and he wanted to really 2showcase the entire garden. We compromised with 10 fixtures that gave a nice show, but left some areas dark. After living with the compromise for a few weeks my husband and I decided to expand the project to include the entire vision. The results were spectacular. We now have soft downcast lights on the porch and in my large arbor; bright up-lighting on my large trees, spotlights on my fountains and statues, and a warm glow on the paths and in the terraced beds that draws the eye gently from one feature to the next.

4I’ve learned a lot from both my lighting victory and defeat. If you’re going to do something – do it right. Use good materials, a good design and have it installed by an experienced landscape contractor.  Life is too short to invest time, money, and effort into a project, just to be disappointed. Do it right and make it sizzle.