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Shed light on your garden
12:18pm Tuesday 9th September 2008 in Gardening
IF you are thinking of sprucing up your patio this summer, some well-placed lights could really set the scene. Appropriate garden lighting can create an ambient atmosphere where you can enjoy a few glasses of wine with friends during the evenings of the warmer months.
Remember that a little light goes a long way at night, so do not over-light the area as extremely bright garden lighting often has a garish, unwelcoming look.
Instead, decide what features to light and to what intensity.
Use lighting selectively, making use of the darkness and enhance the best elements at the same time as concealing the worst.
There are so many different lights on the market it is difficult to know what to choose but if you have any borders around your patio, subtle solar lights within flowerbeds or along paths can create a relaxing mood – although they are unlikely to provide enough practical light to enable you to see your guests. Low voltage garden lighting products are easy enough to connect but the transformer connection and installation of any other mains voltage lights or equipment can lead to dangerous situations if not done correctly, so hire a registered electrician to do the work.
The key to successful garden lighting is flexibility — use spiked fittings so the position of the lighting can be changed to suit the changing seasons and planting growth.
"Use lighting selectively, making use of the darkness and enhance the best elements at the same time as concealing the worst."
You can also buy water features which have lights incorporated to create a mood.
One of the most popular at the moment is Stonesdale, a textured glass pyramid with multi-coloured LED lights inside.
It is one of the Alan Titchmarsh range of contemporary water features and has been described as a throwback to the 70s with its changing coloured lights.
But planted around ferns and other shade-loving plants, it looks more subtle and provides a talking point among guests.
If you have particular garden features which you want to highlight, think about lighting them individually.
Big patio pots containing impressive architectural plants can be enhanced with some lighting underneath.
You can buy cheap plastic uplighters and push them into your containers to cast interesting shadows in the evening.
If you do not have easy access to electricity and do not want to fork out for the cost of an electrician, there are loads of candle holders and oil lanterns available.
For a splash of colour, place Weaver nest tea light holders in colours of aqua, fuchsia, olive or tangerine, on branches of overhanging trees.