Let There Be Light

Heidi Bertish talks to top garden and lighting designers about how to use light to manipulate landscape and create mood

1. Another Dimension (above)

Specialist lighting consultant Greg Segal says, ‘If we consider gardens as extensions of our homes, they intrinsically become part of our living environment and should be lit as such.’ The treatment of light in this garden by Charlotte Rowe is both functional and aesthetic. Well-positioned uplighters define the vertical graphic of the trees, transforming them into sculptural elements. Functionally, the edge of the deck is illuminated to delineate where the planting begins and the wall is softly washed with secondary light so we become visually aware of the boundaries that embrace it. With sophisticated grading of light intensity and placement, a three-dimensional experience of the garden is achieved.

2. Delicate Touch

Photograph: harpergardenimages.com



‘A few well-placed lights can transform even the most basic garden into something magical. The key is to hide the light fittings wherever possible so the magic is not spoilt,’ explains lighting designer Tim Downey. In this garden, contemporary timber structures support stainless-steel downlighters to great effect. Disguised by climbing creepers, the delicacy of light is a marvellous foil to the graphic structural elements and a subtle nod to the soft grassy meadow beyond.

3. Less is More

Photograph: harpergardenimages.com



This ingenious stair illumination is a perfect play on lighting designer Rebecca Weir’s statement: ‘For light to read you also need shadow.’ Here the negative space has been lit as opposed to the other way around. The lit areas now signal where not to tread — tradition turned on its head by use of a diffused light box under the stairs, which is a unique solution that is both functional and sophisticated.