My Christmas was spent in the middle of the nowhere – quite literally. The cottage was stunning, it’s somewhere I visit regularly throughout any year, more usually in the summer. The remoteness is totally appealing. No light pollution and being surrounded by just fields, some with trees crowding the picket fencing as far as the eye can see. It is hard to imagine a more idyllic spot on earth. When we’d finished lunch, we wandered into the conservatory with our coffees and of course, at Christmas it got dark at 3pm! This is where the wonderment came in – my hosts have installed fantastic garden lighting. It looks stunning and has been carefully planned and a scheme devised with the help of this fantastic bunch of professionals. There are gaduated beams from ground up, into the tall trees and different beams on the chalet style shed, with downward beams coming down from other trees. Absolute magic!
We have just had a tremendous storm – the visciousness of that wind took everyone by surprise, although the weather presenters have been banging on about this one for some time. I had a few plants potted up on the large patio table which I hoped had enough building around it to stop any stray gusts taking off with my newly propogated babies. Only a couple of items hit the deck with more speed than might be safe. The fence panels were wobbling horribly when I looked out in the night – this is something you can’t really do a great deal about – to replace unsteady posts, you need to demolish the panels, so you might as well have a fencing contractor come in and replace the posts and two or three surrounding panels. The lighting is most carefully watched over – it is our pride and joy and was professionally installed – it lights our life in so many ways !
Now that autumn has slunk by and in fact, winter is on it’s way, all thoughts of lovely relaxed summer gardening seem to be side lined. I have a chap come over to give me a hand with mine, just a fortnightly visit but regular and so very helpful. We were discussing everything that will need to be carried out on his next visit, and what I can do in the meantime.
My garden is rather small, I’ve never considered lighting, but my chum came up with a couple of really super ideas to extend my season for the lovely plants I have managed to acquire and propogate from. Instead of just closing off the curtains at 4pm every day, I have a small number of exterior lights that pick out the best features, a couple of splendid trees and specialist shrubs that look now fantastic in that light. Truly inspiring.
One of the joys of going to different parts of the country for short family breaks is the chance to look around different historic houses and castles – many a happy hour has been spent doing just that and I have seen some truly amazing gardens along the way. All the professional gardens have their planting schemes, maybe a massive lake with a mass of water lillies proudly bobbing their heads for all to sea. What is always a fascination for me is the lighting scheme in each – almost every one involves lighting of some sort or another.
Lighting in gardens is definitely a professional task – as is any lighting for that matter. The prospect of an unexpected mix of electricity and rainy weather needs the legal touch to ensure safety to all. A good garden lighting supplier will provide advice and technical information to help you get the best scheme installed for you.
One of the greatest joys of being more available these days is that of going around heritage houses and gardens. My word there are some stunning places to see and of course, they all have their own way of displaying their favourite parts to the public. I was particularly taken with a property in Derbyshire last summer when my daughter and I took a couple of days in a cottage nearby. We chanced upon this very ancient property through my membership of a particular heritage scheme and this was right on our doorstep. Although the house was indeed fascinating and beautiful in every respect, the garden out matched it by miles. We had the chance to visit it again during a fund raiser for a local charity. The atmosphere was literally electric. They had provided the most amazing lighting and apparently this was their usual display – it was utterly inspiring. I now have brochures and a scheme in mind!
I was watching one of the major gardening programmes on mainstream tv catchup the other day – the presenter of the show was visiting a garden in the most remote part of the uk, and it was a really inspirational episode. The hostess of the garden gave us a fantastic walk through from the top of her cliff top home, via many sets of winding steps and terraces, down to the lowest level which then led out eventually to a beach location.
There were many facets to this amazing garden – the placement of the trees and shrubs caught my eye as much as anything else. The installation of garden lighting in different locations and for various purposes was enthralling. The taller skinny trees had certain uplighters, other downlights were strung about and between big wide expanses. The night time effect was truly magical and made me want to engage the services of a lighting expert forthwith!
On a recent visit to friends in a tiny village right out in the sticks, I was greatly impressed with a gardens I was lucky enough to be invited to look around. They were getting ready for the forthcoming open day for the garden charity and as it was their first year, I suspect they were anxiously wanting to hear approving noises and comfortable words of praise. They got it all from me – I found their garden so totally absorbing and beautiful that I was nearly speechless.
Not only did they have lots of little ‘rooms’ within the half acre plot, each one with a different theme, but to reflect the wooded land up the end of the farm track, they separated their garden spaces with trees and tall shrubs. Normally this would have made it seem dark, but in their design were lenty of exterior lights – different sets, up uplighters, downlighters, strings within shrubs. It was pure magic!
On a visit to a massive but relatively unknown heritage property, I was struck, not for the first time, by the sheer vastness of the place. The walk up from the main car park is quite a hike – better on a fine day due to the uge number of large trees lining the broad avenue, which in the summer have much hanging down, making it a little dark and almost ‘Wild Wood’ story time!
Having wandered audible guide in hand, round the house, all very lovely and offering graciousness aplenty, it was time to meander around the garden. Splendid areas of wonderful plants, herbaeous borders etc. However what really tickled me was the outdoor lighting. Fantastic globes of all shapes and sizes were installed in various areas of the grounds. Some lit the trees and changed colours ocassionally and others conentrated light on the pathways. It made an already satisfactory visit into something truly magical and a great success.
Taking time out of a very busy schedule of work, travel to and from work, home and work . . . . the need to get outside and really appreciate everything around me. That was my plan at the ebginning of the year. I wasn’t going to get back into the habit of sitting watching any daytime tv. I was going to get out there and do gardening, redesigning my patch of back garden to turn it into a veritable oasis of calm and splendour.
The working on the design wasn’t too much of a difficulty. I have always loved herbaceous borders and visit professional gardens very often when I et the opportunity. There are some very notable ones in my immediate county area too. What I really needed help with was the garden lighting. Oh my gooness how my outdoor space needed the professional touch to get a safe, useful lighting scheme installed. It has transformed my life entirely!
In the past, our family have had a variety of gardens. Having started off in a corporation supplied house when they were moved out of the city after the war, they had a massive garden with the house. This was to encourage families to grow their own vegetable and fruit to help ease the burden on family expenditure as much as anything. As my parents settled into their own family life, they bought their first home, a small bungalow, with a sizeable plot. This was split, half for vegetables and practical things and the other half laid to lawn with just the odd shrub. There were no trees or architecurally attractive show pieces.
Today, lots of gardens, even small ones, can have one or two specimens that will really look amazing if lit up in the darker hours. With the emphasis on relaxed living, external lighting helps to give the garden more year round appeal.