Summary: Lighting flower beds in the landscape goes beyond installing a solar garden light. Flower bed design may provide lots of yard landscaping ideas for flowers but lighting a flower bed has unique needs and requires the use of special outdoor landscape lighting fixtures. Read to find out how to put lighting in your flower bed.
Question: We are interested in lighting our flower beds and have not had much success in getting advice down at our local garden center.
We would like to use solar landscaping lights instead of low-voltage lighting since some of the raise beds are scattered around our backyard and would not need to dig up the lawn. Where should we start our flower bed lighting project? Suzanne, Germantown, MD
Answer: Suzanne, lighting steps and flower beds can create some very dramatic nighttime lighting and flower displays, but you will need to take a few things into consideration when installing flower bed lights.
Spots Shining Up
Depending on their size and shape, beds of flowers can utilize outdoor landscape lighting in a number of ways. As the flowers are frequently viewed from close up, floodlights or spotlights shining up from the well-drained soil are not very practical.
A mushroom pathway, fence lighting, concrete patio lighting, or flower garden light are the most frequently used. It throws a pool of light downward away from the eyes and often can be strategically located to spill light onto a near-by garden path, terrace, or series of steps.
Since these reflectors are relatively close to the flowers, use a soft light to avoid harshness.
Flower Shield Lights To The Advantage
Flower shield lights also can be used to advantage to view a flower bed from one edging only. Use individual flower lights to highlight single plants, shrubs or a tree. A number of the smaller units attached in a string are excellent for lighting up long narrow flower beds or low border plantings.
Since these lighting fixtures are mounted on spikes, they can be quickly moved (a real plus with solar street lighting fixtures) from one part of the bed to another as the bloom varies.
Floodlights & Accents
When floodlighting a large bed of flowers with one or more overhead lights, always add some touches of accent lighting to point out an interesting bloom, and to create a more interesting pattern or inches of shadows. Otherwise, the over-all effect may have a flat sameness of appearance that lacks the third dimensional quality of an interesting scene.
Add this extra touch by one or two strategically located mushroom lamps, by an extra overhead spot lamp or lamp post, or by another light directed from a low angle giving off wonderful partial shade. These should be positioned to point out the best of the current blooms, while at the same time creating better modeling.
Make Landscape Lighting Flexible
Above all, remember to make your flower landscape lighting flexible. Flowers are not permanent. Their bloom varies, and beds are easily and frequently moved about by many gardeners. Therefore, plan your outdoor lighting so that it too can be easily and quickly moved about as required, you can also highlight beautiful leaves. .
One of the best ways is to use solar lights mounted on ground spikes. If, you provide for a permanent free-standing weatherproof electrical outlet in each flower-bed area, you will always have light when and where you wish it.