Edward Abbey stated, “You can’t study the darkness by flooding it with light.” Yet, you can study the darkness by illuminating it with light. The key is knowing the difference between flooding and illuminating.
Some people think landscape lighting is purchasing a few floodlights so the nighttime looks like the daytime. But, then you lose the magic of the nighttime.
So, what does it mean to illuminate your landscape to study the darkness?
It means to have a purpose for each light. Do you want a soft, moonlight effect at night, or do you want a little added security while enhancing key points in your yard? Do you want the magical effect of softly tinted lights, or do you want the mixture of light and shadows?
All of these effects can be achieved with a variety of landscape lighting strategies.
You can highlight a seating area in your yard with a pole light, or you can create a soft illumination of a path by hiding the landscaping lighting under shrubs.
You can highlight a gazing ball or fountain by using more than one lighting fixture with low-intensity bulbs placed at different angles.
You can show off flower beds with small, soft lights outlining the edging and a few placed to show off the prized plants.
You can sit on your desk and have friends look out over the yard and see the rough bark on a tree or a birdbath nestled in some bushes.
All of these lighting strategies allow you to study the darkness, and to enjoy the darkness, as Abbey said.
Want to create those effects to study the darkness on your property?