If you’re working on a landscape project, there are a couple of questions you might ask yourself like, “How do you add color to landscaping?” and “How do you create texture in your garden?” But have you considered the look and feel and color and texture once the sun goes down? Homeowners take pride in the work they’ve done in their yard. After all, they’ve spent a lot of time perfecting their garden and flower beds, so soaking in those colors and textures with the proper landscape lighting design may be the key to enjoying it day and night. 

If creating nighttime color and texture in your garden sounds completely overwhelming, and you have no idea where to even begin, here’s a great tip to get you started: 

  1. During the day, walk around your yard and make notes about your favorite features: plants, pathways, trees, groundcover, structures, water features, etc., and don’t forget about colors and textures too. 

  1. Then take a light outside at night and shine it on those favorite features to help you decide where you’d like to add more color and texture and where you can highlight your favorite existing colors and textures through your overall lighting plan. 

You might need to repeat this nighttime process a few times to “see” exactly what you’re wanting, but this patience and effort will definitely pay off when your dream color-and-texture-filled nighttime landscape comes to light!

Before we get to color and texture specifically, here are a few tips that can apply to any landscape lighting plan that will also help create color and texture:

  • Think about creating lighting zones so you can highlight different areas of your yard depending on the situation and the atmosphere you want to create.

  • Be careful not to over illuminate—a little light can go a long way! Remember: You’re going for a calm, relaxing, useful-at-night atmosphere, not trying to land a plane.

  • Use LED instead of halogen. Not only will you save money over the years, but you won’t have to change those hard-to-reach lights as often. Learn more about LED vs Halogen here

  • Conceal the source of light whenever possible (unless highlighting your lighting is part of your plan) so you don’t detract from what you’re trying to showcase.

Key Elements to Consider to Add Color and Texture to Your Garden Landscape Design

1. Placement

Think back to your list from your nighttime viewing expeditions. For each item, will you place lights above (catching textures and colors of areas/specific aspects of your yard), underneath (as in uplighting trees, for example), by or in (think pathways, water features, groundcover, structures, plants, etc.), and so on. Make sure you don’t create unwanted shadows for safety and aesthetic reasons.

Click here to see more landscape design ideas.

2. Degrees of Light

Ask yourself: Do you want brighter light, or are you going for more of a softer feel? Do you want a laser-focus or more broadly diffused? Getting the correct bulb size, type, shape, and wattage for all the parts of your yard is the key here. 

Click here to read more about beam spreads as they impact your landscape lighting design.

3. Color Schemes

In addition to the other elements, color and design are important when you’re considering what to plant and where. Think about what palettes you would like to highlight in your landscape light design. Maybe you’ve opted for a monochromatic color scheme in one section of your garden, but wish to highlight the complementary color scheme instead. The integration of lights in highlighted areas will give you a different look and feel. 

Highlight pastels and muted colors for a more peaceful feeling (plants like cafe au lait dahlias, pineapple sage, and specific varieties of white hydrangeas) or light a special tree in your yard for some extra drama and texture. But remember, your landscape lighting design should be flexible because plants are often not permanent, and they will shift appearance during the changing of the seasons. 

Need help creating your dream landscape lighting plan? We’ve got you covered! Check out our top tips for designing your landscape lighting plans and fill out our contact form for some one-on-one help to get your yard lit ASAP.