Including lighting in landscape designs

(This post was prompted by the following question from Craig Smith on LinkedIn : "How many professional landscape designers implement lighting into design plans?")

I wonder how many interior architects/designers would draw up plans without any mention of lighting and power fixtures. Well, the answer is none. They wouldn't dream of building, plastering, decorating, carpeting and furnishing an interior, only to then think about channelling cables into walls and through ceilings. And yet, the equivalent still happens all too often in landscape and garden design.

An opportunity missed

This is not trying to suggest that those involved in the landscape side are being remiss in any way. Far from it. Many landscape designers are extremely adept at assessing the effects of changing daylight, and incorporating these into their designs. However, it does seem a great pity, when modern lifestyles are spread over so many more hours of the day and night, and when new technologies are constantly providing better methods of illumination, that many designers are failing to see the real benefit of outdoor spaces that are both useable and enjoyable during the hours of natural darkness, as well as during the day.

Added value

Yes, incorporating lighting adds yet another layer of complexity to the already complex work of the landscape designer, and proper lighting design is a combined art form and science that requires much knowledge and experience. That is why working with a professional lighting designer from the outset is both a time saver and a very shrewd investment for the landscape designer. Proper landscape lighting professionals will open up new insights in the landscaper’s design, bringing out additional aspects of the landscaping and planting in a way that is only possible with well crafted artificial light. This can give the proposal to the client a powerful new unique selling point. Moreover, a landscape lighting designer will ensure that electrical safety is made a top priority throughout, that all national and local regulations concerning power and lighting are strictly adhered to, that efficiency is maximised and life of system running costs are minimised, and that light pollution and light nuisance are given the utmost attention. The two design disciplines complement each other perfectly and, in our experience, the working relationship is a stimulating and enjoyable one for both parties.

A stitch in time

However, one can imagine that that relationship might become very strained if the owner of a newly installed designer garden suddenly decides that it would now be nice to have it lit at night. Retrofitting lighting in a garden, so that it is unobtrusive and yet effective, is a difficult and painstaking process (we know, because we do it regularly with heritage gardens) and all that extra bother can be obviated in a new garden if the lighting is taken into consideration from the outset of the design project.

Choose wisely

Choice of lighting designer is important. Domestic electricians often pass themselves off as designers because they are qualified to install outdoor lights but the results are usually very disappointing and expensive to rectify. Lighting engineers may be great at the functional lighting but might lack the artistic flair to create appropriate effect lighting, or the required horticultural knowledge to really draw out the very best from the landscape at night.

Include lighting

Including lighting design at the landscape design stage will save money and time in the long run, will provide a more attractive sales proposition, and will produce a better end result than will be achieved if it is added as an afterthought.

Votes: 0
E-mail me when people leave their comments –

You need to be a member of Landscape Juice Network to add comments!

Join Landscape Juice Network

Open forum activity

Kelly Anne Burke updated their profile
8 minutes ago
Kelly Anne Burke updated their profile photo
10 minutes ago
John Martin replied to John Martin's discussion Land Drain Layout
"In terms of function, will they operate the same?
The herringbone laterals because it cuts across the slope will have a shallower fall and thus presumably a slower flow rate compared to the long straight length that runs to the soakaway. Would that…"
1 hour ago
Kris Baker replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"The one I hired was from HSS and looks like the picture currently on their site
https://www.hss.com/hire/p/turf-cutter-light-duty
the web link includes "Turf Cutter - Light Duty" which is not mentioned in the description! but it was a decent.,…"
6 hours ago
Kris Baker replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"I just pulled "any old image" from Google, sorry the link wouldn't have been useful (posting a linked-image here defaults to also putting a link on it as well, which just goes to where the image is stored and is unlikely to be useful, and likely to…"
7 hours ago
Jamie Booth, John Martin and James Clarke joined Landscape Juice Network
15 hours ago
Paul Doyle replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"Yeah I was taught that from day one. If there's a place to store it ,then I would without hesitation.  What's gonna replace the turf??"
16 hours ago
Dave Colton replied to John Martin's discussion Land Drain Layout
"The herringbone pattern is more complicated and slower to install than a grid pattern and the grid is much quicker and easier to install and you can easily fit silt traps to it. And it's also cheaper."
17 hours ago
John F replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"Do you mean dig a trench to bury the turf ? , what would i do with the mound of soil i dug out of the trench , I have heard this one before lol . 
but seriously a deep enough hole . Sounds like a lot of digging 
Its clay soil , the grass is just…"
17 hours ago
John F replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"Thanks for the suggestion Nick but i cant spray it off . 
The turfed area is on a slope and the reason its going is because water tend to run off onto the pedestrian footpath . 
They got a handyman and he decided to disk off the retaining kerb edge…"
17 hours ago
Andrew Betteridge replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"How easy is the digging?
Is it feasible to double dig and bury it?
No barrowing, no skip."
18 hours ago
John F replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"The skip company will recycle the turf as they sell top soil which they have processed . 
Another option which i have suggested to customers in the past is to stack the turf in a hidden corner and let it turn to loam , its an option which will…"
18 hours ago
John F replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"Have looked these up Andrew , cheap enough to buy and there is one with a long shaft which i think might be easy to use £120 i believe pitch care ? 
interesting estimate 10 hours which sounds reasonable as my thinking is if the work takes me longer…"
18 hours ago
John F replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"yes it does seem like a sensible option , i have considered buying a used turf cutter and keeping it maintained and then hiring it out to the customer within the estimate , but it might only get ocassional use ."
18 hours ago
John F replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"Thanks Paul , I have looked at the hire centre , they dont have the camon but other models £87.00 for the week with a tank of fuel , not a bad price but the reviews are terrible , breaking down and not even starting although it makes me wonder if…"
18 hours ago
John F replied to John F's discussion Efficient turf removal methods
"Hi Kris Thanks i can't access the link unfortunately it says forbidden .
The turf needs to be disposed of or stacked out of the way to make loam once it starts to rot down ."
18 hours ago
More…