17 Sep Light it up with Natural Light
Sunlight is an essential part of any living landscape, but what about its aesthetic contributions? In ancient times, gardens were designed and constructed to make the best use of natural light. Elements would be arranged to reflect or be backlit by the sun at particular times of day, and architectural elements were designed to allow light to play across the surfaces in the most attractive way. These gardens were best viewed at certain times of the day.
With our busy lives, it is hard to create landscapes that give us that kind of opportunity, since most families have at least one member busy at any given time, but there are other ways that taking light into consideration can enhance your existing landscape, and inform future design elements.
Using glass in your landscape allows light to play! It can reflect, direct and even color the natural light in your landscape. When using glass, the major consideration that should be first is safety. Since glass is inherently fragile, make sure that any glass you used is sheltered, or used in such a way that if it breaks it does not create undue risk.
Antique windows and doors are a great way to use glass in your landscape. Not only does the glass add interest, the ornate wooden frames also add their own flavor. Enclosing areas, or creating “privacy” walls with elements that include glass is a great way to get the most of your natural light. We will be sharing some more ideas about this on our Facebook page, so be sure to come and join us!
Dark and Light
Dark areas of a bright landscape can help to create intimacy and a sense of privacy, not to mention that cool shade is always appreciated during warmer months, but what about those areas that are unintentionally dark? Adding details to these areas can help to bring them into the landscape, instead of allowing them to remain as negative voids in the overall look.
Try planting light colored plants in a darker area. Be sure to look for plants that will do well without much sunlight for your best chance of success. Choose plants with bright foliage and flowers that have bright colors to add even more detail that will “pop” in those dark corners, allowing them to become just as much an asset as the rest of your landscape.
This section will be brief since we are planning a post in the near future dealing exclusively with the use of mirrors. Mirrors reflect light, and any smooth, flat, bright surface can be used in the same way. Try a reflecting mirror ball in a dark corner to add a power-free source of light!
Use calm water, and polished metal surfaces to reflect light where you want it as well. Properly positioned mirrors were used in ancient Rome to light theatrical productions and will work very well to light your outdoor spaces today. Don’t be afraid to experiment.