As a companion to the thoughts on solid forms and shapes presented in
my earlier articles, this Sketchbook considers the soft and fluid lines of
lighting for landscape.
All the rules of exterior architectural lighting apply but with the further
need to exploit or enhance natural shapes and contours, especially
through the use of shadows.
As ever, the watchword is subtlety. Living things take time to grow. It takes
a good six months for freshly planted landscape to flourish and mature.
During growth, plants and trees take on completely different shapes
and structures. Sometimes the beauty is ephemeral, sometimes a strong
outline or colour – such as an ancient tree trunk – will be a constant that
can present a starting point for the design.
A carefully designed landscape will have a deliberately different character
depending on the time of year.
A recent brief to design the lighting for a well-established, large private
garden presented this quandary: How do you light a scene that changes
with the seasons? For us, the answer was to layer the lighting effects so
the scenes could be varied according to the time of year and amount of
foliage. But there are no hard-and-fast rules: it seems the client has been
using the ‘winter’ lighting effects during the summer…
Create landscape lighting for all seasons
Mary Rushton-Beales of Lighting Design House sets out the different approaches possible when lighting the soft and fluid
lines of landscape
Soft wash of light outlines
hedge & frames scene
feature light inside
Upward light for
crown of tree
Subtle emphasis of foliage