Posts Tagged ‘Garden Lighting’

Now that Valentine’s Day has passed and February is half over, you may want to start focusing attention on your landscaping plans for the rapidly-approaching 2016 season. Just about any designer will tell you that your outdoor space should be an extension if your interior living space. But that’s easier said than done. If you don’t already have a patio, deck or feature that delineates a specific functional area (think pool/ shed/ raised planting garden), it can be difficult to carve out romantic areas that make you want to stop and enjoy the intimate atmosphere a beautiful landscape can provide. Here are 3 easy ways to bring more romance to your garden design:

Jeffrey Erb NYC Backyard Planting Design

  1. Keep lighting indirect and in unexpected places. Nothing ruins the mood more than having a beam of light shining directly in your eyes. Use lighting to accent walls, highlight textures of fencing and graze across sculptures. Never underestimate the power of shadows in a garden.
  2. Even in large spaces, find niches or carve out places that feel enclosed. Instead of building a stone patio in the middle of the lawn, add a buffer hedge around it or a small ornamental tree to anchor the corner of the patio. Think about the “floor”, “walls” and “overhead” plane that make up your outdoor patio room. This is a tip from landscape design 101. If you haven’t signed up yet- join my class at the New York Botanical Garden this spring or summer 
  3. Subtle transitions in materials or plant palettes go a long way in creating soft visual effects in the landscape. Bold contrasting colors and patterns may make great content for an editorial photo shoot, but the reality of day to day living calls for design that can stand the test of time. Use color blocking to group like colors together. A neutral background in the garden allows for focal points to be added and edited over time.

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Jeffrey gives a garden quick tip to take your lighting to the next level. Enhance lighting that you already have by adding another level of fixtures. Learn how to add more glow to your garden by placing lights strategically.

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The heat wave makes summer official. Don’t forget to add lighting so you can enjoy your garden at night. I took this shot from one of our recently installed gardens here in midtown Manhattan with a gorgeous view of Worldwide Plaza. Simple uplights highlight the branching of the newly planted trees while wall-mounted fixtures wash over the lounge furniture and create a soft pool of light on the lawn.

Midtown Penthouse Rooftop Garden Glows as the Sun Sets

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On my way to a late meeting Monday evening I stumbled across this tiny plaza located between 6th and 7th avenue and 29th and 30th street. This public space is the result of work by glass artist Tom Patti in collaboration with Lee Weintraub Landscape Architects.

Glass Wall by Tom Patti

The illuminated glass wall runs the entire length of the plaza. During daylight, the glass reflects the colors and natural sunlight and surrounding buildings, while providing enough light at night to make the space useable. Paired with careful placement of flush mounted uplights in the paving, the overall lighting effect is very sexy and alluring.

Glass Wall Detail by Tom Patti

It appears that the Gleditsia triacanthos var. Inermis (Honeylocust) and Fagus sylvatica (European Beech) trees are properly spaced and not clustered which is a typical oversight in a courtyard garden. I found the silhouettes of the branches against the lighting in the glass wall to be the biggest success of this urban garden.

Silhouette of Branches Against Glass Wall


The seating, elevations, and function of the plaza is well designed. My only critique is the jumbo-sized TV screen on the wall near the 29th street side of the park. It completely distracts and takes away from the patterns and visual repetition established by the glass wall.

TV Screen Detracts from the Glass Wall



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