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Night time is perhaps the most enjoyable time to be in and around your water garden.  The cool air combined with soft ambient sounds make for a wonderfully relaxing treat.  But it’s hard to enjoy it at night, if you can’t see it.  And poorly implemented lighting can also make it a bid bland or dull.

On the other hand, properly and tastefully installed lighting can add even more enjoyment to your water garden at night.  There are two main categories of lights to be concerned with when planning to light your water garden:  wet and dry.  Of course that just means the lights in the water and the lights on the land.

For the most part, the dry lights can be set up just like you would with an ordinary garden.  This includes small pedestal lamps along the pathways, subtle spotlights on trees or backlights on fencing or walls behind features.  But there’s also the interaction with water to consider, of course.  The land mounted lights can also be directed at the various water features in your garden to drastically enhance the ambiance of the experience.

Here are a couple examples of this concept:

Reflections can be intentionally created on the surfaces of your ponds by placing garden lighting in just the right location across from the common viewing areas.  It can create a look similar to that of a cityscape reflecting on a lake, river, or bay.  Smaller lights of varying color – subtle colors, not like Christmas lights – can make the scene even more inviting.

Waterfall and fountains can also be enhanced with ground based lighting.  Spot lights mounted in hidden locations pointing only at the above-surface spray of an upward fountain can create a very dazzling effect.  The flow of water down a waterfall can create eye catching effects with a spotlight from just the right angle.

Wet lights

The real fun, though, is in the underwater lighting.  So many interesting things can be done with the lights mounted under the surface, it’s not possible to cover them all here.

One very fun example is the “source-less” light.  This is the effect of seeing the light radiating out in the water from an indeterminable location.  You can see the light, but not the lamp itself.  Only the radiating color from the lamp can be seen.  The lights can be mounted under any ledge around the edge of the ponds, or underwater plants can be used to obscure their locations.

Colored lights can be great underwater.  While you might not want much color variation in your dry lights, it’s much more interesting to use different colors under the water.  You can even try lights that change color slowly over time for a very fascinating look.

But one of my personal favorite ways to light up the water is the fountains.  Similar to the spotlight idea above, but now the lights are pointing up at the point where the water breaks the pond surface to rise into the air.  This can be especially interesting if you have a fountain which shoots water higher into the air.  Combine this idea with color changing lights, and now you’ve got a genuine light show in your water garden.

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