Soft lighting showcased tall flowers and reflected off the calm water of their inground pool.
“Oh, it’s heaven,” Kathi said.
The Schwabs shared their yard during Ken-Ton’s first “Saturday Night Lights” garden walk held July 23. Eighteen gardens participated in the evening walk.
The nighttime event was part of the Ken-Ton Garden Tour, which held a daytime walk on both Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24.
The Schwabs shared many tips for lighting your garden for nighttime viewing.
While many lights created for the garden shine down, such as in the photo below right, don’t forget that you can shine light upward as well, they said. An uplight can provide drama, as in the photo above left.
Halogen lights are the staple lighting in the Schwabs’ yard for several reasons.
First, the light halogen lights provide is stronger than that provided by solar lights. There is also a wider and more interesting selection of styles available in halogen lights, Craig noted.
There are drawbacks to halogen, though. Halogen bulbs use more electricity than LED lights. Also, halogen bulbs burn extra hot. They’re not harmful to plants, Craig said, but you must be careful not to touch them with your bare hands.
Craig has the lights on three different hard-wired systems. As an energy conservation measure, one of the systems is on a timer and shuts off automatically.
While the Schwabs recommend halogen lights, they don’t use them exclusively. They suggest using a mixture of lights. Some of the lights you see reflecting off the Schwabs’ pool are solar lights and flameless candles.
The flameless candle, which you can see at right, is a battery-operated light shaped like a candle that glows with the gentle light of a candle. However, it doesn’t have a flame to spark nearby dry material, and it doesn’t get snuffed out in a breeze or wind.
At left you can see how nighttime lighting changes the look of the Schwabs’ front garden.
This past winter, Kathi visited the Night Lights event at the Buffalo and Erie County Botanical Gardens, which gave her the idea to use colored lights. When she had difficulty getting theater gels, she decided to try using colored cellophane, the kind of material you can use for gift baskets.
She bought some in a craft store and cut it into small pieces. Using just a rubberband, they secured several sheets over an LED light. Note that you can’t use this technique on halogen lights because the cellophane will melt.
The Schwabs were pleased with the result. The cellophane softens the light while adding a tinge of color, Craig said.
The raspberry color works best, Kathi said.
If you missed the Ken-Ton Saturday Night Lights, you can still catch a nighttime garden walk. On Aug. 6, the Starry Night Garden Tour will be back as part of the Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens.