Lighting adds ambiance to Moroccan-themed garden in Tonawanda

lantern with Moroccan theme in Tonawanda NY
A white plastic lantern was decorated to look like stained glass. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko
fabric canopy at night in Tonawanda NY
Lush fabrics give the gazebo an exotic flavor. by Connie Oswald Stofko

by Connie Oswald Stofko

Great lighting set the mood for a Moroccan-themed garden during the nighttime garden walk of the Ken-Ton Garden Tour held this past weekend. The event also included a daytime garden walk.

Richard Levy of 122 Pickford Ave., Tonawanda, chose a Morrocan theme because his father’s family is from that part of the world. His grandparents were born in Istanbul.

At left, a gazebo was draped with rich-looking colorful fabrics. He looked at 100 or 200 photos on Pinterest to get ideas for that tent.

Levy uses creativity to add interest to the gardens. The lantern above isn’t stained glass; it was white plastic that he painted to give it that ornate look.

“Almost everything is a cast off,” he said.

He took a junky door that he found by the side of the road, painted it and added carvings to give it a Turkish feel. It breaks up the blankness of his garage wall and provides a backdrop for his plants.

Levy started added lighting to his garden so that he could display it on Ken-Ton’s nighttime garden walk. He realized that in the first few years he was too timid with the lighting. He had accent lights, but the garden just wasn’t bright enough.

“You need to light up the background,” he said. He uses floodlights to do that.

Morrocan themed garden in Tonawanda NY
A wooden door is set against the garage as an art piece. It is decorated to give the garden a Turkish feeling. The blue light set on the column in the foreground is a vase filled with a string of battery-operated lights. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

Tip: Levy suggests placing plants in front of the flood lights so visitors don’t notice the flood lights and so they’re not blinded by the glare.



uplight floodlight in Tonawanda NY garden
A flood light is hidden by plants, but brightens up the garden. The planter here is an old wash tub. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

Levy is experimenting with different stones in his gardens. He uses polished black pebbles in one area and crushed gravel in another for different looks. A strip filled with river rocks gives the impression of a dry stream bed.

dry stream bed path in Tonawanda NY
River rocks give the impression of a dry stream bed. Note the graceful lines of the garden. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko


Levy teaches adult education and encourages gardeners to be brave and just try new things in their garden, even if not everything turns out the way you might like them to.

“People struggle with aggressively trying new things,” Levy said. “I’m not afraid to try things. The way to learn is by doing.”

Upcoming garden walks:

Garden Walk Buffalo 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 26 and 27

Black Rock & Riverside Tour of Gardens on Saturday, August 2 from 10 a.m.-4:30 p.m. for the daytime walk and  8-10 p.m. for the Starry Night Garden Tour

pond at night in Tonawanda NY
Gentle lighting accents the pond. Photo by Connie Oswald Stofko

5 Comments on “Lighting adds ambiance to Moroccan-themed garden in Tonawanda

  1. Thanks, Jim. Nighttime garden shots are in an entirely different category from daytime garden shots. Nighttime shots can be very beautiful, but I think they tend to be less representative of the actual garden.

  2. Thanks so much, Donna. That was really hard to shoot. There’s a lot of detail in the door that you can’t see.

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