A View of My Garden in a Mirror 2010

Friday, December 31, 2010

#4 of 10 Things I Love in No Particular Order


You may be thinking lighting? That's odd. Of course we all like lighting, but do we love it? We certainly need it in our lives to perform tasks, light a room, to read and for security . We may even take it for granted until the power goes out.  The type of lights that I love are not just to light an area, it's the type of light that transforms an area. Here are some examples:

Landscape and Patio Lighting: Instead of just flood lights for security it is using light to create an ambient environment. Yard and patio areas become three dimensional at night by highlighting walls, plants, water features, and outdoor dining areas. Using string lights creates charm and adds a festive atmosphere. All these lights together make me feel like I am on vacation without going anywhere but home. This is the kind of lighting I love!

Dining Room Lighting: The typical dining fixture that points down at the table can be harsh on the eyes, but we still want to be able to see what we are eating so it is the most practical. A nice environment to entertain is having lighting that is layered and on dimmers. Wall sconces or floor lamps work well to create dimension. Picture and artwork lighting adds to the ambiance and makes you feel like you have a private room in a nice restaurant. I want our guests to sit back enjoy the food, wine, have great discussions and enjoy their surroundings in a comfortable environment. Placing the lights in layers opens up the room so you don't have to rely on one center dining fixture for all of the light. Do you ever notice when you go to a restaurant if the lighting is harsh you probably don't linger long after dinner? But if there is great ambiance and lighting it is more of an experience than just eating your food and leaving. So you slowly enjoy your meal and linger and take it all in. I love that kind of lighitng!

Light Fixtures or Art?
I love architectural lighting that doubles as artwork. Like a giant stained glass pendant in the lobby of a hotel. Or the massive crystal chandeliers that lights a concert hall or department store.  Then there is the type of lighting that highlights architectural features on a building. Most people don't even notice this type of lighting, but we certainly would notice if it wasn't there and probably consider the building not very inviting. Two years ago a new convenience store was built in my neighborhood and I drive by it often. What? Convenience store lighting? What's to love about that! Well, the side of the building has a dark brick wall with several wall lights that create a wonderful pattern of light up and down the building at night. I admit I have never been in the store, but I do appreciate the way the lighting makes it look classy in the neighborhood instead of an eyesore with harsh lighting. That is the kind of lighting I love and appreciate.

I admit I am more obsessed with lighting than your average person. We have dimmers on every single light in our house except the garage and closets. Even the bathrooms have dimmers. I would like to say it is because we are trying to save energy, but it is mostly because when I get up at 5:30 in the morning I don't like 100 watt light bulbs glaring at me. I want to ease into the day, so why not? The energy savings is just an added bonus.

Lighting is very difficult to photograph, but here are a few images I will share since most of us are very visual.

This is a picture from Butchart Gardens last summer. The area light in front is nice, but the uplight on the rock in the background gives it a wonderful layered look. I love that!

 This is also at Butchart Gardens. 
They placed a red uplight on a japanese maple. 
It looked amazing like it was on fire. 
The picture does not do it justice but you get the idea.

If you look close you can make out the lights on each side of the window and behind the two trellises on the wall with the wisteria. I have the uplights grazing the walls and giving back lighting to the plants in our front flower bed area. 
My favorite part is that this window is in the dining room and at night it has the feeling of extending the room outside. See the picture below.

 Here is our dining room at night. 
It is a little hard to see, but if you look close you can see the landscape lights outside the window giving the small room a feeling of being larger.

Happy New Year Everyone!
Spring is getting closer! Yippee!!


  1. Beautiful as always, Annie - your home and garden are an inspiration, as are you!

    I only viewed Grace's blog posting on your garden for the first tme, yesterday - you really are so talented and have such an amazing feel for colour and harmonising it all so wonderfully. I absolutely love what you do!

  2. Hi Annie, Your home is so cheery and bright! I love it! I'm in total agreement with you about lighting...my husband teases me because I'm always going around and turning on little lamps to create a nice mood. I would much rather have 4 lamps on than one overhead light fixture! Your posts are fun! Keep going!

  3. You've got me so much more interested in lighting, Annie. I've found small lights and lamps at garage sales and thrift stores all since meeting you. I love how we can play off each other's talents--at least I'm playing off yours!