I have recently been given God’s most precious gift to me: our first child, a beautiful daughter, Olivia. Over the years, God has stretched my heart to experience deep love, joy and intimacy with my wife. Then, with the birth of Olivia, suddenly the centre of my universe became ‘+1’. Totally, completely, unreservedly, without question.
As a new father, I find it incredibly humbling to think that God sent His only beloved Son to die on the cross like a common criminal, and to rise again to life, so that we could be part of His family.
As we reflect on the Light of the world this Easter, I would like to tell you how to make full use of the light in your garden. Even the smallest outdoor space can have a feel of airy, peaceful solitude.
Adding a large mirror to a small room can create the illusion of space by reflecting the light available. The same principle applies to gardens. You will be pleasantly surprised how incorporating a small round ball, a wall hanging or a bespoke piece of glass artwork hung from a tree can ‘lift’ a garden.
In addition, prisms are a great choice for adding a touch of magic to your garden. By splitting up the light spectrum, they can project rainbows and sparkle with sudden glimmers of light. As the sun moves across the sky, the prism will randomly illuminate areas of your garden, really bringing it to life.
You might also want to try stained glass to enjoy colour in your garden all year round, or sun catchers, which, whether made of glass or crystal, can look very elegant.
Tasteful and subtle garden lighting can create a beautiful effect in areas where there is no interference from street lights. Low wattage white light, hidden in the mid-level branches of trees, creates the effect of moonlight. This is very effective where branches overhang paths. Solar lights – whether strung along fences, over foliage or dotted around with stakes – can create a magical ambience during late evening.
Whether you have a south- or north-facing garden, it is a good idea to focus attention on areas that capture light naturally. For example, if you have a sunny spot at the end of the garden, ‘frame’ it with clever use of planting or with a garden structure – perhaps a trained Clematis climber, a string of solar lights or even a rustic wooden arch.
An overgrown garden will cast shadows and hide areas of light, so good garden maintenance is essential to ensure that light is maximised. Always keep a pair of secateurs handy, as a good dose of sunshine and a summer shower can give weeds and bushes an instant growth spurt! In particular, lifting the lower branches of certain trees to create visual space through specific transition areas is one of my favourite tried-and-tested methods.
I hope this has been helpful and has inspired you to, quite literally, look at your garden in a different light. If you would like help in planning your new outdoor space, please do get in touch with me (www.jasonloh.co.uk).
The choice of plants in your garden may reveal your own particular tastes. Granted, the main priority should be to select a plant suited to its location. However, your decision might also be determined by colour preference, ease of growing or alluring scents.
Certain plants have the ability to capture light and create a stunning and surprising visual display when the light hits them. Plants with umbel flower heads, eg. Filipendula Rubra ‘Venusta’ (often likened to candy floss) and Allium Giganteum ‘Ornamental Onion’ (which have cerise star shaped flower heads) are incredibly striking.
There is something intensely spiritual about the sound and look of water in a garden; it can provide an instant feeling of calm on an otherwise stressful day. The reflective qualities of the water’s surface can also do wonders for capturing light. There are many different water displays you can incorporate into your outside space, depending on your own taste and style.
If you have a large minimalist garden, a steel-edged waterfall in contemporary styling can cast an interesting ripple-effect when sunlight passes through and bounces back onto the wall behind. If you have a more modest garden, a small pond or fountain can open up the space. Even a simple birdbath can bring in extra light and give our winged friends somewhere to cool down.