There are a number of key elements for lighting a garden successfully that are simple but not random. Nothing magical will happen by placing a couple of lamps in some bushes or floodlighting your lawn to resemble a football stadium! Some of the best results come from lighting specific trees and structures, backlighting plants or throwing silhouetted light onto a wall.
Accent lighting may be added to create features and effects. A tree is simple to light, requiring a single, powerful uplighter to instantly transform it into the focal point of a garden. By focusing light onto a solitary object such as a plant, using a spotlight, a theatrical effect can be achieved which is far more dramatic than a general light source. Spiked garden uplighters are ideal for this purpose and may be easily moved and repositioned to focus on specific areas. Any water feature, whether a pond or swimming pool, deserves to be well lit and the best way is from underneath using specially designed waterproof fittings.
A soft wash over a garden wall from a directional flood is very effective or create a sense of greater depth by using a decorative mirror to bounce light back into the garden. A fully recessed, buried spotlight for concealed lighting of trees or hedges can be scattered with leaves to give a broken effect similar to a stained glass window.
Always try to match the style of light to that of the house itself— white fittings give a Mediterranean feel whilst a Victorian style can be created using black lanterns and lamp posts. Exterior lighting may seem more of a luxury than a priority but a well lit garden can become an extension to the house itself and is often well worth the initial effort.