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Special Issue 2010


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GARDENING

Night Vision
by Alejandro Saralegui

IT'S TIME TO WAKE UP AND RETHINK
YOUR LIGHTING PLAN: TONE IT DOWN
AND ENJOY THE NIGHT

Click on any photo below for a larger view.

Even when the moon's not out, don't miss the opportunity to illuminate the garden. As with most things, the French have it right: Paris, the City of Light, is beautifully lit in the evening, from mostly invisible sources of light. Take a cue and soften the harsh glare—you want a glimmer, not Klieg lights.

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Bring whimsy and ambient light into the garden with an outdoor standing lamp, such as this one employed beautifully by Southampton-based lighting-design guru Greg Yale.

"The key to successful outdoor lighting," explains Bridgehampton-based architect Kathrine McCoy, "is adjusting the fixtures and bulbs at nighttime until you get the desired effect." It might be just a change in wattage or a sudden realization that those solar path lights make your driveway look like Runway One at LaGuardia.

You can highlight a tree or a garden urn by simply setting a spotlight in the ground or installing a more intricate, subtler arrangement of fixtures in trees or nearby structures. When lighting a path or a drive, consider diffusing light across them, rather than subjecting them to harsh spotlights. Above all, don't contribute to night pollution: Our brilliant night skies are important aesthetically and environmentally.


Visit darksky.org for more information on preserving our nighttime sky.
 

A FEW GREAT PLANTS FOR FRONT-DOOR POTS:

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Based in Niantic, Conn., CL Sterling & Son created these outdoor pendant lights that can be used singly over a dining table or in multiples, as in this Parisian courtyard.

 

With the lights on, your house acts like a lantern of sorts. This screened porch by Platt Dana Architects emanates a soft glow, reducing the need for outdoor lighting.

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Jozeph Forakis designed this sculptural Havana lamp for Foscarini. Part of the permanent design collection of MoMA, it's a brilliant beacon for the garden.

 

An antique gaslit fixture inspired this Urban Electric Co. hurricane that illuminates a front door in Sag Harbor—it's all that's needed against the façade.

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