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Excerpts from the article Light The Night in Ponds Magazine Fall 2008

Transform your nighttime pond with these bright ideas
by Somyr Perry

As Americans spend longer hours at work to pay bills, many people find fewer opportunities to see their homes or yards until after dark, said Scott Cohen of Los Angeles based landscape design and construction firm The Green Scene. Culturally, we work more hours and get home later," Cohen said. "Lighting allows you to paint the landscape with light -- highlight the positive features of a landscape while leaving less desirable features in the dark."

Product Trends

These lighting suggestions also help showcase ponds, water gardens, or container ponds that may get lost in the dark. "I look to different types of lighting to create

Brandt pond at night
effective, soft ambient light that accent features of the structure," Cohen said. "Spotlights are very economical for trees and structures, and inexpensive egg lights work great for fountains and water features. With ponds (however) I light to use a light fixture that creates a glowing effect rather than a spotlight. I am a big fan of ambient lighting where you don't see the fixtures."
One way to achieve soft glowing light in a water feature is by using submersible lights. Cohen said the movement of the light through the water can be relaxing. He also said people without a large body of water still have options for creating that moving water look with a product new to the market. "The Ripple Light (made by the Ripple Lighting Co.) is a low-voltage light with a Petri-type lens that has water in it and replicates the light moving through water," Cohen said. The light can be mounted against a all or underneath trees for the special effect.

Homeowners want a distinctive look in their outdoor lighting as well as energy efficiency. There is greater demand for energy-saving bulbs, Cohen said, which manufacturers are stepping up to provide. "LED (light emission diode) bulbs are brighter, come in more colors, and consume less energy than ever before," he said.

Fire and Light

"Fire features (for patios) are rapidly growing in popularity for the warmth and the lighting," Cohen said. The light from the fire is absolutely mesmerizing, and the subtle dancing of the flames forces you to relax." Built-in fireplaces, stand-alone fire pits and chimeneas represent just a few options for adding fire lighting to a backyard. There are fire features for every budget, Cohen said, and built in fire pits with a remote control are very popular among his high end clients, as are firepits featuring crushed recycled glass instead of traditional lava rocks.

Cohen said safety is of high concern when installing a fire feature. "From a safety standpoint, I like to see

Shulem Pond and Fire Pit

nonmetal fire pits," he said, because metal tends to get very hot. Cohen also recommended considering prevailing winds when designing a fire feature. Prevailing winds show the most common direction that wind blows through an area. Wind can move the fire in different directions and cause problems for surrounding foliage or even people walking by the fire.

Preparing For Autumn

Fall is the best time to install landscape lighting, Cohen said. He suggested getting design ideas from design websites such as Fetch-A-Sketch.com and WaterfallsAndPondsOnline.com. They both feature ready to use design ideas that visitors may browse for free. "Find two or three designs that you like, and you can Email them to your contractor to get estimates," he said, "or you can just build it yourself".

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