With evenings warming up and the days becoming longer, we develop a more outdoor living habit.
We bring our food and beverages out, and sometimes even move our sleeping area outside.article continues below
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At this time of year, we enjoy every day getting a bit longer, but in just a few short weeks that will reverse, and the warm summer nights come earlier, slowly creeping back to more darkness than light.
For the birds, the extra long days at this latitude give a big advantage for hunting insects to feed their young. However, birds need their sleep too.
Lately, I have been hearing birds singing after dark near the new super bright blue tone street lamp on the corner. When it first appeared it was shockingly bright, but I have gradually gotten used to it. The birds, not so much.
I have noticed that in areas that are brightly lit I often hear nighttime bird song. There is a movement called Dark Sky, which is dedicated to education about more environmentally friendly lighting to help reduce the glow in the sky.
This glow over cities does all sorts of damage, it can throw migratory birds off their course, excess night light attracts insects, who then become exhausted from flying around the light, and often end up dead on the sidewalk.
We need darkness to maintain normal melatonin production and regulate our circadian rhythms. Animals and plants also need darkness.
The rhythm of light and dark is built into all life on Earth.
In the garden, the best lighting is subtle, and selective. If you are planning to install garden lighting, look for lighting fixtures with hoods or shields that force the light downward. Lights that send unwanted light skywards shine in our eyes and can be dangerous as the eyes try to adjust to darker areas.
Twelve-volt LED lighting is readily available and easy to install, but unfortunately LED lights are cool spectrum rather than warm.
Pink-orange tones are easier on nocturnal animals and produce less sky glow than cool tones. Hopefully manufacturers will catch on to this and eventually change things.
The transformers can be photosensitive or timed, I like the photosensitive type, I find that in our northern latitudes timers need changing several times a year, and I usually don’t have the time to mess around with them.
You can play around with different effects, wall washing with downward lighting has become popular, especially for walls with interesting texture, and rather than up-lighting trees with spotlights, the “dark sky” friendly option is “moonlighting” hanging lights from above and casting light and shadows downward.
If you decide to light up your garden life, check out the International Dark Sky Association website before you start.
Heather Schamehorn is a certified residential landscape designer, educator, sustainability advocate and acupressure therapist. Contact via perennialpleasures.ca
Source : http://www.nsnews.com/lifestyle/home-garden/design-in-nature-subtle-lighting-works-best-in-the-garden-1.23306308