Landscape Design: Natural Light

Cover image for blog post Natural Light in Landscape design from Havenscapes OKIt’s hard to beat Mother Nature when it comes to beautiful light, and a great landscape design should make the most of the natural light available in your space. From fine art to photography, great light has been a hallmark of masterpieces throughout the ages.The same is true of your outdoor space.


The easiest way to capitalize on natural light is to install a water feature. The movement of the water will catch the light, and sparkling droplets can cast a rainbow in your back yard. Still water sits like a mirror, reflecting the sun and sky. Like a mirror indoors, this can make even the smallest space feel expansive.  In the golden hour – those moment just before the sun dips below the horizon, the light on your water feature can make your yard feel like it’s been washed in liquid gold.


Sitting under a pergola in strong sunlight, the strong lines of shadow become a powerful graphical element in your landscape. When those straight lines cross over the curving lines of outdoor living space, the contrast is even more apparent.

A pergola gives your outdoor living areas a modicum of shade from the hot sun, while adding visual interest and intrigue in its shadow. The movement of the sun across the sky changes the shape and size of those shadows, providing a different look throughout the day.


Small trees, large shrubs, and interestingly-shaped flowers can all cast shadows on the structures around them, providing visual interest beyond their own form. Plant uniquely-shaped trees close enough to your house that their shadow lands on a wall.

Larger trees offer a different kind of interplay with the light. Sitting in a sun-dappled patch of grass is a joy as the wind moves the tree branches, shifting the light that falls to the ground.

Landscape lighting can be tricky. You want to show off your home’s best features while accentuating the beauty of your landscape in the falling light. But maximizing the natural light at your home means you can have two completely different experiences with your landscape – with and without the sun.