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Ideas for Nighttime Gardens

Let’s face it; summers can be hot. Very hot. Depending on where you live, the sweltering heat can make it nearly impossible to enjoy working in the garden for weeks on end. It’s much more comfortable to be outside in the late afternoon or early evening after it cools down. In this post, we share some creative ideas that let you enjoy the fruits of your labor after the sun’s gone down. Because nighttime gardens can become magical places!

Did you know there are many plants that put on their best show after dark? And there are lists of these night blooming plants and how to create a moon garden all over the internet. Although those lists include many great choices, I’m not going to include the same old lists of night bloomers. Not only because it’s already been done, but there are gardeners from all over the United States and the world that read articles on Gingham Gardens and those lists might not even apply to many.

Rather, I want you to take an evening stroll through your own gardens and see what takes place. As you stroll, or just sit and take it all in, pay special attention to the sweet scent of all your fragrant flowers. As the sun sets and the temperatures cool down, your flower bed will come alive with the sweet fragrance many flowers emit.

Garden at night with landscape lights

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A huge thank you to all the Gingham Gardens’ readers that shared their nighttime garden photos with me.

Ideas for Making Nighttime Gardens a Fascinating Place

Outdoor spaces are viewed as an extension of the home. In recent years, there’s been a renewed interest in making the yard or garden just as useful at night.

Outdoor Lighting:

Solar lights or sting lights strategically placed can turn a flower garden into an enchanted night garden.

There’s practical lighting for your main area, and then there’s the special effects department. Clever positioning of dimmer accent lights gives the eye a focal point beyond the porch or patio so you’re not staring off into the dark.

Flower garden illuminated at night
Charlene’s Garden in Oregon

Use lights to make your favorite features stand out. Outline a fence, tree or garden shed with warm, white mini lights and your nightscape becomes irresistibly inviting. It will literally draw you outside as if into another world. Next, consider firefly light stakes that can be used along garden paths, in pots and planters, or really anywhere in your gardens to add some whimsy. These soft outdoor luminaries are soothing and create a peaceful ambiance.

LEDS use very little energy and technology has really improved for solar lighting. You’ll find so many imaginative types of lighting on the market that there’s more reason now than ever to just go for it! For more solar lighting ideas, check out this post.

Lighted girl statue in a nighttime garden

The sweet little garden girl solar statute can be purchase here.

Make your Outdoor Spaces Comfortable for Evening Enjoyment

To enjoy your garden at night, give some attention to seating areas. In late summer and early fall when the evenings get chilly, you’re more apt to spend evenings in the garden if it’s warm and comfortable for you and your guests. A patio heater or chiminea is just the ticket to keep the chill off and to create a cozy atmosphere.

Garden sitting area at night
Terry’s Minnesota Garden

If you have a little pavilion or gazebo in your garden, turn it into an intimate spot for entertaining. Line the pathway with lamps or lanterns and it instantly becomes a charming nighttime destination. 

Light a few citronella candles or tiki torches to add to the ambiance and to keep mosquitoes away.

After a long day, the stillness of the evening makes the garden the perfect place to unwind with a book, meditation or personal quiet time.

Need some great ideas for creating your own garden room, check out the post when you finish here.

A garden in the evening
Charlene’s garden in Oregon.

Outdoor speakers: A little too quiet? If you like to relax with soft jazz or classical guitar, pipe in a little mood music with outdoor speakers. Speakers can hide behind planters or other nooks around the porch or patio. Some speakers are even disguised as flickering lanterns or tiki torches! Forget those wires and extension cords of the past. Bluetooth paired with your tablet or phone, and you’re all set. 

Fountains and Pools: If you’re refreshed by the gurgle of your pond, pool or fountain during the day, have you ever turned it on at night? It may surprise you that the effect is quite different. When you’re not hustling and bustling about in the garden, the sound of water in the background can make you drift away to your favorite camping spot or exotic island. Instead of putting your fountain to bed, let it be part of the nighttime garden experience. If you don’t have a water feature in your garden, or a little water fountain on your deck or patio, consider adding one.

Fountain in a nighttime garden
Becky’s South Carolina Garden at Night

White Flowers in Nighttime Gardens

In my gardens, I notice white flowers the most at nighttime. Many gardeners dedicate space in their landscape to complete white gardens. And, while I tend to enjoy lots of color in my flower beds, white flowers are always a good choice for daytime gardens too. However, they tend to really shine in nighttime gardens and fragrant white flowers are even better. Speaking of fragrant blooms, have you ever noticed that flowers smell better in the cool night air. We have an entire article dedicated to fragrant perennial plants.

  • Moon flower (Ipomoea alba) is related to the morning glory vine, but instead of opening in the morning, it opens at night. The large white flowers are a stunning site in the evenings.
Moonflowers in Susanna’s Ohio garden
  • Angel’s trumpet (Datura innoxia) is also referred to as a moonflower. Datura is very easy to grow from seed and the big trumpet shaped, night-blooming flowers are simply gorgeous.
  • Tall garden phlox are very fragrant plants, but the varieties with white fragrant flowers (like David) are an excellent choice for a night-time garden.
  • Casa Blanca oriental lilies with their big white blooms always draw me in and I think a cool evening is the best time to enjoy their intense fragrance.
  • There are many varieties of dayliles that have blooms extending into the evening. The ones with white flowers are my favorites and are really a standout in a nighttime garden. 
  • Don’t forget about small flowers, like the tiny white blossoms and sweet smell of alyssum.
  • During the day this beautiful Pee Gee Hydrangea is a pollinator haven, but when the sun goes down, she is the queen of the night. If I was a pollinator, this is where I would sleep and I’ll bet many do.

Hydrangea in a nighttime garden

Another neat thing about hanging out in your gardens at night, is that you don’t notice the imperfections. You won’t notice flowers that need to be deadheaded and you won’t notice weeds that didn’t get pulled. It’s 100% about relaxing and unwinding after a long day.

Another Idea for Night Gardening

Have you ever worked into the night in your gardens. Years ago when dinner was done and the children were in bed, I would get a second wind and head out to the gardens. It was an amazing place to unwind from the cares of the day. A Gingham Gardens reader, Joeleen from Tennessee, sent a picture of her vegetable garden at night. This is so dreamy! Can you see yourself shelling peas, or snapping green beans at the picnic table.

Garden at night with lights

Re-thinking Your Gardens At Night

Have you noticed the way trees cast a shadow in the light of the moon? If you listen, maybe there’s a chorus of frogs and crickets. If you look, the dance of fireflies under a canopy of stars. There’s something special about the garden at night. So why not make it a bit more interesting to visit?

Some creative lighting, a cozy seating area, and maybe even a little night music may be just the change you’re looking for. After all, you’ve spent a lot of time and effort on your garden. The heat drives you indoors, but you may find yourself enjoying your garden MORE at night!

Joyce from Washington sent the picture below in of her garden during the winter. This is the view from her window.

Garden in the winter
Joyce’s garden in winter.

Thanks for stopping by Gingham Gardens today. I hope you’ve enjoyed our ideas for nighttime gardens and you’re ready to implement some to make your gardens a place you will want to spend time in the evenings. A huge thanks to the Gingham Gardens’ readers that provided the photographs for this post.

Happy gardening,

p.s. Feel free to save the pictures throughout the post and the pins below to your favorite gardening board on Pinterest to remind you of the post later. If you hover in the upper left-hand corner of the picture, you’ll see the little Pinterest icon. Just click it and pin away. There are more pins to share below.

p.p.s I’d love to have you follow Gingham Gardens on Pinterest. Lots of great gardening ideas and tons of eye candy for gardeners. Gingham Gardens is also on Facebook.

Pins to Save to Your Favorite Gardening Board:

Image of a flower garden at night with text overlay - Rethink Your Flower Gardens at Night

Garden at Night with solar lighting with text overlay - rethink your flower gardens at night





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