Lighted Rings For Winter Pots

The centerpiece for a winter container will be all the better with the addition of light. After all, we have 12 hours of darkness this time of year. Nothing warms the winter landscape like lights glowing. Years ago it was a source of endless frustration, trying to arrange and suspend incandescent light strings in the air-so as to illuminate a twig based centerpiece. LED lighting devices are readily available now, making the job of getting winter containers to glow an easier one. Many of them so faithfully mimic a natural twig that they are invisible during the day. But no device is as beautiful, sculptural, effective, and simple as Rob’s light rings. A steel circle welded from steel channel is wound round with LED light strands that are attached every few inches with small zip ties. The rings have a base with 4 prongs that can be inserted into the soil of a container, or in the ground. The winter container pictured above was done by a good client of ours, whom we loosely coached on the finer points of our method of winter container construction. It did not take much time for him to grasp it all and run with it. This 54″ diameter bowl is home to a 5′ diameter light ring. The effect, even during the day, is spectacular. A light ring of this size needs additional ballast in the form of steel rebar, which is pounded down in to the soil, and attached to the light ring armature with concrete wire.
This picture reveals the look of the light ring from the side. We frequently make a separate foam form for the light ring, which will sit on top of the form that holds the greens. This makes for an easy installation of the light ring. Barely visible at the bottom is the triangular steel armature for the ring. This form is incredibly strong and stable.

This particular construction features ball shaped lights attached to white faux branches. As the container has white faux berry stems, the lighted sticks are readily disguised. Making the lights in a container as invisible as possible during the day is a mark of thoughtful construction. Once this container is installed, no one will see the cords, transformers and electrical strips. What will shine the brightest is that all over glow.

The light ring is first and foremost a circle. That geometric form has no end of symbolic meanings, many of which have significance to gardeners. The lighted ring is a symbol of hope to me-the hope for the light at the end of the long tunnel coming up called winter. And the banishment of the winter dark. If none of those descriptions prove to be appealing to you, there is also the simple beauty of the form, and how it can organize and add visual and emotional heft to a winter pot. I am personally fond of an arrangement that keeps the complete circle visually intact. We either cut the greens below the lights on the ring, or install short pieces.

When Birdie adds greens to an arrangement, she is always watching the effect of her placement, and not her hands. This is a difficult concept to put in words.  The hand will find the spot to insert a stem when the eye finds the spot where the stem should be.  It takes imagination and confidence to work like this. The dry floral foam is very forgiving of a placement that needs to be changed or tuned up.

Though the twigs, picks light sticks look wonderfully chaotic, the process of assembling them so all the elements are evenly and brightly lit asks for a focused hand.

I can tell by the relaxed look on Birdie’s face that she is about to sign off on this pair of arrangements.

They look fiery in the shop.  They will light the front door and portico of our client’s house in a dramatic and welcoming fashion.

The finished winter box has a sculptural presence, even during the day. It is evident in this picture that all of the lights in the ring will be clearly visible at night. Tougher to spot are the lighted white stems integrated into the dogwood branches.  They will help to illuminate those branches at night.

pair of lighted pots

Snow flurries and a garland finishes the winter warm up.

See what I mean?


  1. Lindsay Maxwell says

    Stunning creations!!

  2. More of your beautiful work and many thanks for it.

  3. That last photo is just stunning!

  4. I absolutely love the lighted rings. They are stunning! I’ve admired and coveted them for several years. Sadly out of my price range but maybe one day 🤞🏻

  5. Simply lovely!

  6. Beautiful!!

  7. Spectacular!

  8. Sharon West says

    What a treat to find your post this morning! How beautiful. I have been intrigued by your work for a few years. Thank you for sharing the thought, design thinking, artistry.

  9. Simply elegant and stunning!

  10. Thanks for sharing your work, as well as the theory, engineering and artistry that goes into it. These landscape sculptures are world class!!!!!

  11. So happy always to read your entries and view your spectacular work! Thank you Deborah and team!

  12. Gorgeous arrangements. Love the new colour of lights. These arrangements are truly outstanding and the creative talent of Rob coming up with such a light ring and creative ideas speaks of the artist he has become. So good to see.

    When I see your emails, I smile for I know that I will be wowed. You and your team provide an excellent service that goes far beyond what anyone else in your field creates! Keep it up. Merry Christmas to you and your team.

  13. Just stunning – the last photo is especially moving, as if a lunar eclipse were occurring right behind the arrangement.
    Those lighted rings are fabulous.
    You have a great team and vision for how to create a little magic – unmatched!

  14. Joni Holinger says

    I keep trying to be you, but mine are never as magnificent looking. Sigh. I purchased Vapor Guard and wonder what portions you dilute it to? 1 VP to 20 water? Thank you!

  15. Fantastic!!! You Inspire and Push me to make lighting a priority at my house as well!!

    Your gentle energy has helped me to evolve in landscape design and be willing to always be moving forward to find better and more dramatic changes for my outside spaces!! Thank you

    !! Because of you-I created a wonderful vignette in the back of my house-which is where I spend my time! I would have never thought it was important to spend money and energy on this part of my property-and now I get to enjoy it every day! We have timers on our outdoor lights (as you have suggested!) and we “light up the night!” As you have said!!

  16. Absolutely stunning, your creations are remarkable. I just love waiting to see your next work of art!

  17. Sandra Cupp says

    These are incredible!

  18. Marguerite says

    Art is all about the human response to a work. This is brilliant sculpture in every way….. incorporating natural elements, light, and form. Exquisite.

  19. M A Jaworski Landscape Design says

    OMG – nothing quite like it!

  20. Karen Lewis says


  21. Purchased a light ring from your shop several years ago. Love it! I use it all year round and get lots of compliments! On these dreary days it is delightful to approach my home and see this light ring glowing!

  22. Amy L West says

    Wow! I always look forward to the photos! Stunning! Thank you!

  23. Deborah, it is only because of this blog and visiting Detroit Garden Works that I have learned to think about garden design- lighting in the garden, and especially winter pots and lighting. You have upped my game indeed. You give us the materials, the concepts and engineering knowledge to take a swing ourselves- thank you and Rob for all of this!

  24. Scrolling through your post, reading your generous, gracious comments about your clients and team (you are always SO good to give credit to others), and then the last picture appeared. I literally gasped out loud. The work AND the photo, both s!unning!
    Thank you for all this inspiration, instruction and beauty.
    Happiest of holidays to you and your entire crew!

  25. Deborah,
    You inspire me beyond anything I could ever imagine. I have tried a much smaller version of your ring this year for some of my clients and it is quite impressive, thanks to your amazing inspiration. I put one at my back door so that when I come home after a long day of planting I am rewarded by that ring of fire lights. It is so very welcoming during this cold dark winter but it makes me smile every time! Thank you, I am so happy that you share your wonderful talent with us dedicated followers!
    Happy Holidays to you and your amazingly talented staff!

  26. Deborah Gallagher says

    Absolutely stunning. Very well done!!! Have a very Merry Christmas.

  27. Love these! Really going try to create something. I got everything needed from your place. I forgot to ask if there are lights in the evergreens section. I got the lighted twigs but looks like additional lights in the evergreens?

  28. Your creations are always so inspiring… this year my husband paid homage with a DIY version of your arrangement: hula hoop + water shoots from our Japanese plum covered with lights + Christmas balls nestled into a wreath of noble fir cuttings leftover from the tree lot of our local home improvement stored + more lights…very beautiful. Let me know where I can send you a photo. It was a fun, if time intensive project. Thanks, as always, for your ideas.

  29. Beautiful. Gorgeous display.

  30. Stunning, Inspiring. Beyond superlatives. Congratulations, Deborah!

    Somehow or other I lost track of your web/work, but so glad I located your current web postings.
    Over the years in my desert environs, I’ve tried to mimic some inspired faux versions of your designs – the low humidity and water scarcity dictate a determined attempt at best with available materials. But now that we’ve had a good monsoon and water to spare this season, I’m finding my physical energy cannot meet the planting expectations that the work requires. No matter. I’m so inspired by the wonderful photos of the installations. Thank you for sharing. You have inspired me through a lot of stages of life. I’m so grateful.

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