While the garden is naturally beautiful in the daytime, this outdoor space can be somewhat wasted at night. And the shadowy corners and hidden dark areas are not great for your home security. What you need are some outdoor lights. Illuminating your garden will enhance your security as well as help turn your outdoor space into a night-time paradise – ideal for the summer months.
Not sure where to start? Check out this quick guide to the different lighting options you have for your garden, what you need to consider when you are installing outdoor lights, and how to make the most of your outdoor space with clever lighting placement.
Key Factors Affecting Garden Lighting Design
The overall size of the outdoor space will affect the number of lights you can install and where you can put them. Yet even with a large garden you will probably need fewer lights than you initially think. Carefully planning and putting the right lighting in the right places can maximise the use of lights in even a very large space. After all, you don’t want to spend a fortune on electricity.
Also look out for the features that already exist in your garden. These may be water features, ponds, patios, statues, walkways, or buildings. It is a nice idea to highlight these kinds of features as it helps to draw the overall design of the garden together. It is a good idea to test how lights in different places make the garden come alive. You can do this if you have a long extension cord and a light by taking this around the garden at night and experimenting with different effects. In addition, your budget will automatically affect the type of lighting you can put into your garden.
Clever Lighting Ideas for a Beautiful Outdoor Space
There are many ways to use lighting to enhance your garden, whether you space is large or small. Take a look at the following ideas:
Lighting Your Pathways and Driveways
This is ideal for enhancing security and your comfort as well as providing a nice aesthetic appeal to these areas of the garden. The perfect lights for this purpose are bollards or spread lights that reduce glare, which is essential if you are driving or walking along the path. If you want the lights to come on when you arrive home, or illuminate when someone walks along the path, you can set a sensor. This helps to minimise electricity spend as well as provides a good security measure for the outside of your property.
Highlighting Features with Shadows
This works well when you have a statue or another object with a well-defined shape. By using led flood lights or spotlights you point the light upwards towards the object and the shadow from the object is projected onto the backdrop. You get the shadow effect as well as highlighting the object itself.
Effective Lighting for Water Features
A water feature looks great in the day but is wasted at night. Make the most of these features with specialist lights that can actually be placed under the water to illuminate upwards and provide an atmospheric glow across the garden. Or aim beams of light across the surface of the water. This creates an interesting effect. Statues or waterfalls within a pond can also be individually highlighted with lights.
You don’t want to waste the effect of a stunning plant at night-time. Use ground and spike lights that can easily be hidden among the plants but will provide a glow across the plant and help focus attention on an area of the garden of which you are particularly proud.
Outside Lighting for a Deck or Patio
It is perfect when you are able to entertain outdoors in the summer, or simply enjoy your garden on a warm summer night. You definitely need lights in the deck area in order to provide ambience and also to give you the illumination you need for eating or sitting with guests. These led decking lights can be built into the decking or you can use outdoor downlights on posts around the decking area to illuminate at a higher level. LED decking lights are particularly useful as they do not give off much heat, making them safe to use even at low levels.
Lighting Steps and Small Walls
You can easily recess small lights into steps or install outdoor wall lights on small walls as a safety feature and also to illuminate the steps for greater beauty in the garden. By lighting the walls surrounding a property you are marking the boundary so it is easily seen at night.
Decorative Garden Hanging Lights
Some people like to use traditional-style lanterns, hung from trees and pergolas, in the garden to create a romantic ambience. Use candles if you are sure that you will be able to keep an eye on them, since candles outdoors can be a fire hazard. In most cases it is just as romantic and effective to use outdoor pendant lights or a string of outdoor hanging lights suspended in branches. This is one of the best effects for a party and it is certainly worth installing these lights temporarily for a garden party, even if you are not planning on keeping them in the space permanently. You can also find solar lights that you add to trees and other objects, which will light up as dusk falls.
How to Light with Wall Lights
Use wall lights to illuminate patio areas, or to use as porch lights for extra security when entering and exiting the property. Wall lights are versatile and there are a number of locations for their possible inclusion in garden lighting design. They can act on PIR's and Photocells to light up with movement or as night falls.
Considerations for Effective Lighting Design
When you are planning your garden lighting make sure that you take into account what you are lighting. There are some “features” that you do not necessarily want to shine brightly, for example a garage doors or a set of ugly paving slabs. Make sure that lights do not point back towards the house or the outdoor areas where you will be sitting, as this will cause glare problems. Make sure that you look at the environmental impact of the lights and minimise the problems you cause to wildlife, as well as to residents. All garden lighting should enhance a property and not be a burden to anyone else.