Using Lights in the Garden Part 1

Using lights in the garden can broadly be divided into two types of lighting: decorative and safety.

To keep a garden safe at night you will need to consider lighting wherever there is a change of level, especially any steps within the garden. Also consider how you guide visitors from the pedestrian gate to your front door and where you might need to light the driveway to ensure it is clear where to park safely.

Firstly you need to think about what you need to light as this will help you decide the type of fitting you need.

Lighting a small specimen in a pot will require a spot light with a narrow beam. If you are trying to light an outdoor entertaining space you will need something that provides a wider beam, covering a greater area. How a space is designed may be influenced by how it is to be lit at night. You might wish to include a pergola or arches close to or over a dining area so light fittings can be attached to the structure providing plenty of light to dine by.

 

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What effect are you trying to achieve? You might wish to create focal points within the space, such as a water feature or a specmen tree. Wall down lights can create a dramatic effect on modern style fencing, spaced at equal distance along the fence line. This can be very effective in a contemporary outdoor living area.

The material of the light fittings need to coordinate with the style of the new garden design. Copper patinates overtime to a beautiful verdi gris finish and this can work really well with a more traditional sheme. Stainless steel fittings are often chosen as features in their own right in a contemporary scheme, contrasting with the material around them. Some lights need to be hidden so choosing black or green will help them to blend into the planting around them.

Remember the practicalities too. Glare can be an issue. Point lights away fto avoid anyone looking directly into the fitting or add a glare cowl or louvres. Some fittings will come with half shields if used on a vertical surface, such as the riser of a step. You might also consider how you will hide the drivers which can be rather unsightly. And how do you wish the lights to be switched? It is unlikely you want all of your outdoor lights to come on at the same time. 

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TOP TIPS

A little goes a long way!

Remember to create contrast.

Ensure that the colour temperature is the same across all fittings.

Consider how you will hide the cables.

Consider using moonlighting for an unusual effect.

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