Managing Director Joe Burke gives his garden lighting design top tips to help your garden shine. If you are considering lighting your garden or landscape, do remember firstly that a little light goes a long way. Read Joe’s top garden lighting ideas and tips below to help you light beautifully and use the right light fittings for the task.
By the time many of us have finished work, the sun is often setting on our gardens.
The reality is that many of us, often enjoy our home’s outdoor areas in the evening twilight or dark – or even through our windows peering into the darkness. However, a beautiful garden lighting scheme, designed to switch on at dusk each day, allows us to grill our favourite foods on a BBQ or enjoy a pleasing view of the garden from inside.
Garden lighting serves multiple purposes – from accenting landscape features such as gazebo’s and statues, to drawing attention to established trees and specimen plants. Well-placed exterior lighting can increase visibility and prevent guests from tripping downstairs or keep would-be burglars at bay by subtlety lighting our surroundings.
Ambience and Impact
We shouldn’t forget the ambience and impact garden lighting creates inside a home. In reality, most of us look out at our gardens more often than spend time in them. The view out the window compliments an interior space. When viewed through the window, garden textures, colours and forms look different at night – and during each changing season. Even in winter, bare trees and shrubs take on a new beauty as exterior lighting cast shadowy patterns through their leafless branches.
The key to successful landscape lighting is flexibility. LED exterior spike lights are ideal as they can be easily moved to suit the changing seasons and planting growth. Low level Pole Lights are also very useful. These are designed for situations where the fixture needs to be unobstructive or concealed. The spotlight can be aimed in any direction, ideal for path and foliage lighting as the spot may be aimed downward to eliminate vertical light pollution.
The high-wattage glow of a theme park or petrol station isn’t the right model for a home. Subtle reigns in garden lighting, so multiple low-wattage fixtures should be layered evenly in order to create a balanced look. Use lighting selectively and remember that darkness can also be used to great effect.
Lighting key features such as statues or specimen trees ensures the focus is still on them at night. Water features look wonderful lit as the movement and refraction creates patterns which reflect on the surrounding area. Use a submersible spotlight under a water flow to achieve this. Also consider lighting steps in your garden for safety reasons as well as aesthetics.
Invest in Quality
Lighting your garden is an investment that may need to be phased over time. Good quality garden light fixtures can cost in excess of £200 each. Do one thing right, if that’s what you can afford, focus on a special tree or frequently used seating and entertaining area. Spend money where you will get the most enjoyment now and create a master plan you can add to in future. Outdoor fixtures are designed to weather the elements. Nevertheless, sun, rain and snow take a toll – particularly if fixtures aren’t well made. While quality outdoor lighting can last 15 years plus, cheaply made lighting that fails after only a season or two is no bargain! Long-lasting fixtures are often made of solid machined metal such as copper, bronze and marine-grade stainless steel.
Working on external electrical installations is dangerous, and therefore any electrical work must be undertaken by a Part P registered electrician, as they are classified as notifiable works to the local authority building control.
LED Lighting Efficiency
LED lighting is a reliable technology and the best option for garden lighting. This low voltage efficient form uses minimal electricity so can keep electric bills low, particularly when landscapes are lit regularly. LED lamps also typically have a usable life in excess of 5 years, minimising maintenance.
Plant care from Garden Lights
The light level from outdoor fixtures typically doesn’t affect plants – and the installation usually doesn’t bother them either. Trees may need special precautions, though. Take care not to screw or wrap anything tightly around their trunks or branches, and make sure they are healthy before installing fixtures directly into them.
If you’re interested in a professionally designed garden lighting design, then please get in contact with us. We can provide you with a one-stop solution for the design, installation and commissioning of a garden lighting scheme throughout Hampshire and Dorset.