The key to garden lighting is to adopt a changeable solution, which allows you to move the position of your lighting as your garden develops and matures. For safety, outdoor lighting needs to be weatherproof, or IP rated. If you aren't sure what IP rating you need, read our IP ratings guide.
Generally speaking there are four main types of lighting applications in the garden.
Feature lighting, ambient lighting, safety and walkway lighting and security lighting and floodlights.
Feature lighting is used to create interest in key features in the garden such as trees, statues and structures. This also adds depth and interest to the garden at night.
Accent and spotlighting – position intense and focused light near the base of statues, trees, near a wall, a surface or a trellis. This technique is very compelling and should be used sparingly.
Cross lighting – position of spotlights on either side of an object that you wish to illuminate that are natural or manmade. The multiple beams of light produce softer shadows and reveal more detail.
Shadowing – place recessed luminaires in the front of the object to create shadows on the surface beyond. If you have a tree or a statue with a striking profile or wall or other surface, shadowing may be a very elegant way to add some drama to your exterior.
Silhouetting – which is the opposite of shadowing. This light technique is equally as simple, just position recessed luminaires behind and below the object to create a spectacular silhouette. The beam of light needs a clear passage between the light fitting and the focal point unless you want a shadowing effect. In which case, the opposite is true.
Spread lighting – if you invested in landscaping your gardens with flowers and low shrubbery, you will want to enhance its night time appeal with spread lighting.
To do this, position luminaires to illuminate low lying landscaping and ground cover.
Uplighting – if a canopy of branches covers your garden, try this technique. Place recessed luminaires in the ground and angle the lamp upwards. The illuminated branches or architecture will provide an interesting point of visual interest and reflect a soft light onto your garden.
Now we come to ambient lighting;
This lighting will add atmosphere to your garden and if entertaining is high on your agenda, ambient lighting will extend your hours of pleasure derived from patio or outdoor garden space.
With deck and patio lighting, pay particular attention to where people will be seated. The lighting source should be positioned so that people are not looking directly into the light, so as to avoid glare.
Additionally, you may wish to consider heat lamps which radiate heat to a person’s body without heating the surrounding atmosphere. These can be positioned on walls around the central entertainment area or under a patio canopy.
Safety and walkway lighting.
Potentially hazardous steps and paths should be adequately illuminated as well as enhancing the garden these also create a safer garden at night for you, your family and your guests.
Security lighting and floodlighting are a valuable addition to home security and can also be used to display house structures and large trees to give a stunning and sometimes dramatic effect.
Downlighting is recommended as an effective and affordable method for security lighting. To illuminate large areas, position bright spotlights near the roof of your home.
To light a pathway, mount smaller luminaires near the ground.
The effective use of a timer switch or security switch in conjunction with your garden lighting, can additionally act as an effective security device.
Why not complement your outdoor lighting installation with a range of outdoor sockets from the Electrical Counter too?