The garden is no longer the place we walk through on our way to the house. It is a space that serves many functions, whether it is play, relaxation, or partying. It could, therefore, be time to bring lighting to your garden.
Not only will lighting lengthen the time you can stay outdoors, but it can create a dramatic backdrop to your home and your soft landscaping. With light, you can design yourself a daytime garden that becomes an exciting night-time space after dark. With successful lighting, you can guide the eye of the visitor around your yard. You can point to certain parts of the garden you want on show while keeping other areas in shadow.
Making clever choices
To make the most of your garden lighting, there are some essential tips to follow. First, it is best to have fewer lights than you think is necessary. When lighting your garden, a little goes a long way, and a plethora of LED lights can be muddled. Seek out the areas of the garden you want to highlight and the lines you wish to create.
There is also a technique called moonlighting. Rather than having a spotlight onto the terrace, you could instead place a strong light in a tree and create pools of light, which will beautifully cast the shadows of the leaves. If you choose the intense beam on the outside of the house, there is the danger that this will feel like a security light rather than an attractive feature.
It is also a good idea to try to create contrast in your garden. For instance, if you are going to light steps, then you may wish to light every other riser. When lighting decking, you could use lights to create a mooted light in one area and a brighter light in another. There are different shades of white light. You can go for a warmer 2800K in one place and a cooler 3000K in another. You could also opt for different colors such as pinks and blues if looking to be daring.
Designing a safe lighting scheme
It is vital to make sure that your garden lighting is as effective as possible, as well as being safe. Having large drivers, cables and connections on show will ruin the effect of your light. You might want to identify hidden places where you can hide waterproof boxes and use these for your drivers.
You can hide cables using mesh-reinforced tubing; this also prevents damage from chewing from pets or other animals. This also keeps you safe from driving your spade through the wires when gardening. You should also make sure there is sufficient drainage if the lighting is recessed into the ground. You do not want water building up around an electrical charge.
Avoiding common mistakes
Lighting draws the eye. This is a bonus as well as a potential pitfall. With intelligent design, you can encourage your viewer to see the parts of the garden you want them to see. However, people will always look to the brightest light first, and if you place this in an uninspiring part of the garden, the overall impression falls flat. Try to keep lights out of the general line of sight. For instance, avoid placing lighting directly opposite the decking.
It is also tempting to think anything that is beautiful by day deserves to be a feature at night. You may have a particularly lovely bush with spectacular flowers. You tie fairy lights amongst the branches, and suddenly you have a ball of light in the darkness, less beautiful and more like an alien spaceship perched on the edge of the lawn. Keep your daytime garden separate from your night-time garden. Look at the lines in the garden and pick out the shapes within the space rather than individual features.
Your lighting takeaway
No doubt lighting your garden can extend the use of your outdoor space. In the summer months, it can become an extra room in your home where you dine and can share a quiet drink with a friend – or a noisy drink if you have good neighbors. Not only can installing lighting help you enjoy the garden for longer but also in many different ways – just put your design hat on and think about how to wow in new ways after dark.