February 23, 2023

10 Pro Tips for Garden Lighting Design

A beautiful garden is a wonderful thing to behold, but did you know that careful lighting design can make it even more stunning? Light fixtures and bulbs can highlight your favourite features, provide much-needed illumination for evening entertaining, and even help deter burglars. With a little planning, you can create a magical outdoor space that you and your family will enjoy for years. Here are 10 pro tips to get you started.

1. Think about how you want to use your garden.

Do you want a relaxing space to enjoy your morning coffee? A play area for the kids? A romantic spot for evening cocktails? Knowing how you intend to use your garden will help determine the type of lighting you need. You can create different moods using lights; check out our blog here. Once you have decided what is important to you regarding using the space, then you can start to specify the best lights to use.

2. Consider the size of your garden.

Small gardens may only need a few well-placed lights, while large ones may require more fixtures to achieve the desired effect. If you have pathways around the house or into separate garden areas, use lights to segregate areas for different uses. For example, the patio area might be lit for entertainment, using slightly more lights so you can see friends whilst talking. Meanwhile, a spa area might use very little lighting, only for the paths, to create a sense of relaxation.

3. Choose the right fixtures for the desired outcome.

There are many different types of garden lights on the market, from string lights and solar-powered lanterns to pathway lights and wall sconces. Select fixtures that complement your home’s style and meet your needs in terms of function and budget. Consider colour temperature and light output when choosing lights. Also, consider the beam angle. Do you want the area to be flooded with light using a wide beam, or do you want a small feature lit with a pin beam to highlight the feature and nothing else? If you are near the sea, then perhaps it's best to consider copper fittings to reduce the maintenance intervals, and if you would like a modern look, then stainless fittings may be the best option.

4. Use extra low-voltage lights.

ELV landscape lighting is much safer for outdoor use than the standard 230 line voltage inside the household, so it’s ideal for gardens and other outdoor areas. You will need to install a transformer to convert regular household power into low voltage, but it’s a small price to pay for peace of mind if you strike the cable or the dog gets a hold of it.

5.  Do your research

Using websites like Pinterest will allow you to find exactly the end result you are looking for. Often it will also give you the requirements to achieve a similar result. The more images of the desired result, the easier the design will be. If you have a large garden, you may even be able to achieve multiple replications of designs you like, and there is a good chance that by using the most modern fittings, the end result will surpass your expectations.

6. Use timers and sensors sparingly.

Timers and motion sensors can be useful in some situations. Still, they can also be annoyingly unreliable—and let’s face it, who wants their party interrupted by the lights having a mind of their own? If you do use timers or sensors, make sure they are properly installed and tested before using them in your garden party lighting design. Modern Bluetooth timers remove external inputs, relying solely on set times and your manual input; this takes some of the risks away from sensors that rely on motion or sunlight.

7. Light up pathways and stairs for safety purposes.

Pathway lights and stair lights serve an important dual purpose: they provide much-needed illumination in areas where people walk, making them safer after dark, and they also look great! Line pathways with indirect light sources such as bollards to reduce glare and create a pathway that guides the eye down an entranceway, setting the expectation for the rest of the garden as guests arrive.

8. Highlight special features with accent lighting.

Use accent lighting to highlight architectural features, artwork, water features, sculptures, or trees and shrubs with interesting shapes or foliage. Uplighting creates a dramatic effect by shining light on objects from below; downlighting does the same from above—Both effects can add dimensionality and interest to your garden space after dark . . . not to mention a bit of drama! For something different, consider installing tree pendants or festoon lighting, depending on the occasion.

9. Install floodlights if necessary. . . but use them sparingly.

If you live in an urban area or are close to neighbours, you may need to install floodlights for security purposes. However, remember that too much light can disrupt the natural night environment, so use them sparingly – and only when absolutely necessary. They can also be great for cleaning up after a party if you have the energy.

Offset bright white floodlights with softer amber-hued ones whenever possible, and ensure all light sources are fully shielded so that the light doesn’t spill into unwanted areas.

10 . Enjoy your beautiful new garden!

After all your hard work, it’s time to sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labour. With a bit of planning, forethought, and attention to detail, you can create a garden lighting design that is both functional, dynamic and beautiful—one that will enhance your outdoor living space and provide the perfect backdrop for any occasion, whether it’s a casual get-together or a grand soiree.

By following these simple tips, you can create a stunningly lit outdoor space that you, your family, and your friends will enjoy for many years. So what are you waiting for?