On the surface, creating nothing short of a masterpiece when it comes to outdoor lighting seems like a pretty easy job. You invest in a few designer outdoor lighting products, you throw them around your garden and that’s pretty much the end of it. That is, until you take a step back and look at what you have achieved, only to realise you have achieved a result that’s nothing like your original vision.
Technically speaking, lighting a garden quite magnificently doesn’t have to be particularly difficult. However, it’s of critical importance to go about the job strategically – not to mention in accordance with a few essential rules and guidelines from the experts.
Here’s a brief overview of a few to get you started:
- While it may come across as paradoxical, the darker your garden is, the less lighting you will need to create an incredible effect. The key being never to look at outdoor lighting the same as indoor lighting. While indoor lighting is mostly about practical illumination, outdoor lighting is more about features, focus and atmosphere.
- Speaking of which, perhaps the best way of beginning the process is to think about exactly which features in the garden are the most important, prominent and interesting. Once you have established the primary points of interest in your garden, these are what you should be focusing on primarily with your lighting efforts.
- Try not to make the assumption that there is any need whatsoever to try and tackle every single corner of the garden at the same time. Quite to the contrary, you’ll probably find it much easier and come up with a much better result if you focus of one small area after another. Make sure you are happy with a few square metres, before moving onto the next few square metres and so on.
- While it may be a rather tedious consideration, you must nonetheless bear in mind health and safety at all times. Suffice to say, electricity and water do not make the best bedfellows – the same being said for extreme sources of heat and combustible materials. Think carefully about not only how and where you position your cables and lighting devices, but also whether or not they are suitable for use outdoors.
- Make no mistake about it – incredibly effective garden lights that appear to have been positioned randomly are deceiving. It is critically important to be strategic and mindful when it comes to positioning your lights, as if you go about the job randomly, it will simply look messy and disorganised. Don’t forget that you can play around with as many configurations as you like, so feel free to experiment until something works.
- One highly effective approach to creating extremely atmospheric garden lighting is to think about silhouettes. What this basically means is positioning lighting fixtures behind points of interest, so as to perhaps create no practical illumination whatsoever, but instead create a striking dark silhouette. Again, this is something you can play with as much as you like until you achieve the desired result.
- There’s a bit of a trade-off when it comes to which season represents the best in which to tackle an outdoor lighting project. In the winter, it is much easier to lay cables, position boxes and generally see what you are doing as there is less foliage to deal with. However, the spring and summer will give you a better idea of how the lighting will look during the times you will actually be using it.
- Don’t forget that bulbs are available in a wide variety of temperatures and colours. When it comes to highlighting the features in your garden in particular, it can be incredibly effective to step away from standard white light and consider ambers, greens, blues, reds and so on – each having its own unique effect when put to use.
- Another highly important rule to follow at all times is to approach outdoor lighting in layers. What this basically means is to ensure you know how and where to draw the line between lighting that is used for the purposes of adding decorative touches and lighting used for practical purposes. There is of course some overlap between the two, but it is important nonetheless to be mindful of the difference when choosing and positioning your chosen products.
- Last but not least, never get into the process on a Saturday morning with the intention of achieving outstanding results by Sunday evening. The less time you give yourself to get the job done and the more unrealistic your expectations, the higher the likelihood of you being disappointed with the results. Whether it takes a week, a month or even a year or two to get it right, the final result will more than justify the time invested.