Landscape lighting is a real art form. I will need to immediately tell you that is it not my main area of expertise. When I have a big scheme to do, I always call in a lighting designer. A good lighting designer will work absolute magic.
However, having said that, I have picked up one or two useful tips along the way that might help you if you’re planning your own lighting scheme.
Tip 1 If you don’t light it you don’t see it!
Yes, I know that is incredibly obvious, but you’d be surprised how easy is to not consider this aspect of garden lighting. In the daytime we’re so used to seeing everything, because of the daylight, but when it comes to lighting at night, we forget about how we see things (usually in conjunction with the surrounding items).
The most obvious thing to do is to light up key features in the garden like a statue or pergola or something. Unfortunately, if you do this, you end up with something glowing at the end of your garden like a UFO has landed!
So, it’s really important that you light the visual journey to the object that you wish to light. So if you have a statue at the end of the garden, you strategically light a visual pathway to get to it. It doesn’t have to be actual path, it can be a series of lights that are dotted through the borders that end up at the statue, so your eyes have something to follow and it ties in with the surrounding areas. It’s not just there in the garden on its own, lit up like a Christmas tree!
Tip 2 Don’t buy cheap lights
Seriously, don’t. Admittedly, cheaper lights are a lot better looking than they used to be, less Dalek like, but even so they tend to be quite an eyesore during daylight hours. Good lighting tends to be smaller and discreet and is also made of more durable materials. You can control and adjust how the beam of light lands and you can also add different filters to create different effects. Unfortunately that’s way beyond my skill set but I just wanted to make you aware that you can do a lot more with proper garden lighting.
Lighting designers I’ve worked with always recommend Hunza lighting, but there are a lot of similar brands that are good. Shop around online, there are tons to choose from. I’ll put some links at the bottom of this article to point you in the right direction.
Tip 3 Put in a higher power cable when you think you’ll ever need
Basically, put in a cable that is capable of running more electrical units than you think you’re going to need. If you ever decide to put in a water feature or garden shed or decide you want more lights then it’s very handy to have a cable that is powerful enough to run extra things off should you need it.
There are many different ways to do lighting from up lighting to down lighting and probably 1 million others I don’t know about. So, I’m going to try and sweet talk one of the lighting designers that I know into writing an article for us to explain the subtleties and the art of lighting in more detail than I’m able to. Or if you are a lighting designer and would like to write an article here on Successful garden design, then please get in touch!
Where to buy online?
People always ask me where to get good quality lights online, so I’ve spent a good few hours trawling through the interwebs to give you some suggestions. Please note: on some products I do receive a small commission, which helps me towards the running costs of this website. I’ve chosen lights I like the look of, but still, please do your own due diligence, and check the quality and reputation of the companies, before you purchase anything, as I have no direct experience with any of them!
Modern – Absolutely beautiful, contemporary garden lighting from Lumens. They are not budget lighting, but there is a good mix of affordable in with higher end of the market designer lights. I particularly love the hanging Havana pendant and Mia Serata outdoor mood light that have a slight ‘UFO has landed’ look about them (in my fantasy world, I’d buy half a dozen!).
Free US postage on orders over $50 and they will ship worldwide, for a fee. *WARNING* – this site is ‘lighting porn’ for anyone that loves designer stuff!
USA & CANADA
Modern – Lovely contemporary garden lighting and slightly more affordable than the ones above (USA only).
All styles of garden lighting, from Louie Lighting, good prices (also ships to Canada).
A fun and bright selection of solar and novelty lights from Mr Lights. Free shipping in the US, additional fees for other countries.
A range of quality garden wall lighting in both modern and traditional styles from Lighting Supermarket.
A nice selection of solar lights over at Greenfingers.
Lighting Questions and Comments?
Do you have any questions you’d like me to ask a lighting designer? Or have you come across gorgeous garden lighting products? If so let me know in the comments below…
And if you purchase any of those gorgeous designer lights from my first recommendation above, do please email me some photos so I can live vicariously through your purchasing! 😉
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