Then maybe it’s time to consider your lighting options…
1. Get the mix right. Lighting is grouped into three basic types. Task illumination gives you plenty of light for things such as cooking, ambient delivers good general illumination, and accent is used to highlight special features. A great lighting solution is a mix of all three.
2. Don’t overdo it. You’ll need good light for task areas like your dining table, but elsewhere, subtle touches work best.
3. Go solar. Pop spikes in among shrubs and along paths, and light strings around features… just remember that the illumination they cast isn’t strong, and they’ll need to have sufficient daylight to fully charge.
4. Hang a chandelier, the perfect blend of task and accent lighting. The best spot is above your dining table, positioned low enough so you can see what you’re eating and high enough so that the view across the table isn’t impeded. Cast iron has rustic appeal and teams beautifully with timber.
5. Consider adding deck lights around the perimeter. It’s a useful safety feature as well as a way to add a gentle glow of ambient light.
6. Spots are brilliant around the barbecue, where they can be directed towards the cooking and food prep surface for task lighting, but they can also be used out in the garden to highlight features.
7. Wall lights create a wash of illumination across the surrounding surface, highlighting the texture of a stone wall as well as delivering ambient light.
8. Position lights either side of steps and pathways to cast a glow across the surface – a stylish way to deliver safe passage for your guests.
9. Consider strip lights placed under the edge of the deck or steps, which will give the sense that they are floating above the garden.
10. Invest in clever pool lighting. Underlit water looks magical at night and will work with the colour of your pool interior to give your garden a cool, Miami vibe or the feel of a Balinese resort.
11. Just like puppies, fairy lights aren’t just for Christmas. Cast nets of them over shrubs, fix along branches of trees, tuck battery-operated strings of them into glass pots… the options are endless.
12. Festoons of party lights are a great permanent option if you entertain regularly. Suspend strings above your dining table or around the entire entertaining space to give it focus and a party vibe.
13. Don’t ditch the downlights altogether. They have a place in any scheme where you need good light – to work, cook or even just guide your guests to the location of the bar fridge.
14. Remember safety first. Only use lights that are rated for outdoor use, and employ a qualified electrician to fit them for you.