Make the most of your outdoor area at night with these handy tips.
Light the way
Guide the way through your garden with path and step lights. Low set path lights are a low-key option or make a statement with taller bollard lighting. If you’ve got a wall along your path, consider lighting set into the wall. Light up steps by mounting fittings on the risers.
Make sure any path lighting is shining downwards and not into the eyes of the person using it. You also don’t need to have the lights super bright, just enough to enhance someone’s night vision is plenty.
Highlight garden features using spotlights set near the ground. Choose large, solid objects as the targets of your lights as they will appear more dramatic than if you light up a large area. Try layering your feature lighting so you have items at different points of the garden lit up. Lighting in a pond or water feature creates a special effect as the movement of the water makes the light shimmer.
Light up an entire area with ambient lighting. The key here is to provide enough light to create a mood but not so much that it feels like its daylight. A great way of adding soft light over a large area and creating a feature at the same time is by using strings of fairy lights, lanterns or rope lights. Another option is wall-mounted fittings that reflect light off the wall.
Always see what you’re doing with bright task lighting. Around the barbecue or outdoor kitchen is an obvious area but you’ll also need task lighting at a servery or drinks station. Directional lighting provides illumination where it’s needed but doesn’t overpower the area around where the task lighting is needed. Put these lights on separate switches so you can turn them off when they’re not needed.
Get the type of light right
There are a few options for powering your lights too. Solar lights are the easiest to install as all you need to do is put them in a sunny spot with no wiring required. A lot of other exterior lights are low voltage meaning you can save money by running the cables yourself and have your electrician connect them to mains power. An electrician must install any 240-volt lights. Make sure any lights you choose are rated for use outdoors.
When it comes to choosing the bulbs, you can go with either cool or warm white. Cool white gives off a crisp clean light that’s good for task lighting and for paths and steps. Warm white has a yellowish glow that’s more welcoming so use it for ambient and feature lighting.