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Bring Your Garden to Life at Night with Outdoor Lighting

After coming out of what seems like the longest Spring and Summer, now’s the time to start getting your homes and gardens ready for the shorter, darker days through Autumn and Winter through the use of outdoor lighting.

This might include making the most of the hard work you’ve been putting into your garden during the last few months! And being able to bring your garden to life at night through the Winter months with feature lighting, means you can spend even more time out there and it will look stunning to look out on through the windows at night!

You might just be thinking of static or motion-sensor security lights, to put your mind at ease.

Or even combining these with simple, yet effective, pathway and step lighting which will help you safely navigate in the dark.

Whatever you’re planning for your garden, it’s worth taking the time to consider all the options. We’re going to talk you through the most effective designs to light up your outdoor living space, making sure you get the best result, whilst also keeping you safe.

One option is occasional lighting such as solar or battery-powered lights, but please read the instructions thoroughly, as these may need to be stored indoors when not in use to prevent weather and water damage. These products tend to give you a much lower level of light.

So, for a more permanent feature and to keep your garden illuminated even through the Winter, the best option would be to have your lighting mains connected. Cabling may need to be installed at a specific minimum depth underground and be protected against the elements and damage from gardening tools, etc. Installation must be carried out by a registered electrician.

How to create different looks and atmospheres

Don’t forget, it’s not only about using more light to light up the whole garden. Some areas could have brighter light than others, some a different shade of light, some uplit, others downlit, some might even look better shaded or left in the dark so as not to bring attention to them! The correct outdoor lighting scheme can help you enhance your garden, water features, trees, and surrounds to create the most beautiful and relaxing backdrop!

Bollards —

These are a great way to light up a driveway or a wide/long pathway. Our advice would be to check the radius of light though as some light up a full 360-degree range, whereas others are aimed only in one direction.

Floodlights —

need to be mains connected because of the amount of power required. Floodlights tend to be attached to garden walls, fences, or the walls of your property, as a secure platform is needed to carry the weight. But they can also be used as an uplighting effect by angling the light beam upwards, if secured in the ground (cabling needs to be safely managed – see later safety tips).

Uplighting —

Lights set in the ground and angled upwards can be used effectively to make narrower areas appear wider or create more dramatic effects by angling the light onto a fence or to light up trees, statues, etc, in your garden.

Downlighting —

Angling lighting downwards from within tree branches, bushes and through leaves, or from walls, fences or other structures can be particularly effective to highlight seating/outdoor dining areas, creating the most amazing effects. Use coloured (particularly pale blues) or plain white lights to give the effect of a larger yet calm space. And, if you can, position your lights a little distance away from where you will be sitting/dining and you’ll keep the bugs and insects away too!

Spotlights —

As the name suggests, they offer a more specific beam or spot of light, so are used to highlight specific features, and can really bring your garden to life at night. As they are available in a variety of colours, you can design some great dramatic effects or conversely a calm ambience in garden ponds and within water features*. Spotlights within a rockery can create a stunning backdrop or surround to your garden too.

Shadowing and Silhouetting —

These ‘dramatic’ looks are created by lighting a larger object such as a tree or a statue either from the front or behind the object. Similarly, Washlighting can create a wide ‘flow’ of light across a solid object, wall, building and create a calming expanse of colour.

There are so many options open to you. There may be areas, that by combining different types of feature outdoor lighting, would bring your garden to life in ways you never imagined!

What Next?

You have done all your research, and have designed the look you want…

You are giving your garden the once over for any damage to outside cabling or electric sockets…

For any outdoor lighting or electrical work, you must seek assistance from a registered electrician. This is not something you should be considering doing yourself.

Safety Tips for Outside Electrics

Firstly, follow our safety tips to keep your garden and your loved ones safe:

  • Any cables to be used outside must be suitable for outdoor use (weather resistant and rated correctly) and for installation outside.
  • Outside installation must be carried out by a registered electrician NOT the home/landowner and in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and BS7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IET Wiring Regulations).
  • All sockets, lights, cables, wires, and appliances to be used outside must be protected by an RCD (Residual Current Device) which switches off the electrical current in case of the attached cable being cut or becoming faulty.
  • Outdoor cables underground must be buried at sufficient depth to ensure they are not damaged by any garden tools or wear and tear (your electrician must dig the trench to ensure the correct depth).
  • Never trail leads in the garden i.e. take care when mowing grass, hedge-trimming, etc.
  • Switch off and unplug electrical items before cleaning or inspecting.
  • Store all equipment in a dry, safe place and check for any signs of damp or damage before use.
  • Decorative lights (such as solar lights) are not always for permanent outside use – check the instructions carefully before use and store inside.
  • Make sure electric pumps don’t electrify the water and ALWAYS have electrics linked to water tested by a registered electrician.

Choosing your outdoor lighting scheme is only part of the project… We can also talk you through the most appropriate controls for your lighting.  From basic internal or outdoor switches, to ‘smart’ controls which can be preprogrammed (can even be sensitive to the amount of natural light to tell them when to turn your lighting scheme on and off) making life oh so easy!

Whatever stage you are at, and whatever your plans are for your garden during the next few months; if there are any signs of damage you would like us to check for you, or you’re wanting to add some outdoor lighting effects to the external areas of your property to bring your garden to life at night, get in touch for a no-obligation, free of charge quotation.

Elite Electrical Contractors – we’re here to keep you safe!

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