It is incredible what a little bit of light can do to your garden, transforming it into an almost unrecognizable space, plus extending the amount to time you are able to get use out of it. For those that work during the day especially, garden use is often limited to the late afternoon to evening and the weekends, so a little bit of light can make a huge difference. Not only that but when it comes to entertaining, the use of the garden in the evening opens up a whole additional area to use for a party or gathering.
You can’t, however, just throw a load of lighting features into space and expect the job to be done. Careful consideration needs to be taken regarding what type and where the lighting will go, as this planning will go a long way in making space a lot more usable after sunset and improving your outdoor living space.
Choosing the Right Lights
There is a huge range of different lighting options to choose from, so at first glance, all the options may be a little overwhelming. A few years ago, traditional lighting seemed like the only way to go, but more recently it seems as though the outdoor lighting industry as moved more to using LED lights, and there are a few reasons behind this.
For a start, they will be much cheaper for you to run. It is possible to get some LED lights that run purely on solar power. So as long as they get some sunlight, after the initial purchase, the lights won’t cost you a penny.
They are also very energy efficient, so just by making the switch from traditional to LED, the amount of power that it needs to light up your garden will be significantly reduced. This isn’t just good for your bank balance and the environment, it also means they are a lot easier to set up. Low voltage lighting avoids the costly and timely trench digging that was needed to install a power line. Instead, with LED lights, the trenches are not needed, as only around 12 volts of power is needed. So, you won’t have to worry about your lovingly landscaped garden being destroyed.
Deciding Where to Place the Lights
Using a tree to mount your lights may seem like the obvious option for many, but it certainly has its downfalls. For a start, drilling or nailing into the truck of the tree can damage the trunk quite badly, causing more harm than good. Secondly, chances are the tree is still growing, so in a few years the light might be in a completely different place from where it was originally put, or the trunk could even completely surround the light fixture.
If a tree is the only option that you have, instead of nailing directly into the truck, you could use a strap-mounted system that wraps around the trunk of the tree, meaning that the problems above can be avoided. As the tree grows, the strap can be moved or adjusted accordingly.
Uplighting is another popular idea, as this way the tree can be lit up from below, rather than above. It is easy to mount the light fitting into the ground, pointing it up to face the tree and creating quite a dramatic effect.
In-ground lights can be a good idea for lighting up your garden and can be installed pretty quickly compared to other lights. To install an in-ground light, just dig a hole around 18 inches deep and fill it around halfway with gravel. You then have to make sure the cable is long enough and place the housing for the fixture in the hole, keeping it steady by packing more gravel around it. You can then add the light itself and choose the lens that you feel best fits in with your yard.
The options really are endless when it comes to lighting up your garden, and it is great to try new things and see how they look. Playing with different colored lights is always a good idea, as the color, styles, and placements of the lights can create a truly one of a kind, magical landscape.
If you have a piece of garden furniture or a statue that you would like to make your focal point, spotlights do a great job. They can help direct the eye to where you want them to go, lighting it up both the feature and the surrounding area.
Playing around with how lighting underwater looks can also be fun. You are able to purchase specialty lighting that can safely be used underwater, and these can be used to create interesting effects, especially if they are under moving water such as a fountain.
When it comes to string lighting, there are many shapes, sizes, and colors to pick from. These can be hung around an arch, through trees or along a fence, and can range from clear globes to colorful Chinese lanterns.
A cool idea is hiding the lights out of sight, only allowing a little of the glow to creep out from the crevices of a rock or branches, creating an inviting and enchanting effect.
About the Author
Scott Bland has been in the leisure industry for nearly 20 years. As a sales manager in the leisure industry he knows hot tubs inside and out. Right now, he works sales while writing about hot tubs, pools and spas on his blog, www.scottbland.ca