3 Helpful Hints to Enhance your Garden Lighting
Do you ever wish you could see where you’re putting your feet a little better as you walk up the garden path at night? Struggle to show off your beautifully planned and planted garden when it’s dark?
It might be time to upgrade your garden lighting so you want to spend more time in the yard after dark. It only takes a few instalments and your garden will look as spectacular as you’d like it to.
Check out these helpful hints to enhance your garden lighting and make being outside at night a real treat.
1 - Light Your Pathways
There’s nothing worse than stepping on a stray snail or clump of dirt as you walk up your garden path. Okay, some things might be worse - but no one wants to tread in anything, nor do they enjoy tripping on the steps. The way to fix these problems? Light your pathways.
You can find a huge array of garden path lighting to suit whatever feel you want your garden to have. You can have spotlights, lanterns, strip lights, recessed lights, bollards and all in different colours, materials, and styles. You can also go for either solar lights or ones that are wired in.
Here are a few lighting options you can choose from:
Once you’ve chosen your lights, you need to organise where exactly they will go. Spotlights, lanterns, and bollards can be placed just about anywhere around your path - in a straight line right by the path, more scattered about (but still functional), widely spaced, closer together - it’s all your decision. It just depends on what feel and look you’re going for.
With strip lights, you have less choice about spacing, but you can still decide whether they’ll run right alongside the path, or snake about next to the path.
If you have a raised pathway, you can situate lights just underneath the path edge. This gives a less direct light, but you can still see where you’re going.
Recessed uplights can either go into the path itself - though this really needs to be done when the path is built - or into the ground next to the path. These look similar to downlights you might have in the ceiling, just reversed so they look up at you front the ground. Keep in mind that sometimes recessed lights all in a long line can end up looking like a runway - unless this is a look you wouldn’t mind, maybe try a different style of light or different placement.
Stairways and steps will need some lighting too - I have tripped up too many steps in my time to miss this point.One big point to make sure you address is that the lights do not point up at your eyes too much. Their purpose is to illuminate the ground you’re walking on, not shine up into your face. If, once you place your lights, you find this is a problem - try repositioning them so the light beam is not so intrusive or blinding. Opt for less bright bulbs or a different temperature of bulb to make the mix right for your area.
Nicely placed lights in the step itself or on the rise of the step do well to both illuminate where your feet are going, and to let people know how many steps there are - to avoid that awkward moment at the top of the stairs when you think there’s an extra step, but your foot comes crashing down to the same level. I’m sure we all know this feeling.
This is usually easiest to accomplish when building the stairs - but talk to a designer and electrician to see how hard it would be to install lights to existing steps. It would depend on the style of steps, and materials they’re made out of, among other things.
2 - Accentuate the Features
Do you have certain trees or bushes in your garden that are naturally a focal point? You can feature them with lighting so they are just as magnificent at night - maybe even more - as they are in daylight.
Carefully placed spotlights at the foot of a tree, or in a garden bed, can set off your yard perfectly. They both draw attention to key features of your landscape, as well as provide that extra bit of lighting for more practical uses like being able to see what’s in your yard, and warding off intruders - a bit of lighting is sometimes the line between someone deciding to enter your yard uninvited and deciding to move on.
You can step it up another notch by choosing different coloured lights. This allows you to add that extra artistic detail to your yard, and you can choose the colour to suit the mood and style of your house and garden - the choice is totally yours! Keep a range of coloured bulbs on hand to change the colour for special occasions too.
Another way to feature the elements of your garden is to light the edges of your garden beds. Whether or not you’ve got a wooden, brick, or any other border on your garden beds already, you can enhance that border at night with some simple rope lights or strip lights. This will make it easy for you and your guests to see exactly where the garden bed ends and the walkway, lawn, or open area begins.
If you have a few garden beds, lighting the edges can help create some great shapes in your yard, and give it more of an aesthetically pleasing look.
3 - Highlight Water Elements
Do you have any kind of water feature in your yard? A good way to really highlight the water is to light it. Having lights in and around water - whether that be water in a small pond, a pool, or a fountain - can lift it to that next level.
For a small pond, some simple, white lights nestled at focal points work well - for example, in between some rocks at one end, or in the middle of a few pond lilies to help them stand out. If you intend for the moon to reflect in the pond at night, it’s best to stick to lights around the edge, rather than in the water - they will detract from the moon in that case. Keep it simple, though - too many lights in and around your pond take away from the real feature: the pond.
Pool lights help to make it a feature at night, rather than a big, black expanse of water. Having a few underwater lights along the sides will make the whole pool a source of glowing light when it’s dark. This can also work well as some nice, low-key lighting for intimate gatherings.
The other place that a waterproof light would work well is in the middle of a fountain or water feature - right where the water is moving. Putting a light right in the middle of the bubbling water of a fountain, or in a waterfall, will create an artistic and fascinating feature in your garden or outdoor area.
Always check with an electrician and a designer as to whether you can install the lights you want in an existing yard or garden before buying them. If you’re designing and building a new yard, though, go nuts!