As the nights draw in, this is a great time to think about garden lighting, but why light your garden and what makes a great garden lighting design? Here’s our step by step guide for great garden lighting.
There are several benefits of great lighting in your garden. Security and safety are at the top of this list. It can help highlight trip hazards, aid navigation or pathfinding. And of course light enables you to enjoy your garden for longer, especially during the winter months. An often overlooked reason is that it helps to bring the ‘outside in’, providing a view out, and preventing windows turning into large black mirrors at night.
A little light goes a long way and less is certainly more. You don’t need to light your lawn to the same level as Wembley stadium and your garden path isn’t a runway at Heathrow Airport. It’s also important to think about the setting. A garden in central London requires a very different approach to a landscape out in the country side. We always look to use the minimum amount and most energy efficient light fittings and only use light where it’s needed. At the lighting design studio we believe in treating light sparingly like a precious commodity.
Important considerations when choosing light fittings:
You need to think about colour temperature. The warmth or coolness of light is described by colour temperature and measured in Kelvin. You can read much more about this here. When using LEDs in your garden it’s important to choose warm white LED’s and make sure different types of light match each other.
Next there’s colour rendering. Not all light sources are made equal because artificial light does not emit a balanced mixture of all colours. CRI is a measurement showing how light affects the appearance of colour and every light has its place on the colour rendering index you can find out more about this here. In general you want lights with a CRI of 90 or better.
It’s important to consider flexibility from the outset. Plants and trees grow and change with the seasons, so spike lights are a great choice offering flexibility.
Fittings should blend into the landscape, so finish of light fitting is important. Green or black is often most appropriate, but copper is also a favourite as it patinas over time.
Important considerations when planning a garden lighting scheme:
Generally minor domestic light fittings are not subject to planning controls, but this is not always the case. It’s worth checking with your local council or building control officer to see if there are any restrictions or limitations.
Light trespass (where light enters neighbouring properties) can cause big issues and needs to be a consideration when locating every light source.
Minimising light pollution is super important to help protect habitats for bats, moths and a whole host of insects important to biodiversity.
If you’re thinking of installing or upgrading lighting in a garden, don’t do anything until you’ve checked out these 3 common mistakes that people make. If you would like any help lighting a landscape or garden then please do feel free to get in touch for a free 30 minute consultation.