Here at Moonlight Design, we like to think there is a skill to lighting design which comes from years of education and working in the field.
However, there are elements to look for when considering how to light a garden.
- Start with a basic design structure which could just be one effect for instance, navigational lighting to illuminate drives, paths and steps. These are very important areas that should be lit, as safety should always come first. However, the trick is to make these areas attractive at the same time, so you get two benefits from one application.
- Size of garden: if you have a small garden then it might be a case of focusing on one particular area (like the example below) where we cross lit this decorative bench. In this instance the bench was the focal point and lighting it softly is a great way of not only enjoying the garden but also sitting out during a warm Summer evening.
- Budget is the most important factor and if you have a small one, then keep it simple. You need to be sensible and at some stage get a registered electrician involved. It’s against regulations for anyone that is not qualified to install electrics outside, so at the very worst, get an electrician in to install an outside socket. Once you have done this you can buy some party lights and then plug them in for use all year round. This can be a really nice affect without breaking the bank.
- Use the whole of your garden, by lighting the extremities of your plot (light a few specimen trees and shrubs around the permitter), it will look so much longer and wider. Instead of getting a reflection of yourself at night suddenly the garden will appear!
- Position your lights to illuminate the subject correctly. This may seem obvious but we have seen many lighting installations where the light is incorrectly placed which usually results in the subject being poorly illuminated and lots of glare.
- Use warm white lighting (known as Kelvins – e.g. 2700k is known as warm white) as this is the best way to illuminate plants without making the garden look ‘cold’ and harsh.
- Keep it simple, try not to install too many lights, you don’t want Wembley or Blackpool Illuminations in your garden. On top of this, colour changing lights need to be considered carefully, it’s not a lighting style that works well everywhere.
- Switching is another important factor. With today’s technology and ease of installation it’s worth considering using a remote control. You will need an electrician to install this type of switching but once installed it has many benefits. There will be no mess inside the house (no channelling-out walls to install switches etc) and of course no re-decorating to be done. You can have many zones in the garden, which you wouldn’t normally do with a hard-wired switch. Other benefits are that the lights can be dimmable and you can also add a timer, if required. Good remote controls use an app on your smartphone which means you don’t have to leave the comfort of your bed if you have left the lights on!
If the above seems a little too much to consider then we are here to help you from design right through to installation. Please contact us to discuss your project further.
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