Garden lighting adds another dimension to a garden. Whether the garden is under construction, or established, lighting can be installed. Outdoor lighting is so impressive that in my opinion a garden design is only half finished without if. It adds a tottaly different perspective, be it for lighting steps, on a damp evening or as an alternative to closing the curtains. Don’t guess at your lighting design and risk costly costs, employ a professional Landscape designer. The following are examples of what you can achieve:
Some water features look better at night, but all are enhanced with outdoor lighting
Uplighting of mature trees adds drama and vertical emphasis in a garden lighting scheme
Outdoor lights in decking can look very impressive
Lighting used to empasise texture of walls
When you have decided you are going to install lights in your garden, there are a few things to consider.
- Switching position
- Power type
- Tips for garden lighting
- Lighting effect
- Lighting material
- Light type
- Bulb type
The first thing to decide is where you want to position your switches or what type of switching method to use eg. Timer, Photocell or remote control. Ask your electrican to separate the circuits as much as possible so you have different switches for different sets of lights. Separate switches will also allow you to create different moods within the garden.
There are three areas to be considered here – High voltage, Low voltage and solar power.
* High voltage systems must be installed by a qualified electrician. The main advantages of 240 volt installations are,
- No need to use transformers
- Easier installations because no need for transformers
- No need to worry about voltage drop in 240 volt cables
- There are some good energy efficient 240 volt compact fluorescent lamps available
One of the main disadvantages is that cable must be buried and armoured to avoid accidental damage. Only the last 2 meters can be a flexible cable. This results in less flexibility and more ugly junction boxes. Another big disadvantage is that lamps blowing can often trip out a circuit breaker, this rarely happens with a 12 volt system.
* Low voltage systems have many benefits and in my opinion the best alternative. Electricians are more familiar with 240 volt and may shy away from low voltage installations, dont let them put you off. the advantages are.
- Safety – 12 volts is safe for children and pets
- A bigger range of good quality, smaller fittings to choose from
- Easier installation of cables in borders because all cables are flexible
- A better range of fittings to choose from
- A lot
- Easier to fix broken cables
- Can tolerate dampness or lamps blowing so less likely to trip circuits
* Solar lights are also a good option due to advances in technology. The advantages of solar lights are
- They are easy to install
- They are free of maintenance
- They have no running costs
- You can install the lights yourself
- They are safe for children and pets