Introducing lighting into your garden has
numerous benefits. Gone is the time when
it was just used for a driveway or security.
Today, there are various ways that it can
enhance your garden, allow you to stay
outside longer in the evenings, and
ultimately be a deterrent for burglars.
At the moment, there are three types
of lighting. Solar, which is cheap and
ecologically friendly but, unfortunately,
tends not to be very effective as its
illumination is not very strong.
Then there is plug and play, the do-it-yourself version where you plug a
transformer into an indoor or outdoor
socket and position the lights yourself, and
the custom-designed and installed lighting
systems which often include aspects of the
Even if you plan to use the do-it-yourself
route you might not, until you
get started, realise what a minefield it is.
Initially, you will have to decide what you
want to illuminate and then investigate what
options are available. You will need to think
about your home and the areas around it –
the building itself, both front and back –
the driveway, pathways, patio, decking,
whatever you have, and then decide
whether all or just part of it comes into the
Secondly, the garden itself – are you just
looking at lighting your bedding plants and
trees – or do you want to highlight the odd
feature such as a statue or a pond?
You will need to look at the voltage
systems. There are two different types.
Low voltage is used for highlighting
bedding, low statues, decking and walkways,
and mains voltage (240v) which is for larger
objects such as buildings, large trees or
even a big statue.
Then there is the question of what type
of bulbs to use. This will vary depending on
what type of effect you want to achieve as
well as the resulting colour. You will also
need to bear in mind that large halogen
casings can be unsightly, with the bulbs
having the reputation for not lasting very
long. Colour, too, is important. Sodium
bulbs will give an orange/yellow glow,
while a metal halide will produce a
As technology progresses, LEDs are
becoming much more commonplace.
The lamps, which are available in various
colours, are becoming cheaper and the
bulbs, which last virtually a lifetime, utilise
a minimal amount of electricity. These are
ideal for walkways, decking and steps. A
bonus is that, because of their low output,
you can add multiple lights onto a single
The positioning of your lighting will
ultimately determine the effect that you
will achieve. For example, you can highlight
a tree in various ways. By putting a light in
a tree, it will cause a different splash to when
you point a light at it.
Creating the right glow is particularly
important if you have a moveable object –
a statue, for example. You might wish to
highlight it from several different angles,
using more than one light, depending
on the effect you want. A consideration
could be that you wish to create a perfect
silhouette behind it or just a shadow.
Web site created by Mark Griffin