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For those who spend a lot of time in their outdoor living spaces, outdoor lighting is quite important. Without proper garden lighting, spending time outdoors can feel uncomfortable or even unsafe. Below, we will talk about exterior Lighting and how you can work it into the various areas of your outdoor living space.
General Advice on How To Light a Garden
There are a few general things to keep in mind when you are planning to light up your outdoor space with exterior LED lighting:
– Stay Flexible. The most important thing when it comes to successfully adding outdoor LED lighting you are proud of is to stay flexible. Many people tend to stop at outside LED wall lighting, but that won’t give you the best results. Don’t limit yourself to only one type of light. Instead, layer the light using a mix of fixtures like bollard lights, spike lights, underground lights and LED soffit lights.
– Focus on green areas. It is easy to forget about other aspects of your garden when the seating area gets most of the attention. Make sure the entire garden is well lit by putting lights everywhere in your outdoor space, such as near the flowerbeds, shrubbery and other plant life. Soft lighting is usually best here.
– Consider LEDs. LED lights are famous for their energy efficiency, but they also make the ideal choice for lighting areas of all types. Using LED garden lights in your garden design, you will have more control over not just the brightness of the lights but also the colour temperature. Furthermore, since LED lights are low voltage compared to traditional lights, you won’t have to bother with burying cables to keep them lit up.
– Include decking lights. Decks can be pretty one-dimensional. Installing recessed LED lights into the boards of a decked terrace is creative and artistic to provide a place you will look forward to spending time. A few low lights along the seating areas of the deck are also a good idea. This is also a great thing to do for LED patio lighting.
– Light up the trees. Using LED spotlights, you can shine light onto the trees. This will not only light up those otherwise empty areas, but it will also add flair to them by highlighting the shape of the trees and turning them into focal points all of their own.
– Keep in mind their purpose. At the end of the day, exterior lighting has four main functions you should remember when planning your fixtures:
– Access. It allows people to safely move around the areas of the property.
– Usability. It allows the garden to be used at night, so you can treat it as an extension of the interior area.
– Security. It discourages trespassers from coming onto the property unannounced since it is well lit.
– Aesthetics. It will make the landscaping look its best, even at night.
How To Light a Front Porch
The front porch is often the first thing that a guest will see when they come to your home; it should be inviting and welcoming. Below are a few ideas for lighting your front porch.
If you want to make a dramatic entrance, you can choose a statement pendant for the porch and hang it in the entryway just above the door.
Combine Practicality and Aesthetics
Not every porch light has to provide enough light to see by. Adding outdoor wall lighting to your porch area will help spread out the illumination more easily while also adding extra visual appeal.
Illuminate the Steps
Having stair lighting along the steps leading up to your home will not only improve their appearance but will also make it safer to walk around at night.
Draw Attention to Architectural Features
If your front porch has pillars or other eye-catching points, use lights to draw attention to them and make the place stand out from the street. This will also improve the curb appeal.
Take Advantage of Uplighters
Using uplights, you can draw attention to features of the porch as well, from potted plants to accent walls to architectural features such as pillars.
Use a Spotlight
Spotlights are versatile lights that can be used to shine a light on plants or other specific items. They also work well as ambient lighting to illuminate a larger area of the porch.
Ideas for How To Light an Outdoor Patio Area
When considering LED patio lighting, there are a few main areas you should focus on:
– Security spaces. If the patio is near a side yard, front door, back door or driveway, being well lit can prevent intruders from coming onto the property.
– Entertainment areas. Well-lit patios make the space more enjoyable to relax on. Having accent lights, lamps, ambient lights and even wall lighting where applicable can make a huge difference.
– Safety areas. Areas between the landscape surfaces like the edge of the patio where it meets the grass will make it easier for your guests to navigate the change in landscape.
How To Light the Patio
– Highlight certain zones. such as the path that winds through it, the stairs, the seating area and flower beds. This will give the area a multidimensional appeal that is more visually interesting.
– Use overhead pendants. By hanging a pendant above a table, you can create a beautiful outdoor dining area.
– Use freestanding lights. Freestanding lights can not only give the area a quirky look, but they provide portable lighting that you can move to where you need it at any given time.
– Outdoor LED wall lighting. Installing wall lights will provide a layered effect while also illuminating the back of the house if you have a traditional patio setup.
– Low level illumination. Lighting up the borders of your patio or the stairs leading up to it will not only give it a more modern appearance; it will also make moving across the space a safer experience.
Pros and Cons of Solar Garden Lighting
If you are considering solar lights for your outdoor space, it is important to examine both the pros and cons:
Benefits of Solar Lighting:
- There is no need for electricity, meaning no need to bury cables
- Can be placed anywhere since electricity and wiring aren’t needed
- No increase to the electricity bill
- Lights stay on for longer at night in the summer since there is more sun exposure
- Can be installed in veggie gardens or flowerbeds without fear of digging and hitting wires
- They are eco-friendly and cost less than non-solar lights over time
Drawbacks of Solar Lighting:
- Must be placed in a location where they get enough light during the day, which can be limiting
- Usually not a good choice in places with bushes, shrubs, trees, plants or other features that block out the sun
- They must be regularly cleaned to ensure there is no debris blocking the panel needed to charge the batteries
- On cloudy days, they might not stay on as long at night since they wouldn’t get as much sunlight
Do You Need To Use IP Rated Lights in the Garden?
Because the lights will be outdoors and exposed to the elements, it is necessary to have IP rated outdoor lights. IP ratings, or Ingress Protection ratings, determine how safe a light is against both wet and dry contact. The first number of the rating indicates its protection against solids, while the second number indicates its protection against liquids and moisture.
Below are the ratings for both resistance to solids and water:
0 – No protection
1 – Protection from damage by objects larger than 50mm
2 – Protection from damage by objects larger than 12.5mm
3 – Protection from damage by objects larger than 2.5mm
4 – Protection from damage by objects larger than 1mm
5 – Dust Protected – protects against some entry of dust
6 – Dust Tight – protects against all entry of dust
0 – No Protection
1 – Protects from damage by vertical dripping water
2 – Protects from damage by vertical dripping water when tilted 15 degrees
3 – Protects from damage by vertical sprays of water when tilted 60 degrees
4 – Protects from damage by splashes of water in any direction
5 – Protects from damage by light jet water in any direction
6 – Protects from damage by strong jets of water in any direction
7 – Protects from complete immersion up to one metre
8 – Protects from complete immersion at depths beyond one metre
Generally speaking, it is best to have an IP65 rating at the very least for outdoor lighting. This should provide adequate protection against dust, soil and rain.
Can I Use Lighting Sensors on My Garden Lights?
Yes, you are free to use light sensors. There are two types you can use:
– PIR Motion. A PIR motion sensor connects to the lighting circuit outdoors. It turns the lights on for a certain length of time after movement has been detected.
– Photocell Sensor. A Photocell sensor picks up on light levels, so it will switch on automatically when it starts to become dark. As it becomes light again in the morning, the lights will turn off.
Both of these lights have advantages and drawbacks. For instance, PIR movement sensors require someone or something to move right in front of the sensor to switch it on. This can be annoying if you are sitting away from it and have to keep getting up to trigger it. Even so, PIR sensors are good for security lighting, as they will turn on when intruders move in front of it. On the other hand, a photocell sensor will work automatically to turn the lights on at dusk. Because of this, it will stay on all night which is a waste of energy and light.
Lighting Ideas for Outdoor Spaces
Perfect for lighting large front porches, the LWA415 18 Watt Black Up And Down LED Outdoor Wall Washer is good way to provide soft, gentle lighting and an aesthetic appearance. The black coating makes it compatible with any colour wall paint. The light shines up and down on the wall itself for an artistic touch.
Simple and classic, the LWA214 9 Watt LED Black Outdoor Wall Light makes a good choice for traditional outdoor spaces. It can be placed on a porch, against patio walls or on featured garden walls to draw attention to certain items of areas. It outputs 800 lumens of 3000k warm white light, so it is soft on the eyes while still being bright.
Great for making a front porch look more inviting, the LWA454 6 Watt Wall Wash LED Outdoor Wall Light shines light down the wall while casting enough illumination to see by. This LED light shines 600 lumens of 3000k warm white light from its aluminum fixture. It comes in black or white, so you can match it to any exterior area.
Make your decks feel cozier, more artistic and better lit with the ODL047 1 Watt Round Brass Finish LED Ground Or Decking Light. The light can be tucked away in the decking boards in any arrangement you prefer, giving the space plenty of personality. It can also be used in the ground to outline patios, walkways or other outdoor features.
Make your porch feel more welcoming and inviting by installing the LDC412 12 Watt Black LED Soffit Downlight Fitting in the ceiling. A recessed light instantly gives a more modern look and feel, offering a contemporary update to your home. The sleek black colour and round shape make it well suited for placement in porch areas of any colour or style.
Draw attention to garden walls, water features, beautiful shrubbery and more with this ODL035 6 Watt LED Black Finish Garden Spike Light. It can also be used to shine light onto the side of a house or a patio area, offering a supplemental glow that makes the space feel homier. The black hue and short design make it non-distracting.
Illuminate garden pathways, driveways, patio perimeters and beyond with this LFL026 10 Watt 700mm Tall Black LED Bollard Light. This sleek ground light extends straight up a short 700-millimeter distance and shines 900 lumens of warm white light down at the space below it. This will make it easier for guests to navigate your outdoor area while also enhancing its visual appeal.
Using outdoor LED lighting can transform a dark and drab outdoor area into one to be proud of. Above, we discussed ideas for lighting your porch and patio. We also examined solar lighting benefits and the importance of IP ratings. Keep this information in mind as you plan and shop for your new garden lights.