Do’s and Don’ts When Planning Garden Lighting

Garden lighting can be a tricky thing to get right. Much like with interior lighting, exterior lighting comes with its own unique challenges to get over. In the article below, we’ll go over some dos and don’ts of outdoor lighting. We will also provide some outside lighting ideas to get you started revamping your outdoor living space.


Do’s of Outdoor Lighting


  • DO Layer Your Light

Just like inside the house, having layered light outdoors can provide a well-lit and beautiful place to enjoy your living space. Layering lights involves adding ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting when possible, creating a balanced look.

Ambient Outdoor Lights

Creating ambient light will provide the overall illumination for the garden. You can supplement it with other types of lighting from there.

One popular way is through overhead lighting. Hang lanterns or string lights above seating areas or even pathways. Similarly, you can hang pendant lights in a covered area to create an elegant touch.

Moonlighting is another common method of ambient lighting. This involves installing outside lights high overhead in the trees. It creates a similar effect as moonlight shining down through the tree tops and casts a soft, diffused glow below.


Task Lighting

If you have an outdoor dining area, you can add external lights to make it easier to see while dining. This style of light is also generally beneficial in entertainment areas. Pathway lighting can add an extra special touch visually while also qualifying as task lighting, which is recommended for safety.


Accent Lighting

Garden lamps can be used to accent interesting elements in the garden. Sculptures, water features or unique architectural elements can be accentuated using electric garden lights. Similarly, you can use garden lighting to uplight trees and shrubs, illuminate canopies and bring dramatic visual interest to the area.


Security Lighting

Ensure that your property is safe and secure with outside garden lights. Install motion sensor lights that will switch on when someone approaches to keep a clear view of entryways.

Make the area easier to navigate with step and pathway lighting. Use low-profile outdoor garden lights around decks, stairs and paths to illuminate the area and make it easier to see.



  • DO Use Warm Colour Temperatures Instead of Cool

Although cool lighting certainly has its place, you should not use it in your modern outdoor lighting scheme. Cool outdoor lighting can wash out your outdoor environment and make it less inviting.

Instead, you should choose warmer colours that look more natural outdoors. Warmer colours create a cosy atmosphere, which is perfect for enjoying outdoor living spaces at night.

Warm lights run across a large spectrum of options, so you can choose precisely which one is best for you. The most common LED garden lights use warm colour temperatures between 2700k and 3300k.


What is LED colour temperature? 

Colour temperature, also known as colour correlated temperature or CCT, is how you can tell how cool or warm LED fixtures are. Colour temperatures are rated on a scale between 1,000 and 10,000 Kelvin units.

If you want warmer temperatures, you’ll need to look lower on the scale. Cooler colour temperatures are higher up on the scale.

The sections of colour temperature include:


Warm white light: 2700K to 3500K

Natural white light: 4000K to 4500K

Cool white light: 5000K to 6500K

LED colour temperature guide


  • DO Add a Variety of Lumen Counts

In order to create a dynamic space, avoid using the same brightness in each garden lamp. By varying the brightness level, you can create depth and texture while setting a mood in various areas.

Different kinds of garden LED lights benefit from different lumen counts. General guidelines for brightnesses of various outdoor lights for garden include:

  • Step lighting: 12-100 lumens
  • Garden wall lights: 50-185 lumens
  • Path lighting: 100-200 lumens
  • Motion sensor lights: 300-700 lumens
  • Pool lights: 200-400 lumens
  • Flood lights: 700-1300 lumens


What Are Lumens?

Where colour temperature measures a light’s warmth or coolness, lumens measure their brightness. Before outdoor LED lights became the norm, halogen and incandescent bulbs were the available choices.

These traditional bulb styles measured their brightness in watts. LED bulbs instead measure brightness in lumens.

To get a rough idea of how watts translate to lumens, see below:

  • 40 watts equal 450 lumens
  • 60 watts equal 800 lumens
  • 75 watts equal 1100 lumens
  • 100 watts equal 1600 lumens

Using this information, you can better visualise what your different layers of light might look like.


  • DO Take Advantage of LED Lights

LED outdoor lighting is the preferred type of lighting in the modern age. LEDs plenty of beneficial points, including energy efficiency, choice of colour temperature and brightness, lack of heat output and so much more. Use them in your outdoor wall lighting, porch lighting, bollard decking lights and anywhere else you plan to add illumination outdoors.

  • Many of the benefits of LED mains powered garden lights are unique to LED lights alone. These include:

Energy efficiency. LED bulbs use 80 percent less energy than a traditional halogen bulb, which uses most of its energy as heat. Lower energy consumption means that you will get more bang for your buck.

Eco-friendly. The limited energy use is also better for the environment. Lower energy consumption reduces your carbon footprint which can create a positive impact on the climate.

Long life. While traditional bulbs run for an average of 1,000 hours, LED bulbs go for tens of thousands. This will lead to fewer replacements.

Cost-effective. A combination of less energy used and a lessened need for replacements will save you money both in the short and long term.

Versatility. With so many lumen counts and colour temperature variations, you can stay in control of exactly how your lights are used.

Durability. LED lights are made from hard-wearing materials and come with an IP rating. LED weatherproof lights prevent damage from befalling the lights from being exposed to the elements.


  • DO Choose Quality Fixtures

Outdoor lights are constantly exposed to wind, rain and sunshine. This can quickly cause wear and tear if you are not using high quality lighting. With quality lighting, you can be sure that the lights can withstand the elements without deteriorating immediately. Choose lights that are well built from high quality, corrosion-resistant materials. Also, be sure to choose lights that have the right IP rating.


Garden at night with LED bollards in borders

  • DO Be Mindful of The IP Rating

An IP rating, or Ingress Protection rating, is a way to tell how resilient a given light is against moisture and debris. Since your outdoor lighting will be exposed to wind, rain and likely snow, it is important that you choose waterproof outdoor lights. A water-tight light will give you peace of mind regarding potential water damage.

IP ratings are a crucial element of outside lights for house and home. This information will be your main defense against damages from the effects of weather.

IP ratings indicate a light’s resistance against both moisture and solid matter. By choosing the IP rating that best suits the fixture’s exposure to weather, you can ensure a longer life. It is a good idea to get familiar with IP ratings and what exactly they mean before shopping:


First Digit – Solids 


0  –  Offers no protection against entry of solids

1  –  Gives protection from solid objects greater in size than 50 millimeters in diameter

2  –  Gives protection from solid objects greater in size than 12.5 millimeters in diameter

3  –  Gives protection from solid objects greater in size than 2.5 millimeters in diameter

4  –  Gives protection from solid objects greater in size than one millimeter in diameter

5  –  Dust protected

6  –  Dust tight


Second Digits – Solids 


0  –  Offers no protection against entry of liquids

1  –  Gives protection against vertically falling droplets

2  –  Gives protection against water drops at a 15-degree angle

3  –  Gives protection against water spray up to a 60-degree angle

4  –  Gives protection against splashing water from any direction

5  –  Gives protection against low-pressure water jets

6  –  Gives protection against high-powered water jets

7  –  Gives protection against immersion in water at a depth of 1m for 30 minutes

8  –  Gives protection against longer periods of immersion


  • DO Complement The Architecture With Lighting

Choose lights with a material and finish that looks good with the existing architecture of the home and garden areas. You want the lights to blend into the environment seamlessly.

  • Your architecture can quickly become a focal point in your garden with the right lighting. Whether you have a little alcove or niche you want to illuminate or you have tall columns you want to draw attention to, the following types of accent lighting can help:

UPLIGHTING is a popular way to light the architecture in an area. This involves placing the lights on the ground or otherwise near it and then shining it upwards. Uplighting is often used for illuminating posts, columns and sculptures. You can also use it to accent the walls themselves. Similarly, using downlights to shine illumination down a wall instead of up can create visual drama.

WALL GRAZING can call attention to interesting textures. Positioning lights close to the wall will highlight these surface features and cast interesting shadows to draw out their details.

SPOTLIGHTS are another common style of lights when it comes to illuminating architecture. They are ideal for lighting up larger items or creating a silhouette against a wall. All you have to do is place the spotlight opposite a sculpture or tree in the direction of the wall to achieve this.


  • DO Light up Your Deck

If your deck is primarily where you spend your time outdoors, you should light it appropriately. Bollard light decking lights, recessed lighting and other low level lights tend to be the best choice in locations such as these.

Using low level lights along the walls near the deck, you can create a beautiful perimeter. This is a good way to zone out the various


  • DO Consider Security Lights

Lights can serve a greater purpose than just illuminating a space. They can also provide security to the home, as a well-lit garden could deter potential intruders from trying to access your property. You can also add lights expressly for that purpose, such as spotlights and flood lights.


  • DO Angle Your Lights

Having the lights angled away from eye level will cast lighting to see by without causing a glare in your eyes.


  • DO Space The Lights Evenly

This will ensure that the entire garden has plenty of illumination as opposed to grouping them together all in one place.



Don’ts of Outdoor Lighting


  • DON’T Choose Brightness Above all

Ultra-bright lights won’t necessarily be the best choice for LED garden lights. Though it may seem intuitive to use fewer, brighter lights, it can create an unattractive look in your space. Using varied brightness to achieve the same even spread of illumination will create a much more inviting space.


  • DON’T Just Cover The Wires, Bury Them

As you begin working through your garden lighting ideas, don’t neglect to think about the wires that connect to the lights. In order to avoid the hassle of replacing the wires often, as well as promoting safety, bury the light wires underground. Do this instead of just covering them with mulch, which can leave them vulnerable when mowing or when it rains.


  • DON’T Forget to Light The Stairs

Outdoor stairs can pose a real risk in the dark if they aren’t lit properly. Using recessed wall lights, you can illuminate the stairs both for safety and aesthetic purposes.


  • DON’T Neglect The Pathways

Throughout your garden, there are likely footpaths leading to various outdoor areas. By outlining the areas, you make it easier and safer for guests to find their way around. Bollard and spike lights tend to be the most popular options for this application.


  • DON’T Point Lights Directly at Your House

This will create an unattractive look and can even create a “UFO” beam style that can detract from the appearance of the house. Instead, use the landscape to filter the lighting and create moody shadows.


  • DON’T Skip Out on Design Input

One of the best things you can do is to get some perspective on your outdoor lighting ideas. It’s a good idea to consult a lighting designer for input on where to place the lights and other considerations to ensure you are happy with the results.


  • DON’T Choose The Wrong Size Porch Lights

Outdoor patio lights and porch lights should be scaled to the size of the door and house. For instance, if you plan to use a pair of lights to flank the doors, choose lights that are a quarter of the height of the door. If you only want to use one, choose a fixture that is approximately one-third of the height of the door.

Garden at night with illuminated pergola

  • DON’T Light Pathways in a Straight Line

This can leave guests feeling as if they are walking down an airport runway or a driveway. Instead, stagger the lighting and get creative to make the lighting experience unique and visually interesting.


  • DON’T Neglect The Unique Features

Using outdoor lantern lights, uplighters and other such fixtures, you can highlight trees, shrubs, sculptures, trees, walls, fountains and other points of interest in the garden. This will give them the attention they deserve while also creating a focal point outdoors.


  • DON’T Rely on Clear Lenses

Clear lenses could lead to an abrasive glare. Instead, opt for frosted diffusers, such as acrylic, to soften the light without dampening its overall brightness.



Outdoor Lighting Ideas


  1. LWA489 Round 10 Watt Black Exterior LED Wall Light

LWA489 10 watt round black halo effect exterior LED wall light

If you love minimalism in your lighting, you’re sure to adore the LWA489 Round 10 Watt Black Exterior LED Wall Light. This wall light features a simple disc shape that affixes to the wall using a short post. A total of 1000 lumens of 3000k warm white light bounces back onto the wall for a decorative touch as it illuminates the nearby area. It is crafted out of high quality aluminium and given an IP65 rating to protect it against the elements. The light has a 146-millimeter diameter with a projection from the wall of 123 millimeters.



  1. LWA491 6 Watt Black Outdoor LED Wall Light

LWA491 6 watt black outdoor LED wall light fitting with umbrella hat

Perfect as porch lights, the LWA491 6 Watt Black Outdoor LED Wall Light is a modern take on traditional outdoor lamps. It features a triangular shade that sits atop the opal acrylic diffuser, that softens the light as it shines. The fixture outputs 500 lumens of 3000k warm white light, which shines back onto the wall behind it. It is IP65 rated to ensure its resilience against the elements, promising the utmost in durability.



  1. LWA488 10 Watt Round Black Outdoor LED Wall Light

LWA488 10 watt round black modern outdoor LED wall light fitting

Dress up your outdoor space with the LWA488 10 Watt Round Black Outdoor LED Wall Light. This light features a tall, thin post with a disc lamp positioned at the top. It shines 1000 lumens of 3000k warm white light downward through its gentle acrylic diffuser. The light is built to last out of premium aluminium that has been given an IP65 rating to protect it from the elements. It measures 330 millimeters in length by 146 millimeters in width by 174 millimeters in height.



  1. LWA369 3 Watt Brass Finish Outdoor LED Wall Light

LWA369 3 watt brass external wall lights

Bring some elegance to your outdoor living space with the LWA369 3 Watt Brass Finish Outdoor LED Wall Light. This wall light features a cylindrical exterior crafted out of high quality aluminium and finished in rich brass. It shines 300 lumens of 3000k warm white light downward onto the wall beneath it at a 20-degree beam angle. The light measures 90 millimeters in height by 44 millimeters in width by 69 millimeters in depth and is IP65 rated for protection against the elements.



  1. LFL062 12 Watt 600mm Tall Twin Black Spotlight LED Bollard Light

LFL062-1 12 watt twin head spotlight design outdoor bollard light

Using the LFL062 12 Watt 600mm Tall Twin Black Spotlight LED Bollard Light, you can light up pathways in a stylish way. This light features a tall post with double light heads that shine a total of 1000 lumens of bright, 3000k warm white light downward. The heads are directional, so you can tilt them to aim the beam of light where you’d like them. The product is built to last out of premium aluminium and IP65 rated against weather. The black finish allows the fixture to be incorporated anywhere, regardless of any decor you may have in the surrounding areas.



  1. ODL035 6 Watt LED Black Finish Garden Spike Light

ODL035 6 watt black LED spike garden lighting

Accent unique features in your garden with the ODL035 6 Watt LED Black Finish Garden Spike Light. This light features a light head that can be tilted up and down to shine the 420 lumens of 3000k warm white light exactly where you want it. The fixture is particularly well suited for highlighting trees, fountains, shrubs, walls and anything else that deserves a little extra attention. The IP67 rating makes the light waterproof, so you won’t have to worry about rain or snow. The light is crafted out of high quality aluminium that is finished in a sleek anodized black. Overall, the lights measure 181 millimeters in height by 78 millimeters in width.



  1. LBL249 12 Watt Round Black Surface Mounted Soffit LED Downlight

LBL249 12 watt black ip65 outdoor LED spotlights

Light your home’s exterior as easily as your garden with the LBL249 12 Watt Round Black Surface Mounted Soffit LED Downlight. This soffit light provides similar downward lighting as recessed lights, meant for areas that cannot accommodate a recessed fixture. The fixture has a cylindrical shape with an opal acrylic diffuser on the bottom. The diffuser softens the 1000 lumens of 3000k warm white light to avoid any glare. Measuring 118 millimeters in height with a 102-millimeter diameter, the light is fabricated out of durable aluminium to easily withstand the effects of the elements with its rating of IP65.



  1. ODL047A 1 Watt Square Brass Finish LED Ground or Decking Light

ODL047A 1 watt brass LED ground lights outdoor

Create a beautiful, well-lit deck with the ODL047A 1 Watt Square Brass Finish LED Ground or Decking Light. The light can be used either in the deck flooring or in the ground near walkways just as easily. Its small size of 38 millimeters by 38 millimeters allows the light to be placed just about anywhere. The fixture outputs 70 lumens of 3000k warm white light, making multiples especially good for use in clusters. The polished brass finish gives the light a contemporary and sophisticated look.

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