Six Steps to Stunning Garden Lighting (With Examples)

11 April 2017

Garden and Outdoor Lights
Garden and Outdoor Lights
Investing in garden lighting is a great opportunity to highlight its best features. While during daylight hours you can see everything, good and bad, in the evening the good can literally shine. Here are six steps to attractively lighting your garden this summer:

Step 1 – Remember that a little goes a long way

Only light your garden’s best features, and choose the most appropriate light for the job. Flood lights may be good for security, but less than flattering for the look and feel of your garden. If you are installing security lights, make sure you have the option to easily switch them off. You don’t want them to ruin the ambience as your garden party gets into full swing!

Step 2 – Make a plan

Break your project down into areas such as paths, flower beds, trees, walls, decking and furniture. Each will need a different approach. Small flood lights at the base of a tree shining upwards can be used to great effect, and candle lights for your patio table can create a warm and cosy atmosphere.
Outdoor LED Lantern Light On Table LED Lantern Light
LED Spike Lights LED Spike Lights
Consider spike lights for your garden path to combine practical application with an attractive look. Hanging lantern lights from tree branches or gazebos can create a real party atmosphere.

Step 3 – Choose a look

You should decide on an overall look or theme for your light fittings. Mixing vintage light fittings with modern chrome designs might not result in the look you want! Consider the overall environment when deciding on a theme. If you live in a modern new build, for example, contemporary garden lighting may complement the rest of your building and outdoor area; or, you may choose to go for a contrasting look and feel. The point to remember is to make a conscious decision on the look you want to achieve. The final result will be better for it.

Step 4 – Experiment

Use a torch to experiment with different angles of light on the various features in your garden and compare the effects they produce. Also take note of the shadows created and consider how they affect your overall design.
Garden lights in front of stone wall Lighting a stone wall
LED Garden Lights in Flower Bed LED Spike Lights
LED flood light at the base of a tree Flood at the base of a tree

Step 5 – Choose a power source

Decide how your lights will be powered – mains, solar or battery powered. Each has pros and cons:

Mains powered

More expensive to install and requires an electrician (unless you plug them into the mains rather than wiring them in), but the payoff is more control and a more consistent and reliable power source, and therefore quality of light.

Battery powered

Simple to install and you don’t need an electrician. You also have the added flexibility of being able to relocate them easily. The main downside is that batteries run out of charge and will need replacing, which is an added expense, and the quality of light emitted will diminish with the battery. It’s also worth bearing in mind that cold temperatures will affect the batteries and result in less power output. That being said, a top quality battery powered light can be a cheap, convenient and effective choice.

Solar powered

With similar pros and cons as battery powered lights, solar powered lights have the additional benefit of not having any batteries to replace. The downside, however, is that the power output from solar powered will be lower. For subtle, softer lighting, solar can be good option and terrific value for money.

Step 6 – Finalise your plan and go shopping!

With all of the key decisions made (what you are going to illuminate in your garden and how you are going to do it) and put into your plan, you’ll now have a comprehensive shopping list to work through. Before you buy anything though, visit a garden centre or two, and look at the different types of garden lights. Being able to see and touch the various designs in person will allow you to better visualise how they will look in your garden. This is a great opportunity to make any last minute tweaks to your plan to get it just right. Finally, you can shop around online to find the lights you want at the best price. Look for a reputable seller, and check the IP ratings and the warranty information for the products you select. Many sellers offer extended warranties that you have to register to benefit from, so it’s worth taking the extra few minutes to make sure you have all of the relevant information before you buy. You are, after all, investing in something that will enhance your garden and your enjoyment of it for years to come.