If you're looking for ideas, inspiration, and great tips for lighting your garden and outdoor space, then you're in the right place.
That's because in this fast to read yet valuable article you'll discover:
- 3 costly lighting mistakes most make and how you can avoid them
- How to layer your lights and why you want to
- Ideas, inspiration, and a whole lot more so you get beautiful lighting in your garden and outdoor space
First, I'll start with 3 common lighting mistakes most make and how you can avoid them.
Why start with this?
Because once you know the 3 mistakes and how to avoid them, when you're choosing lights for your garden, you won't end up with a garden and outdoor space that looks like a badly knitted cardigan.
3 Common Outdoor Lighting Mistakes Most Make & How You Can Avoid Them
- Overlighting The Area
A garden isn't a football stadium, so it shouldn't be lit up like one. The other thing is if you overlight your area it looks like a badly knitted cardigan at the opera. Ugly.
- Choose The Wrong Type Of Lights
A nice red wine goes well with a lamb roast. And that's how you should think about your outdoor area. What will compliment it, not clash with it.
- Poor Placement Of Lights
One wouldn't put a table in a doorway because that wouldn't work, and the table would stop the flow. And so it is with outdoor lighting. You want the area to flow nicely, and for the lighting to be there, without being offensive to your eyes.
You now know more than most when it comes to outdoor lighting. Next, I'm going to give you one more valuable concept, which just so happens to be critical for nailing your outdoor lighting ideas.
How to Plan Your Garden Lighting Scheme… Layer Your Lighting
Layering the lighting is a concept very few people know about, understand, or know how to do correctly, yet it’s the secret ingredient to creating a beautiful outdoor space.
What’s layering the lighting?
When you layer the lighting, you put lights at different heights and levels, you’re not just putting lights overhead like most people do. This layered effect shows off your outdoor area in a unique and stunning way you could never achieve with lights only placed overhead.
Here Are A Few Ideas For Layering Your Lights…
- Lights could go under bench seats to light the area under the seat, and just out in front of the seat
- Lights could go at the front of the steps, this not only looks great it also highlights the step when it’s dark at night
- Lights shining down a fence or brick wall, or lights shining from the ground level up onto the fence or wall.
- Festoon lights overhead, then garden lights placed in the garden
- Fairy or festoon lights along tree branches with garden lights placed around the garden
These are just a few ways you can layer your lights so you get beautiful garden lighting.
The key thing is that you place lights at different height levels, without overdoing it, or overlighting your outdoor space.
With your garden lighting design, if you keep in mind the 3 common lighting most make, and you layer your lights, you'll create a stunning outdoor living area you love and so do others.
Now let's take a look at some garden lighting ideas
If you want to turn a tree into a beautiful nighttime feature, fairy lights are the way to go. They are easy to use, give off a beautiful light, and you don't need to get an electrician to install them.
All our fairy lights are 24VDC low voltage and are waterproof rated so you can leave them out permanently.
If you're looking to purchase fairy lights make sure you get ones with light spacings every 5cm.
Because the majority of fairy lights on the market have 10cm light spacings, with 5cm light spacings you get twice the lights over the same distance. Which means, you get more light and use less cable because you won't have to wrap the cable as close together.
If you love a good garden party with friends and family, then everyone will appreciate your beautiful fairy lights.
If you want some great outdoor lighting ideas, here's one of the best. String lights are also known as festoon lights.
The great thing about festoon lights is the stunning ambient lighting effect you get. As far as hanging lights go, string lights are the best because you can use them in so many different places.
- Rooftop garden
- Outdoor patio
- Deck Lights
- Garden lighting
- Courtyard garden
- Garden pergola
- Alfresco dining area
- In trees
With string lights, you have a couple of options…
You can get 240 volt festoon lights or 24 volt low voltage festoon lights.
What's the difference?
240 volt has glass bulbs, and the 24 volt low voltage festoon lights have shatterproof PVC bulbs. And the 24V runs off a transformer that plugs into a power point.
The great thing about festoon lights is you can choose the type of bulb shape you love the look of. From small round fancy globes to bigger bulbs with long led filaments in them.
Here's An Example Of Some Of The LED Bulbs For Festoon Lights.
When choosing your string lights, led bulbs are the best choice. And you'll want bulbs that put out a warm glow. If you look for bulbs that are 2200K you'll get that beautiful warm white ambient glow.
String lights usually come in lengths of 10m and 20m and they join together for longer runs.
You'll want to get dimmable string lights so you can control the level of light brightness you want. Because there's nothing worse than lights that are too bright.
If you want to have the best ever garden party, string up some festoon lights because they are beautiful feature lighting.
Stake lights and spike lights are the same things, you push the spike into the ground so the light stays in place. You can also take the spike off and mount the light base to any number of surfaces.
When it comes to lighting your outdoor space, you can use garden spike lights in plenty of ways.
- Light trees, shrubs, and plants
- Tree branches
- Led path lights
- Wall Light
- Potted plants
- Pathway lighting
- Garden fences
It's a matter of working out where you'd like your lights to go, and how what you're looking to light.
We have 3watt and 7watt garden spike lights. The 7watt is brighter and throws of a wider beam light than the 3watt. So if you didn't want a heap of light, you'd go a lower watt for your garden lighting.
If you're looking to use stip lights as outdoor lights, then it's important you get strip lighting that's waterproof rated. Get IP65 and above, because strip lights with a high waterproof rating are designed for permanent outdoor use.
How To Use Strip Lights
- Step lights
- Light under bench seats
- Under outdoor tables
- Under railing edges
- Stone globe lights
- Outdoor lighting for BBQ areas
- Under gutter eves
- Around pool edges
Understanding The Limitations Of Strip Lights
If you're looking to use strip lights in your outdoor space then you'll need to find out what's the maximum distance you can have in one run before you get a voltage drop.
What happens with voltage drop is that the lights towards the end of the run are dull compared to the lights at the start of the run. You may have to power the strip lights from the start and the end, or from the start and halfway along.
The other thing about strip lights is that they a small and thin, so you'll have to take care with any joins you make and make sure they stay waterproof.
Outdoor Hanging Lights
Outdoor hanging lights are a great idea because they add depth, beauty and a stylish look to your outdoor living area.
Maybe you're looking at putting festoon lights in your outdoor area, or maybe you want to have some string lights near a wooden wall or structure. What you could do is, get some festoon droppers that are different lengths, so the bulbs hang down lower.
Example dropper length: 50cm, 70cm, 1m, 1.2m. Now the bulbs are hanging down lower which gives your outdoor area an eye-catching new look.
When it comes to garden lights, as long as they improve the appeal of your garden on an evening, then you've made a good choice in lighting.
You're better to underlight an area than overlight. Garden lighting shouldn't be offensive to your eyeballs.
The entire garden doesn't need to be lit up. A few well-placed lights are the way to do it, and then the shadows that are cast off from the lights add to the nighttime appeal.
Wrap Fairy Lights Around A Pergola
What you do is wrap the lights around the pergola structure. If you've got some type of plant growing over your pergola even better, because it's all going to look stunning lit up.
Or you can use the fairy lights like string lights, run them up and down the timber structure.
You could even use string light and the look of the exposed bulbs adds to the appeal.
Light Up Walls
Wall lights are a great idea because a big chunk of plain, dull, boring walls, can get turned into a beautiful feature.
You can use garden spike lights as wall lights if you wanted, you simply take off the spike part, then attach the light base to whatever surface you want.
Light Up Fences
Some lights that shine down the fence give the fence some nighttime character and cast light onto plants and whatever else is below the lights.
If you've got a hedge that sits below the fence line, when you put some lights on the fence, it's an easy way to light your hedge and bring it to the life in the evening.
Important Factors To Consider With Any Garden Lighting
With your outdoor lighting, consider where you're looking to place the lights. For example, if you were lighting the outdoor area where you sit and eat. You don't want light shining directly in your eyes.
In your eating area, you want to consider outdoor lighting you can dim. Why? Because light that's suitable for eating may be too bright for later in the evening when it's party time.
The other thing is...
Get LED lights because they don't produce heat like other lights and they last longer.
Don't face lights directly towards where you sit and eat. If the lights are down low and shine directly at you, it's blinding.
A dark path creates problems for you if you're coming home late a night after a few drinks. No one wants to stumble, fall over, and hurt themselves all because they couldn't see where they were walking.
When it comes to garden lighting ideas for pathways you can use low voltage lights or solar lights.
A few well-placed lights on your pathway ensure you make it in the door without a broken nose.
If you're after some led pathway lights deals, check our products page.
Solar lights can be the best idea or the worst idea, here's what I mean. If they stop charging or don't come on at the time you need them on, then solar-powered lights are a bad idea.
If they last for years, then they are a great idea.
If you want some outdoor lighting that draws eye-balls, looks stunning and adds value to your outdoor space, then you may want to install some pendant lights.
A pendant light over an outdoor table looks fabulous.
For security lighting, you can have lights that come on at a set time every evening, so they automatically light an area. Or you can install lights that are triggered by movement.
Security lights don't have to be super bright and intense. Maybe you've got a few dark areas or corners of your yard that could do with a bit of light.
Garden lights or outdoor wall lights might give you the light you need to feel more secure.
Fire Pit Lights
What sort of outdoor lighting can you use over a fire pit?
Plenty of customers use festoon lights or string lights, you want to put the lights high enough so they avoid the heat from the fire.
Low voltage string lights are a great option.
Using Light To Create A Focal Point
To create a focal point with light here's how you can go about it. For an outdoor dining area, lights that hang down over the table create a beautiful focal point.
- Lights wrapped about timber or metal structure
- Tree branches lit up
- Wall lights on a timber or concrete fence
- Exposed bulbs
- Paper lanterns
If you've got a deck, deck lights are a great option if you're after lighting that's not too bright, yet creates a relaxing mood.
Here's what's important to understand about deck lights. Space them out, from 1.2m+ is the best spacing.
Because if you put them too close together, your deck lights clustered and like a runway strip. When you've got lights placed too close together you'll find they shine in your eyes and annoy you.
Garden Pond Lights
You can put lights in the pond that change colour, or you can shine light onto the pond area.
Warm White Or Cool White?
When it comes to choosing the light colour for your garden lighting here are a couple of things to consider.
Cool White: This is a crisp bright white, think daylight.
Warm White: Is a softer warm glow, think ambient glow.
Which white should you choose?
This comes down to personal choice, if you're after a more relaxed vibe, go warm white. If you like bright, crisp, sharp whites, then go cool white.
Summary Garden Lighting Ideas
Here's what you want to do...
Don't overlight the area, often less if more. Choose outdoor lighting that compliments your garden space, not clashes. Work out the best placement for your lights, you may have to play with this a little to get it right.
If you layer your lights and put lights at different height levels you'll create a beautiful outdoor living space you love and enjoy, and so do family and friends.
If you'd love some help working out how to light your garden, get in touch with me and I'll help you out.