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4 Creative Ways to Light Your Garden

Perspective sketch by Simon Orchard Garden Design

Adding lighting elements can really help you to make the most of your outside space, and extend the hours of enjoyment you can get from your garden. This month we’ve teamed up David Boultbee, from Ultra LEDs, who shares his top tips for lighting your garden.

During the warmer months, our gardens become almost like another room in the home, where we dine, entertain, and relax in the evenings. As such, it makes sense that we need to find a way to light them after dark. But this can be surprisingly difficult to do well. Too much light can look gaudy or overly bright, while not enough lighting can make the space look uninviting and lacking in atmosphere.

The key to creating a beautiful designer garden that you’ll love spending time in after dark is to think carefully about where lighting will be positioned, and incorporating it in a way that really makes your space shine. Here are our 4 top tips for creating a space which looks every bit as stunning after dark as it does during the day:

1. Go for warm toned bulbs for an inviting look

The types of bulbs you choose can have a big impact on the look and feel of your space. Bright, cool white lighting provides great illumination and, while this is great for security lights or floodlights, it’s less suitable when you want to create a relaxing, romantic and inviting look. Warm white lights create the most welcoming ambience, so look for lighting options and bulbs in this tone. If you need to increase the brightness, just look for warm white bulbs in a higher lumen count. We'd also recommend using LED styles instead of halogen bulbs, as these are much more energy efficient, and tend to last much longer.

A contemporary pergola lit by festoon lights in a garden

2. Consider installing LED strip lighting for a dramatic effect

LED strip lighting can create an incredibly dramatic and modern look, especially when it's positioned along the edges of pathways, underneath steps, or along raised flowerbeds. It will also make your pathways safer to navigate when it’s dark and, unlike single bulb lights, it will provide consistent illumination across the length of the walkway. For added wow-factor, you could even use coloured strip lighting, or colour-changing lights.

3. Highlight focal points

You can also use lighting to highlight your garden's best features after dark by positioning some uplights or spotlights in a way that will really let the focal points of your garden shine. This type of lighting can be especially effective in the dark winter months, as it will ensure that any focal points can be seen when the nights start to draw in.

Remember, a little goes a long way with this type of lighting, so be tactical when deciding which features to illuminate. If your garden has a clear centrepiece, like a water feature, statue, or statement topiary bush, then this is a good place to focus your lighting. Pathways and seating areas should also be lit, regardless of whereabouts in your garden they are positioned.

4. Include a choice of lighting options to suit different moods

Your garden probably already fulfils a wide variety of different functions, from dining and relaxing, to holding garden parties or late-night gatherings. So, to really make the most of your garden, you’ll want to install a variety of different lighting options, so you can adjust the tone and brightness to suit different occasions and activities.

Exactly how many lighting options you'll need will depend on the size of your garden but, generally, a combination of wall-mounted lights, some pathway lighting, a few uplights on focal points, and maybe a string of fairy or festoon lights will provide you with ample options. These days, it's even possible to buy lighting with dimmer switches or adjustable settings, giving you total control over the atmosphere and brightness in your space. You can also add battery powered candles, lanterns, and tealights to add a final touch of atmosphere to seating areas and pathways.

A garden should be a space that you can enjoy long after the sun has set. And, after all the time and effort you’ve put into making your outside space look incredible, it’s only natural that you'll want a way to show it off at all hours. So, be sure to take our tips on board to design an outdoor area that looks perfectly inviting after dark.

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