solar outdoor light

The right outdoor lighting will keep the party going all night Leave a comment

IT might feel as though the cold, dark days of winter will never end but as the weather begins to warm up, more of us are looking to extend the use of our outdoor areas well beyond the sun going down.

And while preparing the pool, scrubbing the deck and tidying up the patio is important, too many of us are overlooking a key element for making our outdoor spaces more appealing, day and night.

Whether you’re looking to host a few friends or a big party, outdoor lighting is critical for creating beautiful, safe spaces that are a pleasure to use and easy to navigate.

“Lighting shouldn’t only be used to make your outdoor space usable at night,” says Rosalind Wong, the marketing manager from lighting retailer Satelight.

“If you want to create a calm, tranquil atmosphere, consider soft, warm lighting or you can highlight key elements within the garden, such as trees, which create interesting layers and shadow play.”

Taking a creative approach to lighting, mixing traditional candles and lanterns with electrical uplights and submersible spotlights in water features can bring even the plainest gardens to life.

“People are now looking to make interior spaces flow into their outdoor areas,” says Rosalind. “Alfresco areas, courtyards and balconies are seen as extensions of the interior. The design of these outdoor rooms is becoming more important where decorative lighting is being increasingly incorporated.”

Decorative lighting — such as string and special outdoor pendant lights — is an important part of outdoor lighting but, like indoor spaces, it’s also important to remember functional and task-based lighting.

“Concentrate on your main space first, such as your outdoor entertaining area,” says Rosalind. “Treat this space like you would an interior room by incorporating a mix of task and ambient lighting.”

Working out what the purpose of the space is, whether it’s for dining, creating an intimate space or a pathway from one area to another, will help with choosing your lights.

“Consider task lights over barbecue areas as this gives you general, wide-angle beamed, usable illumination,” Rosalind says.

Carefully placed floodlights can highlight areas of the garden you want to show off, but resist lighting the entire garden. Spacing lights will give your lighting an elegant feel.

Like paving and other inbuilt outdoor elements, lighting is best considered before a garden is built so if you’re planning a landscaping overhaul, ensure you add a lighting plan to the mix.

If you’re keen to go DIY, ensure you are aware of safety precautions and, if in doubt, hire an electrician to do it right the first time.

Alternatively, go for affordable solar lights, which are ideal for pathways.

“Low voltage (12v) LED lighting is also a good option for DIY,” says Rosalind.

The long-lasting nature of LED lights means you’ll be able to enjoy your evenings for years to come.

TIP: Who doesn’t love some magical fairy lights in the garden? When you’re shopping, be sure to choose ones with an outdoor rating. LED bulbs will last years, but incandescent bulbs will give you a beautiful soft glow. Solar string lights are a great option if you want to hang them far from an outlet.

TIP: Having enough exterior outlets is a must for hanging string lights and lanterns. Instead of running cords through an open window or using power boards, invest in having outdoor outlets professionally installed. It will make your garden safer and you’ll be able to choose exactly where you want the outlets to go.

TIP: While there are several types of electrical outdoor lighting now available — from fibre optics and LEDs to halogen and fluorescent lighting — some can be complicated to install. Make sure to consult an electrician or lighting designer unless the system is created for DIY purposes.



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