7 Steps to choosing garden lighting
Picking the right lights for your garden may seem like a chore, but it doesn’t need to be. Follow these steps to find the best lighting for your garden easily:
1. Decide on the type of lights:
There are a variety of garden and outdoor lighting available based on the area that needs to be illuminated. Wall lights can be used for porches and garden walls, while deck and stair lights are available for stepped areas. Choose from spotlights, spike lights and in ground lights for landscaping, and underwater lights and spotlights for water features. Bollards and in grounds lights are good choices for lighting pathways.
2. Choose a style:
Garden lighting comes in mainly three design styles that fit a range of homes styles. Traditional lighting styles feature intricate patterns and details, often curving or geometrical. These styles go well with traditional, rustic and country style homes and gardens. Lighting design in contemporary style features sleek and modern finishes with a minimalistic look. This style goes well in modern, contemporary and desert gardens. Transitional style lighting mixes traditional and contemporary lighting to create a simplified traditional look. This style works well in most gardens regardless of the design style.
3. Determine the size:
The size of the lighting should be determined by where it is planned to be used. A general rule of thumb for wall lights near the door is to choose a light fixture that is approximately 1/3rd the height of the door. If using more than one light for an entryway or garage, it can be 1/4th - 1/5th the door size. The lights should also be kept at eye level or above the door for entryways.
4. Look at materials and lights:
Outdoor lighting fixtures are available in aluminum, brass, stainless steel and copper. While aluminum and stainless steel lights may be cheaper, brass and copper performs better in countries like the Philippines as they can withstand the weather well. Halogen lighting has been traditionally chosen for outdoors and is available along with LED lights. However, LED lights perform better for gardens and are energy efficient, replacing traditional halogen lights.
5. Consider voltage:
There are high voltage and low voltage lighting options available for outdoor areas. While high voltage is brighter and requires lesser lights, low voltage is safer and preferred for small gardens and outdoor spaces. Low voltage is also easier to install and cheaper, and is highly recommended for residential garden use.
6. Choose a color temperature:
Look for appropriate color temperature when choosing outdoor lights. A warmer color temperature is preferred for lighting gardens to create a cozy feel and complement the garden. Use warm whites within a range of 2500K - 2700K for architectural elements like walls, columns and seating. Neutral whites of 3000K - 4000K are better for landscape, as the neutral color brings out the colors of the plants.
7. Consider the IP Rating:
The IP Rating of a light describes how well the light is protected against objects and water. When selecting lights for outdoor use, look for IP44 or above to protect against rainwater. An IP 68 light is recommended for continuous submersion that is required for lighting water features and pools.