Bright ideas to make your garden shine

British people spend an average of £30,000 on their garden over a lifetime, according to a report in The Independent published back in 2014.

spike lights collectiveThe research failed to shed light on whether that outlay included ways to illuminate outdoor spaces, but the advantages of investing in high quality garden lighting are clear.

From increasing visibility for safety benefits to enhancing special features as focal points, good lighting in a garden is both practical and improves its aesthetics.

Gardens don’t have to be neglected in the winter time. A well-planned light show can keep your outdoor space alive for all to admire from the comfort of your living room. Here are five top tips on how you can make your garden’s best features shine when the sun goes down.

Accentuating features

Whether you have a small courtyard or a large lawn, you’re bound to have at least one feature that you are proud of. Whether it’s a flower bed, trellis or a stand-out statue, you can use lighting to enhance its glory.

One of the best ways to use lighting in a garden is with a water feature, such as a fountain or pond. Shining artificial light from beneath, above or beside the water can create an eye-catching feature day and night.

Other garden objects can also benefit from artificial light. Adding uplighting to the base of a tree will see the beam penetrate through the canopy helping to transform its volume and depth.

Manipulation

The manipulation of outdoor lighting can help to add fluency, theatre and structure to your garden space. Although this principle is taken from interior design, it also makes perfect sense to apply outdoors.

Garden lighting can not only help to manipulate the good things about a garden but it can also help to hide the bad things too. Unattractive or unused areas of the garden can be left neglected whereas the more appealing areas can be further enhanced using lights.

Less is more

If you don’t want a shiny or bulky light fitting spoiling your natural scenery then keeping your fittings hidden can provide a non-intrusive light show. What’s more the illusion of light is a powerful thing, so concealing your light fittings may improve the garden’s overall ambience.

Due to the shrinking size of light fittings, it is possible to hide them inside or behind holes, voids, cavities and other nooks and crannies. Products such as LED strip lights are a popular selection for people that want to keep their lights hidden. Strip lights are thin and flexible fittings that can be stuck beneath or behind the ‘lips’ of objects such as flower beds.

For lighting hedgerows, tall plants and bushes, positioning spike lights among the foliage can obscure the fitting. Although this is a savvy way to keep your garden lights hidden it also produces that sought-after illusion of not knowing where the artificial light is coming from.

Silhouettes and shadows

If you have a blank wall behind the object and chose to shine a light from in front of the structure – you’ll create a silhouette. By deliberately crafting silhouettes and shadows you’ll be creating further drama in the garden, almost creating a bigger picture and story within.

The direction of light is an important factor of garden lighting design. We now know that the positioning of lights can help distribute a balanced spread of light or aid in highlighting a specific location or object, but it can also set the tone for an experience and journey throughout the garden; from checkpoints that encourage people to stop and stare or lighting arrangements that improve the fluency and route of a garden.

Control and maintain

Advances in technology now allow garden owners to alter its ambience by using remote controls from the comfort of a sofa or garden hammock. You can now change the colour or dim the lights without having to get up and hit a switch, a clear advantage for sunny days out in the garden or cosy nights in front of the TV.

Although garden lights are designed for easy maintenance, care should still be taken when positioning the light’s housing or cables.

Cutting through wires with gardening tools is one of the most common problems attached to garden lighting designs. Before any fitting is installed you should map the route of any wires and consider how activities such as mowing the lawn can be carried out safely.