Landscape lighting is often overlooked by home owners, but it is one of the easiest and quickest ways to increase the curb appeal of your home. Lighting can serve a number of purposes, including security, safety and accessibility, but for landscape enthusiasts its primary goal is to highlight attractive areas of a garden. The right garden lighting can transform your garden into a glowing wonderland at night, but it’s important to choose the right type of lighting for your home and garden.
The first step is to decide which areas of the garden you’d like to illuminate. Try to pick just a few features or focal points, as excessive lighting can destroy the atmosphere in a garden and also costs more money. Powerful floodlights can light up large areas of a garden, but are expensive and wasteful in terms of energy cost. Subtle lighting that focuses on interesting areas of the garden, such as water features and trees, can have a far more eye-catching effect. Decking and paths can look beautiful in the right light, and should also be lit for safety reasons.
Accent lighting is used to create a moody atmosphere in your garden while lighting up the most attractive features. An additional benefit to accent lighting is that it’s easy to hide less attractive parts of a garden, such as bins or a greenhouse, simply by not lighting them. Spotlights are good for this type of lighting, especially when placed at the base of a tree or interesting plant. A focused beam through a water feature can also create a stunning effect.
Path and Decking Lighting
The easiest way to illuminate decking is with a large but focused floodlight. The floodlight shouldn’t illuminate the whole garden, and it shouldn’t be so strong that it’s uncomfortable to sit in. Low wattage floodlights are cheaper, consume less energy and won’t annoy the neighbors! Installing lighting in the decking floor can create a more subtle mood when entertaining guests, but can cause an uncomfortable glare.
Paths can be turned into an interesting feature by using rows of evenly spaced floor lights. Stairs or any other potential obstacle should be well lit to avoid accidents. Any cables should be hidden and kept away from walking areas.
Where to Place Lights
If your goal is to increase the curb appeal of your home, it’s important to focus on areas of the garden that look attractive from the road. If possible, the actual lights should be hidden from view, so that only the glow is visible. Focusing on a few key features of the garden, such as a large tree, statue or water feature, is nearly always a better option than trying to light a large area.
It might seem obvious, but it’s important to check that any outdoor lighting is waterproof and safe for the purpose you intend to use it for. Low voltage lighting can be installed yourself, but higher voltage lights should be installed by a professional.