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Light in your garden and on your patio

Moree lamp
Ingo Schaer
Written by Ingo Schaer

Garden and patio can be easily upgraded by good lighting. In the summer, they comfortably extend your living space, and on cooler days you will benefit from a visible outside area, which is created by light fixtures.

Ball by Enzo Catellani

Ball by Enzo Catellani

A shining work of art and at the same time lighting is the “ball”. Design Enzo Catellani.

Garden and patio are perfect for a light show, because here you can enjoy the drama of light and shadow much more than in the interior of your house, where practical considerations are often the main focus. You can be charmed by creating light emotions. Because only through lighting a perceptible space arises at night – without light nothing would be visible in the dark.

Another type of night illumination is the exterior lighting of your house: anyone who comes to a building at night gets a first impression, above all, via the lighting.
Entrance lighting

An illuminated path and a bright entrance are inviting and give you a pleasant feeling every day you come home. The necessary illumination of the paths and the house entrance has to be looked at separately from the purely decorative garden lighting. Access areas should create a sense of security while preventing you or your guests from stumbling over unevenness or steps.

Konstsmide

Konstsmide

 

This very modern wall light is manufactured by the Swedish company Konstsmide.

Depending on the situation, floor or bollard luminaires can be used, a glass pane illuminated from the inside or bright downlights in the awning. Ensure that individual steps or problem areas are well lit. However, the luminaires should not be blinding and should be equipped with energy-saving lamps. The ideal solution are LED lamps, which can either be left on all night or turned on automatically by motion detectors or heat sensors.

Tips
Facade illumination

Good facade illumination concentrates on details of the building. Floodlights are not recommended. They do not point out the structure of the architecture and shine even inside the house. Less is more in this case.

Please only use external light fixtures for your garden

 

Moree lamp

Moree lamp

Romantic atmosphere is created with these illuminated tables by Moree.
Every kind of interior lighting is taboo in the garden! Exterior lights are designed differently, because they have to be protected against penetrating moisture and foreign bodies – they have a protection class. Garden lights have been assigned an IP number (Ingress Protection). The higher the digits, the greater the protection. The first number refers to the protection against foreign bodies and contact, the second to the protection against water.

For example, a luminaire with protection class IP 64 is dustproof (6) and at the same time protected against splashing water (4).

Effectively lighted nature

The lighting of the garden serves primarily decorative purposes. This is why you do not need any headlights to illuminate your garden completely. It is more about the effective placement of some lights and the play of light and shadow. Create magic attractions and light points in your garden by illuminating a water surface or your pool from the inside, or convert an organic surface of a dry wall by using streaking light into a stunning natural relief. Illuminate trees and bushes from behind or choose picturesque individual objects, which you can put into effect.

There are no patent recipes for the lighting design of a garden, because the possibilities are as diverse as their users. So it is worth experimenting a little! However, it is good to know that the three-dimensional lighting of the light types, which is known from inside rooms, can be transferred to the garden as well: even in the open, you need basic lighting for usability and a kind of accent lighting that sets and structures the focus.

 

Gringo lamp

Gringo lamp

Gringo is the name of this luminous – 1.50 m high – plastic cactus. Design Matteo Ugolini. This decorative lighting object can be used both indoors and outdoors (IP 65).

Basic lighting is the most important type of lighting in your garden. A third variant is light, which emanates from visible light objects. In this way, a structure can be created by a creative arrangement. The skillful mixture of these types of lighting creates the concept of your garden illumination. Choose gentle transitions to create a harmonious image.

Above all small gardens can be given an optical depth if plants are arranged offset or staggered. This effect can be further increased by the graduation of the luminaires and the targeted use of the light intensity. Higher luminosity brings these parts of the garden to the foreground, smoother light lets the objects fade into the background. Not too light and scattered light can give the impression of the hidden or unattainable.

In this way, your garden appears more spacious than it actually is. When planning, remember that a garden that is too bright is radiating into your home: if it is too light outside, it is also uncomfortable inside. This is also the other way around: the atmosphere in the open air can suffer when there is too much light coming out of the house.

Illumination of the area where you spend your time outside

If you are sitting relaxed on the patio with your guests in the evening, it is mainly due to security and possibly also to interesting views of the garden. How bright it should be, depends entirely on your preferences; you have the choice between lantern-like lamps that provide the necessary degree of comfort, and more architecturally inspired light sources, such as floor recessed spotlights or low mast lights.

In any case, ground-luminaires are attractive as lighting objects as well as spot lights, which can illuminate selected plants. The lighting can be combined with a dimmer switch, which switches the light on and off independently of the time of the day. If you want to read on the patio, separately switchable wall luminaires for directed light should be the means of your choice.

Moonlight lamp

Moonlight lamp

Also in this garden the already classic, always very decorative balls of Moonlight should not be missing.

You can, of course, create a lively and harmonious light for special moments with torches, which you can place around a seating group and complement each other by candles or oil lamps.

Security in outdoor areas

With all the joy of the night lighting, you should decide to create illuminated paths throughout the garden. The brightness differences to darker and mysterious zones of the garden should not be too big, however, because our eyes adjust very quickly to lower brightness. Even in the light of the full moon (about 5 Lux) you could successfully go on a treasure hunt! However, steps, level ridges and water surfaces should be clearly visible.

Take special care with stairs: Here you should illuminate the entire step area. Small wall or bollard luminaires in the vicinity of the ground prove to be practicable in this case. If you choose energy-saving LED bulbs, you can even keep the light on at night; otherwise it is advisable to control the lighting via time switches or motion detectors.

In the case of outdoor power installation, you should seek professional advice on the basis of higher safety requirements. Moisture, foliage and changing weather influences might damage the cables and lights. For this reason, cables should be buried at least 60 cm deep. If you equip your garden lighting with lamps in the low-voltage range, you are on the safe side.

 

About the author

Ingo Schaer

Ingo Schaer

Ingo has been in the lighting business for over 20 years. He regularly blogs about trends and tips in the industry while running one of the most complete contemporary lighting ecommerce sites on the net. Please take a moment to browse his website and feel free to contact Ingo for all your lighting needs.

You can also follow him on: Google + - Facebook - Twitter & Pinterest

1 Comment

  • We live in a 1920 house that has been converted into flats – mock Tudor style. We have a balcony 4′ deep x 20’wide. accessed by doors from the living/dining area. We would like balcony lighting plus a light pretty ceiling light for living area. Have seen multi-coloured glass wall lights – – wavy oblong vertical. We have outside lighting on the balcony – usual outdoor wall lights. T!he balcony is wooden – painted black – quite substantial balustrades.

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