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What types of lighting are best for outdoors?

With summer soon in full bloom, you will be spending a lot more time outdoors in your garden. Whether that be for a spot of al-fresco dining, playing games with the kids or lounging about soaking up the sun’s rays, it is time to get yourself ready for the warmer months. Spending time in the garden won’t be an issue during the warm daylight hours, but what about at night when you need to see what you’re doing? Turning your back garden into an ambient and inviting space at night is where outdoor lighting comes into the picture. There are many perks to having lighting in your backyard including security, safety and aesthetics.

We will walk you through the types of outdoor lighting available, but be warned, you will probably come away with a host of lighting ideas that you’ll want to try out straight away. Just remember that by adding exterior lighting to your garden you don’t want to reproduce the colours and beauty of your backyard as it appears during the day. Rather you are trying to call attention to a ‘different’ kind of garden where there are more contrasts and a combination of highlighted features and shadowed silhouettes – a garden filled with mystery.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at the main three types of outdoor lighting.

Ambient lighting

This form of lighting does not have a particular purpose other than to create character and atmosphere, kind of like background music. One example would be lighting in flower beds to emphasise their colours and beauty created by shadows and silhouettes.

Task lighting

This type of lighting does have a purpose. It is used for tasks like walking up or down the stairs and cooking on the barbecue.

Accent lighting

This is used to focus on a particular area of the garden such as that ancient prizewinning tree which you want to flaunt.

Now, we will turn your attention to the different areas of your garden that you can illuminate.

Patio lighting

The best part about illuminating your patio is that you can dim out the line between outdoors and indoors, making your home feel larger.

Starting with the outdoor dining table or seating area, consider highlighting it with an LED downlight that will shine light downwards and avoid glare in the eyes. It will create a soft and intimate environment perfect for those dinners with a small number of friends.

Also think about illuminating the floor or deck, which creates a more subtle form of lighting. Bondilights’  LED circle deck light is perfect for this.

Highlight trees and greenery

Trees look stunning when you uplight them to illuminate their trunks’ texture while adding softness to surrounding foliage. Something like our slim bollard is ideal for tall trees and its height can be adjusted to achieve your desired effect.

Showcase shrubbery

Place uplights behind your plants or shrubs. If your shrubs or plants are nestled in mulch beds, hide the above-ground to give your display an air of mystery. Place the outdoor lights far apart so that you avoid a continuous flood of brightness. The LED garden spike is perfect for this.

If your shrubs or trees are in front of a wall or fence you can create a silhouette by focussing a row of lights at the wall of your house instead of the shrubs.

Illuminate your doorway

Depending on your doorway you don’t want to tarnish what could already be a charming feature of your home by placing too bright lights either side of your doorway. Think of it as ambient rather than task-oriented lighting. That way, visitors won’t be blinded when they come to your door. Our LED wall up and down light is perfect for creating light that illuminates enough for your doorway to be seen but doesn’t produce glare. If you’re lucky enough to have pillars or columns in your doorway, you can attach lights to these and create an intriguing atmosphere.

Illuminate your pathway

If it is intrigue as well as safety you wish to achieve, highlight your path in the back and/or front garden by placing lights on both sides but alter the distance between spaces. Be sure to keep the lights consistent but balanced so that your visitors don’t focus on the path but all the other interesting features in your garden at night. Just be careful not to put the light fixtures too close to the path as you don’t want them to be stepped on.

Do you want subtle landscape lighting? If so, choose lights that point downwards. Our LED path lights will give you ‘gentle hints’ rather than ‘directional markers’ that lead you to your destination. Always keep them below eye-level so that you can avoid unnecessary glow. If there are plants, trees or shrubbery alongside your path you can focus lights on these to emphasise their shapes and colours.

Illuminate your statues

When you highlight a specific feature, this is called accent lighting. Warm light is ideal especially if your feature is a statue. You want warm light to soften but draw out texture and shapes while preventing glare and shadows. You could go so far as to use two lights, such as two LED bollards which create a cross beam, cutting back on any harsh shadows.

If you do not yet have a feature such as a statue you could work out your outdoor lighting before you position the feature. That way, you will know there are no flowers or shrubbery obstructing the effect you are after.

Create general ambience

If you want to highlight a general area such as plant beds, throw a gentle wash over the paving area or grass using an LED pivot path light to softly accentuate the greenery. If near the pathway, it will create a feeling of ‘flow’, encouraging visitors to follow the correct direction.

Strip lighting

For something a bit different opt for strip lighting. Use strip lighting to outline plant beds or embed outdoor coloured LED strip light into concrete to divide the patio space from other parts of the garden and add atmosphere.

Don’t forget security

We have talked about the three different types of lighting and various ways you can illuminate your garden but not yet security. Outdoor lighting is not just about aesthetics. It is also about practicality. Ensure that you illuminate all entry and exit points of your home, including the garage, sides of your house and any dark corners in your garden. You don’t want any surprise visitors lurking in the shadows or access areas of your home.

In a nutshell

There are many different types of lighting as we’ve seen in this article. They deliver unmatched ambience and give your property an extra buzz after dark. It is worth thinking about hiring a specialised lighting company like Bondilights to help you make the right choices for your gardens. At the end of the day, when all is said and done, all you need to do is sit back and indulge in expertly-illuminated dining and entertaining.