Lighting up your outdoor garden will make your home glow beautifully at night. No matter how beautiful your garden looks during the day, it gets hidden once the sun has set. This is why it is up to you to light it up once darkness falls.
The great thing about garden lights is that it can set the right mood outside. When done correctly, it can give you a sense of peace and security. You will love spending time outside if you light up your garden in the right way.
Three layers of outdoor lighting
To make your garden lights come out beautifully, you need to familiarize yourself with the three layers of outdoor lighting.
The first is called ambient lighting. These light fixtures do not have a specific purpose. It is only used to create a mood – like background music of lights.
The next one is accent lighting. This is different from ambient lights. Accent lights are used to highlight a specific area in the garden. For instance, if you have a flower bed or a garden decoration that you want to feature, you can use lights to bring attention to it.
Finally, you have task lighting. As the name suggests, this has a purpose. It may be to light a path, stairway, or even a pit for barbecues. It is meant to make a specific area more functional.
These lights can be used throughout your garden. You can mix them up to set the right mood for your outdoor area.
Lighting tips for different parts of your outdoor area
Regardless of how big or small your garden is, there are various techniques in lighting up the different areas. Here are some specific tips that you can use as you plan to light up your outdoor garden.
The patio is what connects the indoors to the outdoors. Setting up the right light fixtures in this area will add to the overall look of your outdoor area.
One way to light up your patio is to use downlighting or moonlighting. This means you will highlight a seating or dining area in the patio by placing lights in a higher spot. Use spotlights and place it on a nearby tree or overhead trellis (if you have any). This will create a cozy atmosphere as the light shines down – especially if it filters through the leaves.
You can also put lights on the floor but make sure it is not directed at the seating area or dining place. Place it in areas where it will avoid being a glare in the eyes. Use lights like colored LED strips that can line the sides or walls. Fairy lights can also be a good way to light up the patio.
Trees are a favorite part of the outdoor garden for lighting effects. The best way to light them up is to do it from below. This is called uplighting. You place lights at the bottom so it highlights the texture of the tree and the foliage.
Using floodlights is also a great way to feature the beauty of the tree at night – especially if the tree is a big one. If you think that it is too intense, you can use bullet lights or even spotlights. These two are great for the smaller trees.
When getting lights for trees, look for ones that are hooded. This will help you direct the light where you want it to go. Make sure you get enough to circle the tree (maybe three will do). And in placing the lights, consider the growth of the tree. If it is still young and will grow significantly over time, place the lights in such a way that will not hinder the growth or ruin the fixture.
The next area in the garden is the shrubs. Like trees, you can also use uplighting here. Place the lights behind the plants or shrubs. It is nice to space them properly so you get pools of light. It looks better compared to having a flood of bright lights.
Footlights are also effective in highlighting the shrubs at night. Place it around 2 feet in front of the shrubs. It can go above ground and it will still look great.
If you have a wooden fence at the back of the plants or shrubs, you can place the lights so it creates a silhouette.
Another great technique is to use a strip of lights and outline the edge of the plant bed. It makes for a great path light as well. Even if you use spotlights, you might not need path lights anymore. Place the lights strategically and it will light up the path while giving the shrubs and plants the right lighting.
You need to be careful with lighting the path around your garden. It has to be bright enough to help avoid accidents but it should also not be too much that it will cause an uncomfortable glare in the eye.
Spotlights are usually a good way to start. As mentioned, you can use these lights to highlight the plants and shrubs along the path. Make sure to keep the lights away from the path to avoid having someone step or trip on it.
It is better to use the path lighting as a hint that there is a path – rather than like an arrow. It will not contribute to setting the right mood if the lights look too stiff.
Water or statues
If you have water features in your outdoor garden (e.g. waterfalls, pond, etc), you can place uplighters around the edge. Placing a waterproof bulb at the center will also highlight its features. This is the best way to do it if you want the water feature to be the main point in the garden. In case you do not want it to be the focal point, you can use downlighters. Hang it in a nearby tree to illuminate the water feature in a subtle way.
If you have statues or other features in your garden, you can use accent lighting. Stick to warm lights and make sure to use at least two. This will keep shadows from forming and destroying the overall look of the statue.
Proper outdoor lighting tips
When planning the lighting outdoors, make sure to stick to one ambiance or mood that you want to go for. Not only that, choose one part that you want to highlight. That way, the lights outside will not come out too strong.
There are many types of lighting fixtures that you can use. The most common are LED bulbs that are both energy efficient and cheaper too. It is not as cheap as Halogen bulbs but if you consider the lifespan, it comes out a lot cheaper.
You can also opt to have lighting controllers installed. That way, you can manipulate the intensity of the light outside as you see fit.
With the right placement, you can make a small garden appear bigger. It is also useful as a burglar deterrent. You can see if anyone tries to cross through the garden.
Finally, you should not forget that the moonlight will also illuminate your garden. So there is no need to overdo the lights. It will be brighter if the moon is out and high in the night sky.