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Planning your Landscape Lighting Scheme
Tips and Tricks



Planning

Landscape Lighting adds another dimension to the enjoyment of outdoor living. It enhances gardens, decks, buildings, trees and homes. Outdoor lighting adds character to the environment you live in and entices you outside to take in the evening.

If you are about to build a new home or redesign your garden consider your lighting at the beginning of the project and not at the end where invariably you will have to make compromises and be disappointed with the result. With a little planning you will be able to enjoy all the wonderful lighting effects that are possible to create with the large range of luminaires available on this site.

LED lighting has improved so much over the last 24 months that it has now become the best solution. Many LED lamps are now available that will retrofit into a standard fittings. Integrated LEDs with superior heat sinks can operate up to 1050ma and will give a brighter light than retrofit lamps. LEDs have three major advantages - very long lamp life of upto 50,000 hours, no heat output and hence safe to touch, and lastly extremely low power consumption.

Low voltage halogen lighting an alternative solution. It is an ideal and safe way to illuminate your surroundings. 12volt halogen lamps give a crisp white light with excellent colour rendition and excellent lamp life of up to 5000 hours. In most circumstances 20watt lamps generate the desired effect in a garden (less is often more) and these lamps have three major advantages:
1. It will operate at a lower and safer temperature.
2. The luminaire will use 60% less energy than the standard 50watt lamp and therefore cost less to operate.

3. The luminaire will require less maintenance and the lampholders will last much longer.


Tips and Tricks

PAINT A PICTURE WITH LIGHT AND SHADE

When designing a scheme try to think of it in its entirety rather than as separate bits. All the elements should hang together and be in balance. Remember that things visible during the day can be left in darkness, so that you have the opportunity to make dramatic changes to your visible landscape.


PAINT LESS IS MORE

Shadow is as important to your scheme as light, so don't try to light everything. Instead, retain some mystery. Also, keep it subtle - very bright garden lighting can look brash and artificial.


HIDE YOUR LIGHT UNDER A BUSHEL

Ultimately it's the lighting effect that you want to see, not the fitting. So wherever possible, hide the light source - behind a shrub, perhaps, a rock, a pot or a wall.


EXPERIMENT WITH LIGHTING EFFECTS

Try throwing shadows onto walls, creating reflections in ponds, or using back lighting to create interesting silhouettes. The possibilies are almost endless.


CREATE A SCENE

Create a different look with outdoor garden lighting at night than it has during the day. The night view will often be more dramatic than the day view. We use the term 'Picking out' as you will only see what you light at night not the entire surrounding area.


WATTAGE AND BEAM ANGLES

The wide choice of beam angles, wattages, mounts and options such as frosted lenses means that you can tailor each light source to create a precise effect. If you need to increase the beam throw of a lamp, try using a 20watt lamp with a narrow beam angle ratjher than upgrading to a 35watt or 50watt lamp.


COLOURED LAMPS

Lamps are available in a variety of colours although with less choice of wattage and beam width. Used sparingly they can create interesting effects but avoid the Las Vagas look.


CHANGING LAMPS

When effecting a lamp change always remove the failed lamp first to ensure that the replacement is the same wattage and beam angle. It is a false economy to buy cheap lamps. Ensure that the replacement has a rating of at least 5000 hours.


AVOID GLARE

When it comes to garden lighting, there's no razzle in dazzle. So try to angle the light beams away from your lines of sight. Where this isn't possible, glare guards can reduce the dazzle factor.


PLACING LIGHTS NEAR PLANTS

If you're installing lights in winter, remember that your herbaceous plants will be growing in the summer. Try to avoid placing lights where they will be swamped by summer foliage.


TAKING CARE OF YOUR CABLE

Black low voltage electrical cable is fairly invisible when placed on the soil, but you can hide it by burying it in an inch or two of light soil, or under mulch. Keen gardeners might prefer to keep the cable visible to avoid accidentally damaging it when digging.


INSTALLING YOUR LIGHTING SCHEME

We always recommend using a qualified electrician to install your lighting, and make sure that all the electrical circuits are protected by an RCD. Only use electrical equipment designed for exterior use with the approprite IP rating, and please don't even think about protecting equipment with plastic bags or temporary wrappings, rather than proper weaterproof enclosures.


HEAT

Halogen light sources do generate a considerable amount of heat therefore precautions should be taken when considering their location, particularly at low level in public areas where children may come into contact with the fittings. Normally there is always a solution, therefore, if in doubt ask for advice.