Light up your social life with Garden Lighting

Light up your social life with Garden Lighting

Article by Simon Sales

Of late, we have been enjoying an Indian summer drifting slowly into early autumn; sunny days, pleasant evenings and the first few leaves starting to show some autumn colour. It is therefore, important that we make the most of these precious moments and enjoy them before the winter inevitably comes along.

So, invite friends and family around, chill some drinks, light the barbeque and sit back and relax. Autumn is also the traditional time for installing lighting in the garden. Garden lighting can be used in many ways: to extend the evening into the night, to lengthen and enjoy the seasons, to maximise the use of your garden from day into night, to provide soft, ambient light around your outdoor dining table or to create an all-year-round view from the house.

So if you have made the decision to have garden lighting, what’s next?Well firstly, the technology of garden lighting has moved forward a long way over the last decade with the introduction of LED lighting, colour change and remote control. There is low voltage lighting, mains voltage and even solar power. There is a bewildering array of light fittings costing from a few pounds each to a few hundred pounds. So where do you start?The first decision is to consider what you are trying to achieve. If you simply wish to identify a pathway down to your shed or around the edge of your parking area then solar lighting may meet your needs.

Inexpensive, plentiful and requiring no skill to install, solar lighting is an easy entry to the market. Be under no illusion though, solar cannot provide enough light output to illuminate a garden feature, tree or pond and probably doesn’t really come into the bracket of garden lighting.If however, you wish to create a view from your house by illuminating a feature of your garden, if you wish to create ambient light by which to entertain or eat alfresco, if you wish to create different light levels around the garden to link the elements of the garden together or if you would like to illuminate either the front of your house or your driveway then you will require electrical power to be run from your house or garage.

It is the installation of this structural wiring that would make up a significant portion of your investment. I realise it is a bit boring to invest in the structural wiring but it cannot be over-emphasised how important it is. You really need to invest in good quality cabling, breakers and junction boxes, because without a good structure the light fittings (no matter how beautiful/expensive they are) will fail. A good structure is the backbone of a good lighting system; it will keep you safe, it will be reliable and it will really last.

With a good quality, well thought through structure, you can run not just your garden lights but your fountain, your pond pumps and filters, your Christmas lighting, the electric gates, power to your shed, recharge your electric car and run your security lighting. You can also add to your lighting year after year and allow it to develop alongside your growing garden.

Consider the installation of the structural wiring as an investment in your property, like new windows, a new roof or automatic gates; it will add value to your property. Don’t forget, that part of the structural wiring planning is the choice of switching. No longer do you need to “chase” switch wires back into houses; you can install inexpensive remote control switches, remote control handsets, picture panel switching or wire it into a house control system such as Lutron.

Once the structural wiring has been planned, you can let your imagination run wild; what about using moonlighting from a tall building or tree, create reflections in still water, silhouette statues and architectural plants or create gentle pools of light around an outdoor dining area – the options and opportunities are limitless. Alternatively, employ someone to design the lighting in your garden for you.

They will come and listen to your needs and requirements and make suggestions to bring the ideas to life, a simple process that takes you from where you are to where you want to be.At the end of the process, a completed lighting system will provide you with a completely new dimension for your property, will add value

About the Author

Simon Sales is the co-owner of two businesses; Waterwell Limited designs, installs and maintains garden irrigation & garden lighting systems in residential properties throughout London and the South East. Landscapeplus.com is a wholesale business based in Gloucestershire that sells water irrigation product, garden lights and pond pumps to the landscape contracting trade throughout the UK.

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