Garden Lighting Features in the Landscape
Lighting offers an interesting dimension to a garden, bringing it to life at night. As well as their aesthetic appeal, lights also offer great security. It is a well-established fact that burglars are far less likely to break into homes which are well lit at night. Position security lighting to illuminate the most likely places of break-in (i.e. doors, windows, roof etc).
Light areas where people will be at night. The path to the front door should be lit for evening visitors, even if those lights aren’t always used. Outdoor living areas should be lit well enough to be used at night. Consider how much light is needed to see a barbecue and what is needed for guests at an evening party to see their food and drink.
A driveway, and car parking areas need to be lit sufficiently to see where you are driving and parking at night.
Lighting gardens for purely decorative purposes is very popular these days. In cold climates, the lights will normally be viewed from indoors, but in warmer areas the lights may be used to feature statuary, water, buildings and even plants and trees.
When installing lighting, the choice is either for direct or indirect illumination. Direct lighting delivers light straight from the light source onto the object which is to be lit up; for example, a flood light lighting a large tree.
Indirect lighting delivers reflected light to the object to be lit. It is often used along a pathway, reflecting light off the path in an otherwise dark area. Indirect lighting is useful to illuminate areas without disturbing neighbours or children trying to sleep.
Remember the following general principles about lighting:
- The higher the lights, the few lights required. You need more lights closer together at ground level than if you mount the same lights on the eaves of the house.
- Lights, cables and fittings must be durable and weatherproof.
- Not all lights are the same, they vary in cost to install and run; and in their suitability for lighting different types of areas
- As plants grow, they can cast shadows where shadows didn’t originally occur.
- As a person walks along a path, his or her body casts a moving shadow. A well-designed lighting system will account for this and avoid shadows on steps or other places where a person might trip or slip.