Everyone loves to go to a summer barbecue that starts early and ends late. Patio and backyard seating is key to hosting a good party. No matter how laid back your guests are no one want to sit on the grass that’s infested with biting insects. Picnic tables, benches and assorted lawn chairs are all needed if you plan on having more than a few people over.Outdoor lighting in also key to hosting a good party. During the summer many people like to stay outside long after the sun sets. And, good lighting makes the outdoor experience more enjoyable. Some people choose to hang brightly-colored lanterns around their yards and others prefer the subtle glow of in-ground garden lighting. No matter which lighting direction you take you should be fine as long as your outdoor guests can see one another.
As a nation, we British love our gardens. We spent hours in them: socialising, eating meals, playing with our children, mowing the grass, gardening, growing vegetables and much more. However, as soon as the sun goes down, we all too often go inside and shut the curtains on our little outdoor paradises.
But why is this? After all, the recent advances in long-lived LED lighting and outside electrical cabling have made outdoor lighting more affordable than ever. Gardens can look just as special in the dark as they do during the day.
Are you put off by the thought of installing an outside electrical system? Please don’t be. Laying the cabling necessary for most outdoor lighting systems is easy and inexpensive. Many people prefer to lay it themselves but there is also the option of hiring a tradesman. Steel Wire Armoured, or Armorflex cabling is weather resistant and safe to be around flowerbeds and lawns, as well as areas where children and pets play.
Could your garden benefit from being lit up at night? It’s a distinct possibility; here’s why:
Top 5 reasons your garden needs outdoor lighting
1.Enjoy your gardens for longer
Sometimes you aren’t ready to come inside when the sun goes down. Whether you’re entertaining friends, relaxing in a hot-tub, reading in a hammock or enjoying a glass of wine with a loved one, long summer evenings are what memories are made of. Subtle lighting techniques such as installing ground lights around focal point or at the edge of a path will provide enough light to continue socialising without being overpowering.
2.Safety & security
If you regularly venture into your garden after dark, don’t rely on a torch to light your path. LED floodlights or outdoor wall lights, operated by a motion sensor, will make your travels much safer. They cast a wider range of light than a torch so that you can be sure the path ahead is clear. You can focus the lights on potential hazards such as steps, decking (which can often be slippery when wet) or hilly areas.
Lighting can make a huge difference to the aesthetics of your garden. Illuminating a focal point such as a tree, sculpture or water feature can create wonderful theatrical effects. Using spike lights to throw shadows will create a dramatic feel to your garden.
4.Peace of mind
By our very nature, we are curious things. If you hear a noise in the garden, you want to know what caused it. Constant lighting (e.g. from bollards) allows you to immediately look out to see the cause of the raucous. Motion sensors or proximity lighting will alert you to movement on your property.
Have you ever tried looking for a black Labrador at night-time? Let me tell you, it’s tricky! Adding some light to your garden makes it much easier to keep an eye on your pets when they use the garden after dark. Bollards around flowerbeds or areas that your dog/cat likes to frequent might be the best garden light option for you.
How to choose the best garden lights for your home
Deciding you need outdoor lighting is easy. Choosing which lighting equipment to take advantage of is where it gets interesting! Have a look at some of the outdoor lighting remote control units available to control upto 5 lighting circuits in your garden. Not sure? Get in touch with a description of your garden and what areas you want lit up and we’ll guide you to the optimum products for your specific needs.
As the weather is (slowly) starting to get warmer, our minds turn to outdoor projects, both large and small. Keen gardeners will be well aware of the vast array of electrical equipment available out there for outdoor use. Switches, power sockets and junction boxes are all available; so whether you are embarking upon a large lighting project, looking to supply electricity to an outbuilding, or simply a safe place to plug your lawnmower in, there are plenty of options available to you. Our catalogue offers many of these solutions, so take a look at our outdoor accessories range to get you started.
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Any electrical installation that is open to the elements needs components which are well insulated and specially formulated for outdoor use. Carefully think where you are going to place your cabling; if it is going to run through the ground, plan to bury it deep enough that it will not be disturbed by regular gardening activities such as mowing the lawn or weeding, and if you have pets that like to dig, avoid places where they could unearth cabling. This being said, whether doing it yourself or employing labourers, be aware that there may be a lot more effort involved than you may have initially planned or budgeted for. Also be aware of the regulations surrounding exterior installations; you must be or employ a “Part P“ registered electrician in order to install any 240v electronics outdoors.
This all sounds very dry and daunting, but as with all plans, putting the effort in at the planning stage pays off in the long run.
LED lighting runs much cooler than other types of lamp, and is usually more hardy. This makes it perfect for exterior use. An increasing amount of LED exterior lighting is compatible with GU10 bulbs, a commonly available lamp. Knightsbridge online carry a variety of these lamps, including ones in funky primary and secondary colours, some with a colour change facility.
Wall lights are available in a number of styles. Up/down lights shine a spotlight both up and down, adding extra visibility whilst creating a contemporary and interesting light profile. Wall-mounted GU10 angled spotlights make light work of showing off a focal point, or illuminating a spot just out of reach. Simple downlights create a functional and attractively diffused downward light for practical use but with a stylish modern twist. For those places where you are concerned about a direct light shining into a neighbour’s property or otherwise being a potential nuisance, you may wish to consider one of our outdoor diffuser lights. Available with a brushed Stainless Steel cover, in a selection of patterns, they are best placed by a back or front entrance for optimal practicality.
Ground lights are an easy way to add a slick and modern finish to a garden, back or front. One popular look is to install a row of lights along one side of a path, patio or driveway. If you are concerned about installing ground lights near a driveway – don’t be. We stock a range of fittings that can withstand a weight of 1000kg when driven over slowly. There are also ground lights formulated for use with wooden decking; the underneath profile of many of these lights is flat, so they are great for decking where the flooring underside is visible from lower levels.
If you like the idea of a ground-mounted light fitting, but require a little more of an angled, spotlight effect, then spike-mounted LED ground lights could be just what you are after. Installation is easy, and it is a great way to draw the eye to a focal point such as a water feature. Our GU10 LED spike lights feature sleek and versatile looks to suit most tastes.
Security is a priority for us all, and security floodlights are an important element of keeping your property safe. However floodlighting can also be used for decorative purposes. Colour change LED floodlighting creates a quirky, yet polished look; especially when twinned with focal points, water features and exotic plants.
Even the balmiest of summer evenings can become quite chilly when the sun goes down. For those keen on throwing parties that go on until the wee hours we also stock outdoor infrared heating solutions that can be mounted on a wall or pole.
We hope that this article has helped you on your way to your dream garden. If you have any specific technical concerns, please do not hesitate to get in touch.