If you’ve spent any time digging dead roots out of flowerbeds or trying to rid your lawn of pesky weeds, you’ll know that gardening can be tough sometimes. Which makes it all the more rewarding when you can sit back and enjoy all your hard work in the summer months.
But how much time do you spend in the garden after dark?
It might seem like a bit of an odd question, but there’s no reason you shouldn’t be making the most of your garden when the sun drops.
With that in mind, here are 5 easy ways you can use outdoor lighting to make your garden look better than ever.
Use reliable, energy-efficient solar lighting
Many of the garden lights on the market today are solar powered, mainly thanks to the recent development of LED lighting that needs little power to operate compared to traditional lights.
There are a huge variety of solar lights available these days, from easy-to-install spike lights to high-powered spotlights that will show off your best garden features.
Make the most of solar lights by installing them in open spaces where the sun can easily reach them. Some solar lights have adjustable solar panels, so take the time to find the best position for them.
Try breaking your garden up into ‘zones,’ and use a different kind of lighting or colour temperature for each zone.
Light pathways with soft lanterns or spike lights. Shining spotlights against walls or tree trunks can create striking shadows and bring darker areas of the garden back into the light.
If you’re a keen BBQ-er, make the area around it a focal point. It’s likely that your friends will hang around there for the burgers, so make them feel at home. Warm white or colour-changing RGB lights will create a cosy atmosphere, reminiscent of relaxing evenings on holiday.
You can now even get outdoor lights with integrated Bluetooth speakers, making it easy to manage your playlist while you’ve got your hands full with your guests or your food.
Watch your step(s)
You might have a perfectly striped lawn and flowerbeds in full bloom, but if there are steps between your house and your garden, you may want to make sure they’re lit properly, to avoid nasty accidents.
This is a little trickier as you can’t simply stick a spike light into your decking or patio. Fortunately, there are solar lights made specifically for this task, such as these Duracell LED Stair Lights, which are designed to attach to your stairs and walkways.
Again, as they’re solar lights they’re easy to install and give you peace of mind that you’ll be able to see where you’re going once darkness falls.
Make your water features sparkle
A little light around your garden pond will really make it stand out. A solar spike light placed nearby will pick out the ripples of water nicely and any garden features bordering a pond can be highlighted with a carefully directed spotlight.
Obviously, be careful when working with electrical equipment and water. Outdoor lights of any quality should carry an IP rating (more on that below) but you don’t want to go dropping them into your water features.
That being said, if you’re feeling really creative, why not invest in some pond lights that can be used underwater? Paired with some lights above the surface, these could make your water feature the star attraction of your garden.
Remember to check the IP rating
Now for the boring (but important) technical bit.
Every outdoor light should have an IP rating. It stands for Ingress Protection and it tells you how good the lights are at keeping water and dirt out. It also applies to bathroom lighting, which must be water-resistant to some degree.
An IP rating is made up of two numbers. The first number denotes what level of protection the light has against the ingress of solid objects. The second number tells you how protected it is against water. The higher the number, the better the protection.
So for example, an IP rating of 68 would mean that the light is protected against the ingress of dust and is completely waterproof. An IP rating of 11, on the other hand, would mean the light is barely protected at all.
For outdoor lights, water protection is obviously important to protect the light from rainfall (or wayward garden hoses). However, if the light is going to be used in flower beds, or if your garden is in a windy spot, it needs to be protected from the ingress of dirt.
If you’re not sure about a light’s IP rating, or it’s not on the packaging of the light you’re looking at, contact the manufacturer for clarity before installing them in places it might be needed.