Light Up your outdoor area with Andrews Light Up!
When it comes to outdoor lighting, the saying “less is more” should be in the back of your mind 24/7. Unlike indoor lighting, outdoor requires less artificial light to accentuate light, shadows, and patterns in your garden. It can be helpful to walk around your outdoor areas at night and envision how you want these spaces to look using these tips.
Before you start
An important thing to consider is the colour of the bulb you are selecting for your outdoor area. On bulb packaging, there is a kelvin (K) value that tells you the tone of the bulb. It typically ranges from around 2700-3000 K (warm light) to 6500 K (bluish-white tone). For most installations a mid-range 4000 K delivers crisp “natural” light.
On top of colour, it’s also worth considering these three criteria for function:
- Overall: Provides light for a whole space.
- Task: Used for a specific purpose, such as to light a path.
- Accent: Draws attention to an object or area.
These three criteria are important to consider when selecting outdoor fittings, as you primarily want to focus on one of these at a time for a specific area of your garden. Do you want to focus on general lighting, light a path, or highlight something? Choosing certain fittings can certainly help you achieve these criteria.
For Overall, we would recommend a fitting that will cast light in an area, such as the new Bristol wall light.
For Task, we would suggest something a bit smaller and focused, like the Pavillion or the Goya.
For Accent, we would recommend something more focused and controlled, like the Thax Spike.
We recommend the use of LED bulbs in all garden lighting, both 240 volt and 12 volt. While they may be a little more expensive, their costs are offset by their long life and low energy consumption.
For DIY installation, using 12 volt lights like the Goya, Pavillion and Thax and a suitable transformer, we would recommend using gel connectors to power outdoor fittings, as they are a great, cheap way to insulate your wiring underground and offer protection from all kinds of wear and tear.
For tips on installation, check out this tutorial: https://youtu.be/1WyY5TvQ7IY
Things to think about
Outdoor lighting comes with a new set of challenges that might not affect an indoor area. For example, reflection is less an issue outdoors because most surfaces are dark and do not reflect light well. However, position and shielding are more important in outdoor landscape lighting in order to prevent glare.
Glare happens when a light source is too big or too bright; it can be blinding because it reflects directly in people’s eyes. Exterior landscape lighting also needs to be particularly sensitive to direct versus indirect light. Direct outdoor landscape light, such as a downlight outside a side entry door, will brighten mostly the object it is directed at and little of the surroundings. Indirect light reflects on the surrounding surfaces to create a soft wash.
Light placement is vital for outdoor settings, and some spots are a must.
Pathways: lit pathways are important, as they make a home feel more welcoming and secure. Fixtures that cast light down are great here and will minimize glare. Consider Task lighting these areas.
Entries: doorways on both sides or overhead are good options to light.
Driveway: a similar approach here to pathways. Consider Task lighting for driveways.
Steps: should be lit for safety purposes, consider lighting the risers or the treads.
Decks or Patios: Light up important Task areas on your deck such as a kitchen/bbq area or seating areas. You can also utilize “uplighting” here if you have an overhead cover (something usually more difficult to achieve in an outdoor setting).
Gazebo/Pergola/Trellis: Similar to decks and patios, but can consider using Accent lighting to bring out a certain feature in the architecture/design.
Architectural Features: Landscape lighting can be used to highlight a wall, for example, by washing it or grazing it. When a wide beam of light is aimed at a wall from a few feet away, it creates a wall wash. A light used to graze a wall creates interesting highlights and shadows. Both will provide a little accent to nearby plants.
As always, it is important to choose fittings that are “fit for purpose”. In gardens all 240v light fittings must be installed by a licenced electrician, where 12v garden lighting can be DIY for a competent handy-person.
Check out our range of outdoor lights and accessories here: https://lightup.com.au/product-category/outdoor-lighting/
For more lighting tips, check out our blog:https://lightup.com.au/our-latest-news/