Thursday, 3 December 2015

Choosing the right light

There are several types of lighting available. Most fit into two categories:

Accent lighting
Accent lighting draws attention to areas you wish to highlight  in your landscape, such as trees and sculptures,

(and helpfully) can draw attention away from potential eyesores like the clothesline or garden shed.

Task lighting
Task lighting refers to lighting your landscape for practical reasons.
Examples include:
- preparing food
- moving safely around your garden across level changes
- stairs
- security
Read more: Choosing a patio heater for outdoor entertaining

Decorative lighting
Decorative lighting is not only aesthetically pleasing, but enough decorative lighting can also aid vision over

evening dinner and drinks.

Power sourcesGenerally you will be choosing between  solar power and mains power electricity, (and perhaps even a few

Solar energy is better for the environment given that it's a renewable resource. Outdoor solar powered lights
charge during the day and can be put into use when the sun sets.
Pro: No unsightly cables. Generally, you just need to stick the lights in the ground and away you go
Con: Generally not as bright as electric lights, making them unsuitable as spotlights or in climates that receive
little sunlight

If you want bright light then electricity is the way to go.
You'll most likely need a transformer, which acts like a power board. The transformer is plugged the power
point and lights are plugged into it (think of Christmas tress lights).
Make sure you follow the instructions, or ask a professional, about the number of lights you should attach to
one single transformer. You may need more than one in your outdoor space to ensure you don't blow a fuse.
Electric lights generally require wiring and cables. As long as you use a 12 Volt transformer, installation can be
satisfying a DIY project.

Outdoor lighting types
Halogen lights and LED lights come in two basic options:

Halogen lights are the original landscape lights. They produce a yellow light, use more energy than LED lights
and can become hot to touch.

Light Emitting Diode (or LED)
LEDs produce a much purer white light, which portrays a truer colour of the landscape. LEDs are up to g
enerally more cost effective and are not hot to the touch.

Lighting designs
The options are endless. For inspiration take a look at gardens in Home Ideas and browse some listings on the

The main lighting designs are:
Uplighting: light is directed upwards to highlight a feature such as a tree. They also provide a bit of light for the 
surrounding areas.
Spotlights: spotlights are a bright light aimed at one particular feature such as a tree, sculpture or water
Downlights: as the name suggests, downlights are positioned at a high level and light downwards. An example 
would be a light in the roof of a carport, shining down on the car.
Path lights: path lights are used for safety and security. Place them at intervals along your path or walkway.
Surface lighting: surface lights are built into walls, highlight deck and step surfaces and can be put in the
ground. They enhance security and visibility.
Wall lighting: wall lights are flat panels built into the wall. They can illuminate feature walls and can highlight
your boundary as a security measure.
Reproduced with permission Century 21

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