BCW Design
Essential garden lighting

Written By Bruce Williams
July 2022
Lighting is an important component of garden design and a way to increase outdoor livability and enhance the landscape.

Security lighting is vital to include in any garden design. This functional element of garden lighting provides increased visibility at entrances to the home and illuminates steps, paths and walkways and changes in garden levels. I would not recommend the use of
bright halogen flood lights as these tend to focus the light in a small area and leave shadows in others.

To enhance safety throughout a garden I would use low-level, angled lighting to avoid glare and provide a diffused beam. In this instance I would employ a qualified electrician to install weatherproof, low-voltage LED lights.

Mood lighting can be achieved in an outdoor entertaining area by installing energy-efficient solar powered lighting such as string lights, fairy lights or flickering candles (either real or LED) to create a warm inviting atmosphere.
Common garden lighting mistakes
1) Glare and Shadows
The use of poorly placed fixtures and incorrect globes is a common lighting mistake. This often results in glare and shadows. Harsh glare can be uncomfortable when outdoors and an intrusion for neighbours. The use of fixtures with frosted or tinted glass diffusers
will address this issue. The overuse of floodlights results in a flat and unappealing landscape with no contrast between light and shadow. Good lighting aims to balance the contrast between light and shadow and highlight features in the garden.

2) Halogen instead of LED
A common mistake is the use of cheap halogen globes instead of LED globes which use 85% less power while producing the same amount of light. Halogen globes last for approximately a year, and require regular replacement whilst LED globes have an average
life of 50,000 hours. They cost more to purchase however the savings over time are substantial.

3) Not having a lighting plan
Many amateur lighting designers/installers fail to make a plan of where to install lighting to create the right benefits and effects. This plan is created by walking through a garden space in the evening and shining a torch in different directions. This will highlight the areas in your garden that require practical lighting and which parts atmospheric or mood lighting.