Subtle garden lighting can be a thing of beauty as well as practicality and has so many possible applications. One of my first considerations is always the front of house and parking area, coming home in the dark to an unlit house is a pet hate of mine. It is so much nicer to come home to a well-lit house so that you and your visitors can see where best to park and safely make your way to the front door. Well lit is not the same thing as bright, the best lighting effects are achieved with discreet fittings that offer subtle light to guide you safely.
With the advancement and popularity of glass extensions to homes in the form of conservatories and bi fold doors including exterior lighting can relieve the dark reflection from glass windows at night. Without any exterior lighting your doors and windows will appear as black mirrors at night which can feel oppressive. Lighting in the exterior will relieve the reflections and add a feeling of extending the space as you bring in the exterior views. You can light some focal points in the landscape that can add a dramatic touch at night; this could be a statue or a well-placed tree with up lighting.
Next consider how you will switch and control the lighting system. If your home is complete and you do not have switches and systems in place for exterior lighting control you could consider a remote control lighting system such as Light Symphony. This allows you to switch on your lights in a variety of ways. The front lights might work on a sensor so that as you drive in after dark the front exterior lights come on, a nice way to see yourself safely to the door, especially useful in dark, rural areas with no street lighting. You could have garden lights on different circuits so you can have a variety of zones on giving different effects. Lighting zones can allow for path lighting such as to the tennis court or pool garden. If technology is your thing you can control the lighting from your phone, an IPad or a touch screen in the house. It can be as simple or as sophisticated as you like.
Now consider the fitting – do you want a fitting that looks beautiful all the time so that it complements the garden even in daylight, a rare find indeed. Or do you want the effect of the light but not to notice the fitting, in which case a more discreet fitting is required.
Next consider placement – make sure the fittings deliver the light you need without lots of spill out lighting being wasted e.g in ground lights shining aimlessly into the sky? You are not trying to light a runway! Place lights with their back to the area they are mostly seen from so you do not get eyeglare.
Case Study One
Our client wanted a lighting system that offered a variety of effects to enhance her small garden and extend the use of the space. The textured wall grazed by light at night offers a striking backdrop to the water feature.