Good outdoor lighting can really enhance your garden or outdoor space, giving it a wonderful ambience as well as practical illumination for important areas. Here we offer you tips and ideas for creating your perfect outdoor lighting scheme, from vintage-style lighting to modern galvanised detail.
When planning outside lighting, the best way to start is by walking around your garden at night to better understand where you want the lighting to be. Think about areas you need to light at night, like a pathway and your front door, areas you will want to use in the evening, such as an eating area, and also features you would like to highlight so that you can see them from inside the house.
There are three different types of light to consider when planning your outdoor scheme:
Task lighting is for a specific purpose, such as illuminating a path or doorway.
Overall light offers lighting throughout a space.
Accent lighting highlights a specific area or object.
When it comes to which light to choose for your outdoor lighting scheme, there are plenty of different styles of outside light to consider. Here are some of our favourites:
The beautifully simple barn lamp is a traditional design that looks good in all schemes, whether you’re in the country, town or city! Wall mounted with a glass cowl suspended from a curved arm, barn lamps come in many colours, sizes and finishes and are a good choice for a porch or outbuilding.
Popular due to their appealing and timeless style, the fishing light has an instantly recognisable design with its swan neck, prominent bolts and curved, deep rim. It evokes nostalgia and is ideally suited to a cottage or seaside garden, although it would also complement all sorts of schemes. Many other outdoor lights have a maritime theme, and you will also find harbour lights, mast lights, mariner lights, ship’s lights and bulk head lights to name a few.
Another great style for outside is a wall light. Available in many designs, sizes, finishes and colours, wall lights sit flat against a wall as opposed to being suspended on an arm. A lantern style light gives off a good all round light, while a down- or up-lighter is perfect for accent or task lighting.
Galvanised outdoor lighting is a finish rather than a style. Hot dipped galvanised steel is specially treated to make it robust and prevent rusting, meaning that it’s ideal for use outdoors even in coastal locations. The galvanisation gives it an attractive soft sheen finish, which looks great in all styles of outdoor lighting.
Important details to consider
Draw a plan of your outdoor lighting scheme so that you know what you want and where you want it. You will either need to notify Building Control if you intend to carry out electrical work in the garden, or it must be installed by a Part P qualified electrician.
Cables buried underground must be covered in a buried warning tape according to regulations, preferably using Steel Wired Armoured cable. Make sure that mains voltage outdoor lighting and electrics stays within building regulations. All outdoor cables, wires, sockets, appliances and lights have to be protected by a residual current device which instantly cuts off power in the event of an emergency.
Please seek professional advice for further information and guidance on installing outdoor lighting and electrics before you begin.
Regular light bulbs can be used in outdoor lighting. As with indoor lighting, choose between LED, halogen and energy saving depending on your light fitting and requirements. Learn more with our Guide to Bulb Types.
Fitting a motion sensor to key task lighting is very useful, whether you’re coming home or helping visitors to navigate the garden at night, or using it as a deterrent for intruders. Inexpensive and easy to install, motion sensors can be attached to most outdoor lighting, although it’s best to check that both the light and the motion detector you choose are compatible.
See our full range of Outdoor Lighting and start planning your outdoor scheme!