Top tips on lighting your garden

It is important when planning garden lighting to remember that a little goes a long way

It is important when planning garden lighting to remember that a little goes a long way - Credit: Archant

Get switched on, improve security and bring your garden to life in a few easy steps

It is important when planning garden lighting to remember that a little goes a long way

It is important when planning garden lighting to remember that a little goes a long way - Credit: Archant

At one time our gardens simply provided a place for the children to play or somewhere to sit on a sunny day. Times have changed dramatically, and today there is scope for gardens to become so much more.

No matter what the financial constraints, we all have access to numerous choices of hard landscaping products for patios and pathways; garden buildings, from a decorative and restful summerhouse to a spacious outdoor office or just a small gazebo – all are readily available. Additionally, garden furniture now comes in styles, textures and colour too numerous to mention, but guaranteed to satisfy all tastes.

Essentially, our gardens are now a useful and attractive extension to our homes, and it is possible to add a further dimension by installing outdoor lighting. This not only allows for garden enjoyment throughout the dark days of winter, but has the added benefit of providing security for your home.

Follow these tips which will assist you in designing your own garden lighting:

• It is important when planning garden lighting to remember that a little goes a long way. Understated and subtle are the key words to bear in mind. Consider too the aspect of neighbours and light pollution. Remember that it is only your garden that you are illuminating, and a feud with neighbours would be a very regrettable side effect.

• Aim for layers of light using step lights at low level, spiked fitting to highlight medium to large plants, or small trees and floodlights which can be aimed into mature trees to highlight the canopy and create a magical silvery glow.

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• Be selective about the features you decide to light and look for focal points at the end of vistas which will extend the sense of space. By using remote-controlled wireless equipment, it is possible to vary the features you choose to highlight or to change the light levels as necessary in entertaining areas.

• Be flexible and think seasonally. Spiked fittings are an ally in this as they can be repositioned to allow for growth and to create different effects as the garden matures. Divide the garden into areas and think of each space as a room. This will help you to consider the level of light you require and the ambient effect that you would like to achieve.

• Investigate the variety of light fittings and finishes that are available today and choose fittings carefully. Decide whether you want the fitting to blend into the background or to make a design statement in its own right. Black and stainless steel tend to blend in, and copper ages beautifully but can be expensive. A distinctive fitting could make a suitable entrance light in a front porch.

Although lighting your garden will provide a reasonable level of security, the two are distinct from one another. It is therefore advisable to ensure that they are controlled separately.

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Advice provided by David Maltby MD, The Stroud Lighting Company, Fromeside, Dr Newtons Way, Stroud GL5 3JX.