Lighting the Landscape

Paint a picture with light and shade

Lighting Tips & Tricks

When designing your scheme, try to think of it in its entirety, rather than as separate parts. All the elements should fit together and be in balance. Remember that things visible during the day can be left in darkness, so you have the opportunity to make dramatic changes to your visible landscape.

Less is more
Shadow is as important to your scheme as light, so don’t try to light everything. Instead retain some mystery. Also keep it subtle – very bright garden lighting can look brash and artificial.

Hide the light source
It’s the lighting effect you want to see, not the fitting. So wherever possible, hide the light source – behind a shrub, perhaps a rock, a pot or a wall.

Experiment with lighting effects
Try throwing shadow onto walls, creating reflections in ponds or using backlighting to create interesting effects. The possibilities are endless.

Create a scene
Create a different look with outdoor garden lighting at night than it has during the day. The night view will often be more dramatic than the day view. We use the term “picking out” as you will only see what you light at night not the surrounding area.

Wattage and beam angles
The wide range of beam angles, wattages, mounts and options such as frosted lenses means you can tailor each light source to create a precise effect. For instance, if you need to increase the beam throw of a lamp, try using a 20w lamp with a 10 deg. beam angle, rather than upgrading to a 35w or 50w lamp.

Coloured lamps
When effecting a lamp change always remove the failed lamp first to ensure the replacement is the same wattage and beam angle. It is false economy to buy cheap lamps. Ensure the replacement has a rating of at least 5000 hours.

Use the highest quality equipment and materials your budget will allow; it will last longer and offer more options.

Avoid glare
When it comes to garden lighting, there’s no razzle in dazzle. So try to angle the light beams away from your lines of sight. Where this isn’t possible, glare guards can reduce dazzle.

Placing near plants
If you’re installing lights in winter, remember that your herbaceous plants will be growing in the summer. Try to avoid placing lights where they will be swamped by summer foliage.

Keep your stainless steel stainless
If you opt for stainless steel fittings, regular washing to remove salt spray will prevent staining. There are also cleaning products especially for stainless steel.

Taking care of your cable
Black low voltage electrical cable is fairly invisible when placed on soil, but you can hide it by burying it in an inch or two of soil. Keen gardeners might prefer to keep cable visible to avoid accidentally damaging it when digging.

Installing your lighting scheme
We recommend using a qualified electrician to install your lighting and make sure all the electrical circuits are protected by an RCD. Only use electrical equipment designed for exterior use with the appropriate IP rating, and do not even think about protecting equipment with plastic bags or temporary wrappings, use proper weatherproof enclosures.

Halogen light sources do generate a considerable anount of heat therefore precautions should be taken when considering their location, particularly at low level in public areas where children may come into contact. Normally there is always a solution, therefore, if in doubt please contact your local Hunza distributor for advice.

Careful placement
Avoid installing garden lights in the undergrowth of low shrubs or tall grasses, when lighting exteriors. The beam of light needs unimpeded passage from the fixture to the focal point so there are no distracting spots of reflected light (unless you want a shadowy effect, in which case the opposite applies). When lighting a deck pay particular attention to where people sit and try to avoid glare. As with deck lights and other garden lights the light source needs to be positioned so that you are not looking directly at the luminaire.

© Lighting Pacific Ltd 2006

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