Australians love entertaining outdoors, whether it’s a family get together or an Australia Day BBQ. Don’t let the sun go down on your party this year!
Outdoor lighting has the ability to bring a small courtyard to life, or extend the useable area of a larger garden so you can make the most of it all year round. Outdoor lights can also boost the curb appeal of your home at night time, as well as reduce dark areas to improve security at night.
Well designed outdoor lighting can lift the atmosphere of your outdoor areas. But poorly designed outdoor lighting can look stark, glarey or create dark spooky patches without light. So it’s important to think about the end result that you’re hoping for, before you even begin!
We’ve put together 8 Steps to the Perfect Outdoor Lighting. And if you need an electrician to help installing some outdoor lighting, Kenner Electrics is here to help, just give us a call on (03) 9996 0663.
#1 - Consider how you are planning to use the outdoor space
The most important aspect of outdoor lighting is the mood created by the lights. Lighting has a huge effect on the atmosphere of a space, think about the difference between office lighting and restaurants, or between your bedroom and bathroom.
Thinking about how you intend to use your outdoor areas will ensure that you set the right tone for the space. Consider if you’ll be holding more intimate gatherings or throwing huge parties. Do you have any areas that would benefit from task lighting such as a BBQ area or an outdoor kitchen? Will you be needing the outdoor lights to provide safe navigation of pathways, or do you have a specific feature that you’d like to illuminate?
Asking these questions early will help make sure you are investing in an outdoor lighting set up that is tailored to your needs.
#2 - Learn about all the options for different types of outdoor light
Outdoor lighting is definitely not a one size fits all scenario. There are many different types of lights that all serve a slightly different purpose and help you to achieve your desired atmosphere.
In broad categories, there is task lighting which illuminates an area where ‘tasks’ are completed, such as a cooking area. Ambience lighting provides general background lighting and is used to set the mood in outdoor areas. Accent lighting focuses on a particular feature that you’d like to highlight, such as a tree or an architectural feature on your house. When used together in layers, these three categories of exterior lighting can come together to create a seamless outdoor experience.
Within those categories there are different types of light fitting, ranging from deck lights, wall lights, spot lights, up-down lights, feature lights and much more. We’ve unpacked what each type of light is designed for and how to use it in our blog.
#3 – Get creative with your lighting design
Once you’ve considered how you’ll use your outdoor space and found out about all the different types of lights, it’s time to get creative! Walk around your garden and plan the layout of your outdoor lighting. You might not have considered uplights to illuminate the length of your driveway, or step lights to safety navigate stairs. Now is the time to dream!
Just be aware that sometimes less is more, especially in the outdoor lighting world. You’ll want to avoid overdoing the lighting so that it doesn’t all blend into one bright area. Smaller pools of light create areas of interest and help to create drama and layers within your garden. Also, be considerate of glarey lights that might disturb your neighbours.
#4 – Compliment your existing features
The style of the light fitting that you choose is completely up to you, but you may want to consider complimenting the existing features of your home. If you have a contemporary home, modern light fittings will be in keeping with the style of your home. Whereas heritage homes may look better when paired with antique style light fittings.
Kenner Electrics can help by recommending light fittings that would suit your home.
#5 – Be attentive to the technical specifications
When choosing light fittings, there are a few things you need to be aware of.
- Colour of the lighting – the ‘temperature’ of the lights that you choose is crucial for creating the right mood in your outdoor space. Warm white lights (3000k) create an inviting, calm and romantic atmosphere which is usually the best choice for outdoor lighting. Cool white and Daylight light fittings (4000k-5500k) are usually too harsh and bright for mood lighting, but may be more suitable for accent lighting of tall trees or for security lighting.
- Energy efficiency – LED should be the only option you consider. Fluorescent, incandescent and halogen lights are old technology now and don’t last as long as LED lights. It is important to buy good quality LED globes to make sure they last (as with any electronics!) Existing halogen globes or metal halide floodlights can be replaced with LED for huge energy savings.
- IP rating – outdoor lights need to be able to weather the outdoors! A minimum rating of IP54 (IP65 is better) is required to ensure that the light is adequately weatherproof and will last the test of time.
- Material of the light fitting – if you live near salt water then it’s important you consider corrosion resistant light fittings. This means it is even more important to buy good quality light fittings and potentially even buying a light fitting that is made of 316 marine grade stainless steel or similar in order to ensure the light fittings last more than just a year or two.
- Solar vs hard wired – solar garden lights may not be the best option because they rely on direct sunlight, which restricts their location in your garden. The lighting levels from solar lights can also fluctuate depending on the weather and they are usually lower quality fittings so your energy savings may be spent on higher replacement costs. Kenner Electrics recommends hard wired garden lighting to ensure longevity and to get the best lighting results.
When you get Kenner Electrics to install your outdoor lighting, we’ll think about all these things for you!
#6 – Think about how you want to control your outdoor lights
There are lots of ways to control outdoor lighting, it all depends on your lifestyle and how you want to use it.
- Movement sensors work well for outdoor lighting that assists with navigation, such as entryways or pathways. Security lighting is often paired with movement sensors to deter unwelcome visitors at night.
- Sunset switches/daylight sensors turn the lighting on at dusk so that you get the benefit of your landscape lighting every night.
- Electronic timers allow you to create schedules so you can automatically turn the lights on and off whenever you want
For more information on the different control methods of outdoor lighting, see our blog on ‘Movement Sensors, Security Lighting & Energy Saving’.
#7 – Get your outdoor lighting professional installed
For reliable service and quality workmanship, get in touch with Kenner Electrics. We can advise you on the best choice for your outdoor lighting and find a solution that fits your needs. Our professional electricians will think about all the technical requirements of the job, so all you have to do is sit back and enjoy your space!
#8 – Enjoy your outdoor space!
Plan your next event, have a quiet drink overlooking your garden, smile when you don’t have to fumble for your keys in the dark… Now it’s up to you!