6 Top Tips to Master Outdoor Lighting Installations

April 24th 2024

6 Top Tips to Master Outdoor Lighting Installations

Outdoor lighting can strike a chill through the hearts of many an electrician, and we don’t mean a wind chill! That’s because many electricians don’t specialise in it, so when landscaping season rolls around once again, that feeling of unfamiliarity can be jarring. But every spring and summer, like clockwork, customers look to electricians for outdoor lighting for their gardens, paths, porches, walls, decks, and patios. The demand is there! Brushing up on your skills with a few simple tips and tricks can go a long way towards a busy summer.

6 Outdoor Lighting Ideas to Raise Your Garden Game

1. Identify the Star Features of the Landscape

Lighting is a powerful way to direct people’s attention. What better way to showcase the distinctive characteristics of a landscape than with strategically placed outdoor luminaires? Begin by surveying the landscape to identify key features. It’s also good to discuss with your customers what is meaningful to them as this may not be immediately apparent.

Whether it’s a centuries-old oak, a sculptural water feature, or a cosy seating area, there are effective lighting techniques that can bring these types of features together to create an unforgettable atmosphere. Wondering what those techniques might be? Our next tip will cover just that.

2. Explore Different Lighting Techniques

By skilfully manipulating light sources, you can alter perceptions, emphasise textures, and highlight architectural features, transforming any space from mundane to magical. Here are several simple but effective lighting techniques that we think will be valuable additions to your toolkit:

Uplighting - Lighting from Below

Uplighting involves placing light sources low to the ground and angling them upward to illuminate the underside of objects or architectural features. This technique creates dramatic shadows and highlights textures, adding depth and dimension to the space.

Downlighting - Lighting from Above

Downlighting places lights above the object or space, casting light downward to mimic the natural direction of sunlight. It’s ideal for enhancing visibility, creating a well-lit environment, and emphasising specific areas or objects with a clear, focused light.

Silhouetting - Backlighting

Silhouetting positions the light source directly behind the object, casting the object in shadow while illuminating the background. This creates a striking contrast, outlining the object in a mysterious or dramatic way and accentuating its silhouette against a brighter backdrop.

Moonlighting - Creating A Natural Moonlit Effect

Moonlighting simulates the soft, diffused light of the moon by placing lights in high positions, often among tree branches, to cast gentle, shadowy light downwards. This technique creates a serene, natural ambience, perfect for evoking the tranquility of a moonlit night.

3. Don’t Forget Front Garden Lighting

It’s an easy mistake to overlook the lighting in the front garden as all the activities tend to happen in the back; however, this is the face of the home that invites (or discourages!) entry. Ground lights along the driveway and spike lights in the flower beds can go a long way to create an enticing atmosphere.

Don’t be afraid to think outside the box. For example, warm white LED strip is very effective at highlighting architectural details while adding a touch of sophistication. Wall lights featuring up/down lighting can create a beautiful wall washing effect, bathing feature walls in a welcoming glow.

4. The Best Places to Install Security Lighting

Ensuring adequate visibility at the front and back of the house is a must for security. Well-lit gardens deter potential intruders by eliminating dark spots that could hide unwelcome visitors. Integrating motion-sensor lights with microwave or passive infrared technologies can further enhance security, activating when someone approaches.

Key areas to install security lighting include exterior doorways, ground-level windows, side gates, and driveways. For rural properties surrounded by nature, installing sensor lights at further entry points can provide more peace of mind. A good idea is to install security lighting high out of reach to prevent potential vandalism.

5. Use Layered Lighting for a Professional Touch

Professional lighting often utilises a layered approach, combining ambient, task, and accent lighting to create depth and interest. Ambient lighting is your main light source or “general lighting” as it is also called, while task lighting is functional, and accent lighting directs attention to specific spaces and features.

To use an example, imagine a back garden patio area where your customer plans to hold summer parties. Begin with soft wall lights to provide ambient lighting, creating a warm and inviting atmosphere. Add task lighting by placing ground lights along the walkways leading to the patio and under the bench seating for visibility and safety. Finally, use spike lights to accentuate the dramatic textures of the garden’s stone wall or to highlight a water feature, adding visual interest to the space.

6. The Real Trick is Not to Overdo It!

Now that you’re armed with all these new outdoor lighting ideas, the temptation is to dive straight in. But before you do, we’d advise checking out our outdoor lumen chart to see approximations of how much light output you will require for different types of outdoor lighting.

You can explore our garden range on our website.