Garden Lighting

Gardens are often extensions to our homes, or ‘outdoor rooms’ leading directly from a kitchen or conservatory. Clever garden lighting can create relaxing spaces, pathways, highlight architectural features, or welcome you home.
Collaboration Iain MacDonald Design
James Balston Photography

If you love your garden and have invested time and money into landscaping and planting, it deserves to be beautifully lit. Gardens are now seen as extensions of our homes, or ‘outdoor rooms’ leading directly from a kitchen or conservatory. Clever outdoor lighting can create pathways, highlight architectural features, exotic plants or water fountains. Without it, your beautiful garden will only be enjoyed during daylight hours. Work with Kate & Sam to maximise the pleasure of your outdoor space. You can invite your garden designer or landscape architect to join the video consultancy workshop for a completely collaborative experience.

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Image courtesy of Adare Manor Hotel
James Balston Photography
Collaboration Softroom Architects
Image courtesy of Adare Manor Hotel
Collaboration Iain MacDonald Design
Kate & Sam will share their inspirational garden lighting ideas in your online lighting design consultation. Lighting your garden creates an outdoor room. Even from inside your home, your eye is drawn outside creating a visual extension and sense of space. The beauty of garden lighting design comes from the stark contrast between bright light against the dark night.

The first step will be to identify which areas of your garden you would like to focus on, whether that is a striking tree, planting, sculpture, architectural or water feature. You may wish to provide a warm welcome to visitors by lighting your driveway or placing outdoor wall lights directly outside your front door. Everything else can remain hidden by the darkness.

There are practicalities to consider in garden design, such as highlighting steps, pathways or driveways for guidance and safety reasons. Even if you are uplighting a row of large terracotta pots, this will guide the way whilst providing a stunning light effect at the same time. Exterior LED lighting is ideal as it is very energy efficient and there is always the option of solar lighting to consider. You can use multiple layers of light to create either subtle or more dramatic effects. Warm lighting is ideal, between 2200K – 3000K, creating a soft effect without disturbing any animals. Kate & Sam can advise you on all the technical aspects of garden lighting.
Flexibility is a key consideration as you may wish to move lights around your garden depending on the season and when particular plants are in bloom. If you have a water feature take full advantage of the movement and patterns created by refracted light. Strategic lighting coupled with the gentle sound of flowing water is magical. A simple spotlight underneath water flow or clever swimming pool lighting can create a real feature in your outside space. Light up pathways that lead to a pagoda or seating area.

There are all kinds of exterior lighting fixtures to choose from with important safety recommendations that can all be discussed in your online consultation. Kate & Sam can offer professional advice on the spread of light and the selection of specific equipment. Garden lighting will transform a languishing and under-appreciated space into a practical and elegant outdoor room that you can enjoy every evening.

Meet Kate and Sam

Sam Neuman

Having made a career in architectural lighting design, Sam has worked alongside a number of leading practices from Imagination to NDYLight, WSP and more. Sam is an active member of the lighting community and regularly presents lectures and publishes articles around his areas of expertise.

Sam has worked with several leading practices and has dedicated his career to architectural lighting design. He is active within the lighting design community by presenting lectures and publishing articles.

Kate Wilkins

Kate has worked on a number of lighting projects for a wide variety of live performance, architectural and artistic lighting designs since 1991. Fascinated by the way lighting can change our moods, Kate also loves to explore human behaviour with experimental lighting projects.

Kate is particularly fascinated by the mood altering effects of light and the deep connection to our senses. She is currently researching sleep patterns and optimising bedroom environments for both adults and children.


How can I reduce light pollution with my garden lighting?

We all know how annoying unwanted, uncontrollable spill light can be and with a considered design and choice of lighting equipment you can control and reduce light pollution. Lots of lighting ranges now come with cowls and snoots to help control light. Aim and lock adjustable lights in position and reduce the number of spotlights and infloor uplights pointing straight up into the sky.

Can I use solar powered garden lights?

Until very recently solar power for garden lighting has not been a viable proposition. There are an increasing number of products and lighting combinations that come with a small solar panel and remote battery and they seem to work ok. At HLI we’ve not had a chance to test them all out but we are always looking. However from experience, for a small low key lighting element, solar powered lighting can work but for a permanent brighter solution that delivers nice lighting even into the winter months we still recommend a hard wired solution.

Is planning permission required for external lighting?

Light itself, and minor domestic light fittings, are not typically subject to planning controls. Nevertheless we all know how annoying unwanted, uncontrollable spill light can be and with a considered design and choice of lighting equipment you should take care to minimise impact to others and the surrounding environment. The birds, bats and other nocturnal beasts will also appreciate this approach.

What IP rating do I need for External Lighting?

IP rating for external lights typically start at around IP44 but IP67 or IP68 will offer better protection. As well as the lights you also need to think about the IP rating of connectors and connection boxes and the specification of the cables. The fewer the connections the fewer weak links you’ll have in the installation. and by putting lights externally in the landscape you are placing them into a harsh unforgiving environment. Many years of lighting design for gardens has tough us that where water or humidity can get in, it will!

How bright should outdoor lights be?

The eye is a phenomenally powerful organ and can works in lux levels ranging from 0.1 Lux to 100000 Lux+. After dark, the amount of light needed to highlight and pickout features is surprisingly low. The lighting guides offer suggested Lux levels for paths and steps etc. However, these levels are meaningless when there is too much contrast in the scene. The eye is not good at balancing great contrast. When you are planning you garden lighting you need to carefully choose how you want to experience and see your garden and pick positions that eliminate or reduce glare from luminaires. There are also lots of lighting products that now come with glare and spill light accessories helping to make your garden feel comfortable and look attractive.

Will you visit site if I need you?

Contact us directly if you’d like to arrange a site visit.

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“We have been working with Kate&Sam for many years now. They provide the expertise and technical knowledge, which bring our designs to life. Sam always goes the extra mile to ensure we receive the best lighting solution for our clients which provide maximum effect for the budget.”

Anne M

“I have worked with Kate and Sam on a few projects now. They have been involved in the lighting design from the outset. Their response was always personal, creative and imaginative with options to develop and choose from. They were always available, delivered to the project timescales and I have no hesitation in recommending their services”

Bryn G

“Our kitchen lighting was dour and dark, and it was transformed into a wonderfully functional area with lots more light, yet it still created a more homely and warm feeling.”


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Find out more information on the perfect home lighting ideas for you. Book an online consultancy and discover how we can help make your house a home.

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