Outdoor lighting

Information about what to consider when selecting lights for outside

Outdoor LightingOutdoor lighting allows you to enjoy your garden after dark - although, in the UK, you may also need some kind of outdoor heating!

Placing lights at the entrance of your home provides essential illumination both for yourself and visitors. You won’t need to scramble around in the dark for your keys and make a number of attempts to try and fit them in the lock.

Pairs of lights positioned either side of the door will cast an even light and fitting motion sensors or timers is a good way of conserving energy, but still having light when it’s needed.

When lighting your garden, less is often more. Lighting effects should be subtle, while allowing enough light for you to comfortably spend time outside – without impacting on any neighbours.

Spotlights angled upwards, recessed uplighters sunken into the ground or low level downlights are the best choices. Lights should be dim to avoid light pollution and glare and with the source concealed if possible. This could be achieved by positioning a light amongst pots or plants.

Rather than trying to light the whole of your garden, you should focus on particular areas and create pools of light. This will help to develop a sense of atmosphere and cast interesting shadows. You can also highlight interesting features, such as architectural plants, with spotlights, in the same way you may highlight a feature inside your home.

You should consider safety around paths, steps and seating areas. You can place low level lights around edges, or sunken spotlights near stairs to subtly light the way. The same technique can be used at the front of your home if the approach includes steps.

For barbeques, lights should be placed both in front and to either side in order to cast an even, shadow free light. It’s important to be able to see when food is properly cooked and also to ensure you cook safely.

Additional lighting can be gained from interior lights shining through doors or windows. Candles are another good way of increasing the light levels, citronella candles are particularly good for keeping away insects.

Lights placed in or near a pond or water feature can be magical. Lights around the edges will reflect off the waters surface. Waterproof fittings can be placed inside a pond, although make sure the fittings you choose are safe to use in this way.

There are strict regulations governing the installation of outdoor lights. See our regulations section for more information, although you should always consult a qualified electrician to ensure the highest safety standards.