Lighting Ideas For Garden And Outdoor Activities

For a long time, the landscape lighting was given much less importance than the interior. But, the fashion for dachas with vegetable gardens, seated with cucumbers, tomatoes, subsided, giving way to country houses with gardens and local areas with a thoughtful landscape design. Of course, enjoy the beauty of the Alpine hills and rainy spruces is more pleasant in the daytime, but with a well-planned lighting the site can look even more spectacular in the dark. Work with lighting is an important part of high-quality landscape design on any site.

Types of landscape lighting

Garden lighting can be both functional and decorative. The task of functional lighting is to assist in orientation in space and to ensure safe movement in the evening or at night: illumination of paths, arbors, driveways, porch with steps, entrance to the territory of the site or to the garage, etc. Functional lighting can be general (or as it is also called scattered), to identify the key objects operated in the dark, and the labeling, which only indicates contours, outlines the direction of movement. The main function of decorative lighting is aesthetic. This type of lighting is equally important, as it allows you to create light compositions and effects, places accents that emphasize the advantages of the landscape and remove sight from the shortcomings.

Functional and decorative lighting can overlap and complement each other. The combination of these two types is an indispensable component of landscape design, if you intend to enjoy the beauty of your garden or plot around the clock.

Types of garden lamps

Garden lights can be combined into several groups in appearance and purpose.

Recessed luminaires

We are talking about luminaires that are built into the ground, the floor of the gazebo, decorative platforms, or in a vertical surface, for example, in the steps of a staircase. In general, such lamps are used for marking, so they should not be too powerful and bright, it is enough to designate the contour of the path to simplify the orientation in space at night. Most often, LED lights are used for these purposes. If the luminaries used in the ground are used as a facade lighting, the power parameter, the type of light source and the lighting angle depends on the effect to be achieved.

Columns and bollards

Lamps of about 2 to 6 inch height can be of different shapes, styles and colors, but as a rule they do not give a powerful light flux, since they are intended for illuminating paths, paths and sometimes for any objects of the landscape, for example, flower beds. The columns have practically no design limitations (from strict classical to luminaries in the form of bells, mushrooms, etc.), but when talking about the bollards (pushing out of the ground luminaries-bars), most often mean high-tech and minimalism. A variety of styles, shapes and materials allows you to choose lamps that meet the general exterior solution. It is worth noting that quite often the bollards have a reflector (reflector) directing the luminous flux downward, directly onto the track.

Lanterns, high poles

Lanterns serve for general illumination of access roads, sports grounds on the territory of the site, parking lots. We can distinguish two groups of fixtures, depending on the distribution of the light flux. To the first, we will take the lights that shine around us, that is, the light flux is distributed around the light source, illuminating not only what was required to illuminate, but also the objects in the immediate vicinity (facade, trees), and from afar it is only a bright spot of the source Light surrounded by darkness. The effectiveness of such lighting, especially on a private site is rather controversial, unless the site is not huge. Lamps of such a plan can certainly be used in landscape lighting projects of the local area, but, in the opinion of many experts, more for decorative purposes. The second group is indices or lamps with reflected, directed light. They are ideal for illumination of access roads, parking lots, since they distribute the light evenly and do not shine around themselves, but specifically on the place to be lit, in addition, such lamps almost do not blind. However, indications, as well as simple high posts, are more suitable for lighting public areas, rather than small private plots.

Searchlights for plant lighting and landscape solutions

This is the simplest type of landscape luminaires, differing in size, type of light source, light distribution angle and installation method. Spotlights help create beautiful decorative effects, highlighting bushes, trees, flower beds. Decorative lighting, in this case, is not limited only to warm or cold white light, it is also possible to create interesting light scenarios with the help of light filters or RGB technologies.

Illumination of reservoirs

The presence of a pond, pool or fountain decorates any site. In our opinion, it is important that this element of the landscape retain its attractiveness even in the dark, and not just a dark spot. In addition, the illumination of the reservoir is also justified from the point of view of safety: even if you know the site as your five fingers, it is always better to see where you are going and be sure that you will not stumble and fall into the water. Therefore, this type of landscape lighting combines both functionality and decorativeness.

Fixtures can be installed along the perimeter of the reservoir, float on the surface or even be completely submerged in water. It is better not to highlight the ponds above, since the rays of light will not penetrate into the depth, being reflected from the surface. Lighting can be simple white, and color – depends on the wishes and overall style of landscape design. It is very important to pay attention that the level of moisture protection of the luminaire is not less than IP 68 (this means that the luminaire can be immersed in water), and the power supply would be from the 12V network (the necessary requirement from the security point of view). The ideal and the safest option – LED lights, because they operate on low voltage, do not heat up and are not sensitive to temperature changes.

Methods for illuminating plants

Undoubtedly, the main role in landscape design is assigned to plants, so their illumination is necessary in order that the site does not lose its attractiveness in the dark.

There are many ways to highlight trees and shrubs: from above, to install a searchlight on the tree trunk, from the lawn under the crown or from below and from the side. The very same lamps and light sources must be selected, given the size of the tree, the texture of the trunk, the shape of the crown, seasonality. For example, if the task is to focus on a beautiful, textured tree trunk, it is better to illuminate the spotlight from below, closer to the trunk itself. This same technique will help emphasize the bizarre forms of beautiful multi-stemmed trees.

If the tree has thick foliage, then the searchlight is better to install on the lawn and at some distance from the trunk or lower branches, especially if it is a question of lighting the spruce. Powerful, large trees with a three-dimensional crown (for example, oaks) are preferably illuminated with several lamps (3-4) from different sides to completely cover the tree.

Tip: the highlight of your garden can be added silhouette lighting – a decorative technique in landscape lighting, in which a light source is installed in a tree or a bush.

The location of the landscape lamp inside the bushes, flowerbeds and even on branches or trunks of trees looks very advantageous. If you decide to fix the searchlight on the tree to illuminate the most interesting fragments of the crown from the inside, think in advance how to bring the power to the lamp, without greatly violating the appearance of the tree in daylight.

The illumination of the tree from above is a habitual for the eye and the most natural variant of illumination. The problem in this case can arise only with the support to which the searchlight will be attached, especially if the tree is very tall. In this case, you can illuminate the tree from the lawn, highlighting only the lower part of the crown with light.

Tip: fashionable and effective reception of landscape lighting – place the searchlight so that an interesting shadow from the tree falls on the fence, gazebo or light wall. The tree itself will not bear any decorative load under such illumination.

Accent, spotlight is very good for separately standing trees, bushes, small flower beds. For example, high annual plants are very advantageous looking at a dark background. If you want to highlight a group of plants, a three-dimensional flower garden, general lighting will do. Do not try to illuminate as many plants as possible, especially trees: just focus on just a few elements of your garden, highlight details. The landscape composition can only be partially snatched from the darkness. Even one well-lit tree can look very impressive.

The color temperature of the luminaires will help to achieve an additional decorative effect: in colder white light, the colors appear brighter, and the objects appear a little further than in fact, warm white light, on the contrary, visually approximates. Juicy greens will be beneficial to look in the cold spectrum (from 4000K), but if there are maples in the garden that look particularly impressive in the golden autumn, then lamps with a color temperature of 2700-3000K will help to emphasize their splendor. For recreation areas in the garden, patios and arbors are also preferable warm white light.

The main features of outdoor lighting design

The variety of types and forms of lamps for the garden creates an almost unlimited space for the imagination of the landscape designer, but there are a number of features that should not be forgotten when designing lighting.

1)When choosing garden fixtures, it is necessary to pay attention to the level of dust and moisture protection of the luminaire, which is indicated by the above-mentioned IP marking and two digits (the higher the number, the higher the protection). The first figure means protection from solid objects, the second – from water ingress. IP44 is the minimum protection level for street lights.
Light noise outside the city is much less than in the city, so the lamps will need less power.
2) General lighting is achieved by crossing light streams. If, for example, a landscape designer faces the task of lighting a path in the garden, rather than creating separate light spots on it, then it should be remembered that the smaller the lamps in height, the less distance there should be between them.
3) A very important factor that must be taken into account in most regions of our country is ground freezing: it is best to make a concrete base for the pillars so that the luminaires do not squint.
For safety reasons, the cable must be well protected, insulated, and the depth at which it is laid must be at least 80-90 cm.
4) When buying a lamp, pay attention to the material from which it is made. Plafonds and diffusers can be made of heat-resistant glass, plexiglass or polycarbonate, but the choice of materials for the case is somewhat larger. The most popular luminaires are from stainless steel, but there are many more options for street materials: stone, concrete, wood, cast iron, etc. Please note, if you decide to install lights in a garden with a wooden case, then you need to be prepared for the fact that they will need careful care. Wooden parts of the lamp several times a year must be treated with a special solution to preserve the original color.
5) In winter, when clearing snow on the site, be careful, as you can accidentally damage the plafond or the body of the lamp, which appeared in the snow. If the lights built into the ground do not heat up to a sufficient temperature to build snow (for example, LED lights), consider in advance how and how you will clear them, and whether.
6) When planning landscape lighting, remember that the main thing is not to overdo it. Your neighbors will probably light up their plot, and some of the light will penetrate your garden. Therefore, it is better to make a few extra outlets in case you want to add light, than to put extra lights and not include them from what is already too light. In addition, take care that the bright light from the garden does not penetrate into the house, especially in the bedroom.
7) To illuminate the tracks, lamps with directional light are best suited, since they only light up what needs to be illuminated and do not blind. Classical lamps, with a shining bubble, will illuminate themselves, not the road.
8) In landscape lights it is preferable to use energy-saving light sources – this will significantly reduce the cost of electricity.
9) Do not forget that halogen and incandescent lamps have a tendency to heat up: this can damage the plant if such a light source is too close.
10) Lamps on the peaks for installation in the ground – the most practical solution for highlighting fast-growing and young plants. Such a luminaire can be moved, if necessary.
11) Design landscape design and lighting of the site is best at the same time to avoid the need to rework anything.
12) Think a few scenarios of lighting independent of each other: it is desirable that the illumination of plants, highlighting tracks and arbors could be turned on separately.

Perception of landscape design in the evening and at night depends entirely on lighting. A rational and well-designed lighting will create an atmosphere of coziness and comfort in the dark, ensure the safety of movement around the site and help link the image of the evening and day garden.