Written By Joseph Farmer, President of GTS Electric Company
Aesthetic lighting considerations for your prized outdoor spaces can transform your landscapes from “very nice” to “WOW!!!”
Garden lighting is very big business, worth millions of dollars every year. There are so many different products available that we are spoiled for choice. For every need you might have there is something to cater to it, and more innovative and tasteful lights come out on a weekly basis. For the widest choice, searching online is the best option by far. In under an hour you can browse through catalogs to your heart’s content, and pick up some great ideas to style your garden in the process.
However, there is nothing better than viewing these products in the flesh, so a trip to garden center should also be on your list of things to do. There is no delivery charge here so bear that in mind. An online light may be cheaper at first, but when you add the shipping charge it may work out more expensive. You also have to wait for delivery from online shopping.
Spot lighting is one of the most common types used in gardens all round the world. They are quick to set up and you can adjust them very easily to change angle. Some of the latest kinds can change the intensity of the light, which you can use to reflect you mood if you like! Others rotate at differing speeds, and can do the work of many lights on their own. Colored bulbs are popular for changing the mood of the garden, which is good for the changing seasons. In summer you can bathe the garden in purples and blues to shine on the blooming flowers, and in autumn you can change this to more neutral colors.
Wrought iron light housings work well if you have other items of iron, such as railings. The light bulb is contained within a very stylish little house or lantern, and some even have leaded windows that have patterns on them, which will reflect across the lawn or plants and create shapes and shadows. The wrought iron will also weather very nicely, and they are very durable, and should last for many years without a lot of maintenance.
So back to the different kinds of light you may come across. Bollard lights are mostly used to light driveways and paths. They come in different heights, ranging from very small to over two feet high. The shape is like a small post, and that is what they are. The most common housing units come in aluminum, brass, copper, stainless steel, bronze and hardwood. Dimmer switches can be used to create a soft glow along the path that is inviting and brings calmness. This can work wonders to change your mood as you get home after a stressful day at work. The “trendy” look has the light contained in the post, as opposed to being on top of the post.
Colored lighting can be used to transform any garden in an instant. Usually the light casing has a colored filter that is used to create the effect. Most spotlights work in this manner, and you can change the filter color for a different color if needed. The typical colors used are red, yellow, green, purple, blue and white. There are other more elaborate colors such as moonlight which produces a cooling effect just like the moonlight. This is achieved by increasing the temperature of the bulb, and is mostly used with halogen lights. Honeycomb filters will spread the light over a wider range, and also split the beam into many unique patterns.
Down-lights and wall spotlights are used to point light in one direction. The down-light needs to placed up high and pointed downwards. Popular places are on walls, beams and on posts. The spot lights can be adjusted at different angles to point at a patio or a certain feature you want illuminated. Down-lights can also be placed in tree branches and have a hook that fits over the branches. If you use these then be careful not too put them in too deep or the branches and leaves may stop the light shining through. Adding frosted filters can help spread the beam all over the branches and gives an extra sparkle.
Up-lights serve a similar, but converse, purpose. Usually used to highlight and draw the eye upwards to accent a feature such as a chimney or flowering tree. And again, the color and intensity of the light can be filtered and adjusted to create just the right ambiance for your outdoor events.
Floodlights are generally used for security and just lighting up an area. They are usually on a sensor that comes on when you trigger it. You can also just have it connected to a switch and turn it on when you are about to go outside. Fitting a timer is also a useful idea for security when your not home and may deter any unwanted people because they are highly visible in your garden. The lamps are very powerful and do use a lot of electricity. Halogen is the most popular kind of bulb for these outdoor lights. The beam is not very focused, and will spread out all over the place, which is the intended result.
Joe, our Project Manager, has a great deal of passion and appreciation for aesthetic lighting design. Give him a call @ 262 367 2GTS-he’ll be delighted to arrange a design consultation for you, free of charge and with-out obligation!