We’ve already looked at how you can make the most of your indoor lighting with our LED Room-by-room Guide, so in this guide we’re going to focus on how you can get the most from your outdoor lighting.
Whether you’re looking to add a bit of sparkle to your garden or you want to give your home a safety boost, we’ll tell you everything you need to know about choosing the right outdoor lighting to make any outside space sparkle.
Getting started with outdoor LED lighting
First things first, you need to think about what you are trying to achieve with your outdoor lighting scheme.
Are you looking to brighten up your patio area to enjoy on a warm summer evening? Do you want to make your home a little safer with some motion-sensitive security lighting? Or are you simply looking to shed some light on shadowy pathways to make it easier to navigate your way around the garden?
Once you know what you want to do with your outside space, it will be easier to find the lights you are looking for.
Task lighting is perfect for providing some essential illumination in areas that require activities to be performed, such as putting the bins out or rooting around for your front door keys.
Lantern style wall lights near entrances and porches will not only help you identify callers, but also make visitors feel welcome. Flush-fitting wall lights are also a good option for finding your way down narrow side entries and alleyways.
It’s a good idea to position any light switches for your task lighting near to the areas the light is being used. For example, place your rear or side light switches near to the back door so that you can flick a switch on your way out.
Accent lighting is a great way to add a bit of drama to your garden and highlight any special features that you want to show off.
If you want to shed some light on your favourite plant, tree or sculpture, wall-mounted spotlights create a stunning pool of light when placed a short distance away. You can even mount two spotlights either side of the feature for a softer, more flattering effect.
Alternatively, walkover lights or floodlights used as uplighters to highlight features from below also have a stunning dramatic effect. And you can even use a few a few spike lights to really make your shrubs shine.
Elsewhere in your garden, a scattering of candle-lit hanging lanterns will help create a warm and intimate atmosphere on patios and decking areas.
Ambient or background lighting
Whether it’s incorporated into decking, patios, pathways or other areas, ambient or background lighting is a little more practical than accent lighting, providing enough light for everyday activities.
Decking lights or freestanding fittings such as bollard lights installed around the edge of a patio or decking area will give off ambient pools of lights, and are useful for marking out stairs and pathways for easy navigation.
If your garden becomes an extension of your living area, particularly in the summer months, a few well-positioned wall lights are a great way to generate some ambient background light without being too overbearing.
If security is a priority, you can’t go wrong with installing a few floodlights in your garden. Whether it’s motion sensor-controlled or a constant light, floodlights are a great way of covering your garden or driveway in bright light, helping to keep your home secure.
For a lighting solution that really deters intruders, go for something with a built-in passive infrared (PIR) detector, such as this 10W Mini LED Floodlight with Driver & PIR.
Floodlights with a PIR detector are automatically activated by heat or movement, so any unwanted visitors approaching your home will trigger the system and be caught in an unwelcoming pool of bright light.
However, if you’re worried about your security lights activating every time someone walks past your home, you can adjust the field of activation so that it is only triggered by motion in your garden. Many systems also come with a manual override option, so you can turn them on constantly if you need to.
Get the right IP rating for outdoor lighting
Outdoor light fittings always carry an Ingress Protection rating. This rating is marked by the letters “IP” followed by 2 digits. The first digit indicates the level of protection it has against objects getting inside it and the second refers to how waterproof it is.
The minimum number for each rating on an outside light is 4. So as a general rule, when choosing outdoor lights, make sure they have IP rating of 44 (IP44). If your outdoor lighting comes into contact with other water sources such as sprinklers or fountains, the IP rating will need to be higher.
Why choose LEDs?
Outside lighting comes in a whole range of light sources, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. However, not many provide the same kind of efficiency, longevity and durability as LEDs.
LED lighting is extremely energy efficient, with an average lifespan of up to 50,000 hours. They are also much safer than other lighting technologies, producing a heatless beam of light which makes them ideal to install near plants or foliage, without the risk of causing damage.
Extend your evenings
So there you have it. Hopefully you now have everything you need to make an informed choice on your outside lighting solution, so you can enjoy your garden for longer.