Outdoor lighting should never be an afterthought as it can dramatically add to the aesthetics and functionality of your garden and alfresco entertainment areas. We share tips for those considering illuminating their outdoor spaces.
Ray of light
New-generation outdoor lighting allows you to illuminate your home’s architectural features. “Attention to detail is seen as a sophisticated décor style, especially when it comes to latest lighting technology trends,” says Jabulile Khumalo, marketing coordinator at Radiant Group.
According to Khumalo, “Outdoor lighting has been revolutionised by a range of products available to accentuate the outdoors and create ambiance. It has the power to unify a space and merge elements to form a clear design narrative.”
He adds that uplighting, downlighting, spotlighting and accent lighting are but some of the many lighting techniques used to produce various effects.
Beam me up
To balance form and function, start by creating different zones and choose light fixtures accordingly, suggests Lionel Keir, quality assurance officer at Spazio Lighting, “The key is to create layers of light by illuminating trees, pathways and focal points in the garden.”
“Be practical. Functional areas like your patio or braai area should always have good lighting,” says Keir. Khumalo agrees. “Home owners spend a lot of time outdoors. Patios have become an extension of our indoor living areas. So it’s important to accentuate these spaces with good lighting.”
“Creative, functional lighting is a brilliant way to illuminate outdoor space. Two great ways to do this are with illumined planters or illuminated furniture,” suggests Alon Sachs, founder of Mobelli Furniture + Living.
To create after-dark appeal in the garden, consider the interplay of light and shadow. This symbiotic relationship creates an extra layer of interest. Mix indirect lighting bulkheads and concealed-use lights. Add extra lighting to wash soft streaks of light over your lawn and pathway.
Create contrast by using an interplay of positive and negative space. For example, use soft lighting on the patio overlooking the garden. Looking to create a welcoming atmosphere at the touch of a button? According to Keir, “Dimmable-option LEDs are ideal for setting the mood and ambience around your entertainment area.”
Add layers of lighting leading up to your home’s entrance. Khumalo suggests: “Create a warm, welcoming scene with a fusion of LED wall lights and softer waterproof strip lights to illuminate a staircase.”
Well-planned spotlights can be used to illuminate trees and statement plants. “LED spike and floodlights are easy to install in between plants,” says Khumalo.
“Strategically placed customised LED spotlights or waterproof strip lighting are ideal for architectural elements like water features and swimming pools,” says Keir. For a less permanent option, Sachs suggests illuminating your pool with floating LED Orb Balls.
• Eco-savvy: According to Khumalo, “Lighting design trends focus on the ability to have better control and more energy-efficient products.” So up your garden’s eco credentials with solar-energy solutions or low-wattage LEDs. They’re available in a range of shapes and sizes to suit any aesthetic.
TIP: Use timers and motion sensors to make sure that lights don’t stay on in areas that aren’t in use.
• Tech-boffin: Be ahead of the game with automated and integrated lighting systems, suggests Keir. “Thanks to strides in technology, the latest lighting fixtures can be pre-programmed to switch on and off at set times,” he notes. Or why not link your lighting to your cellphone or a customised keypad?