We have the most glorious weather (for now!) and we, at Socket Store, hope you are all out there enjoying it, but with our summer sunshine always so short lived we wanted to make sure you’re making the most of the time in the garden.
Evenings in the garden with a cool bottle of beer or a glass of something bubbly, music playing in the background and surrounded by great company is the epitome of summer days to us at Socket Store, so how can lighting help you enjoy it? We’ve got five tips to help your outdoor space work for you.
Task Lighting Vs Mood Lighting
First off, don’t forget the basic of indoor lighting also go for outdoor lighting, but it’s often missed. To get the most of your lights you need to work out what you are trying to achieve.
Task lighting is quite simply the practical lighting that helps you ‘do things’. In the garden this type of lighting is normally making your life easier. Lighting up the path, highlighting obstacles like stairs or lighting up your porch so the neighbours can find the doorbell when they’re popping over to share a bottle of plonk with you!
While mood lighting also lends itself to lighting up garden spaces, it is also there to give ambience to your evenings. Sometimes it’s not at all practical, but it looks great! Don’t fret though, there are plenty of mood lights that are practical too!
There are two main types of automatic lights used outdoors. These are lights that are triggered by something, whether it is movement or changes in light.
Passive Infrared Sensors (PIR Sensors) work by detecting movement. They turn on when they detect movement. Perfect for task lighting, like turning on porch lights when someone approaches. Not so good for mood lights. You end up spending half your life waving your hands in the air (like you just don’t care!) trying to get the lights to turn back on again. These are normally used in combination with dusk ‘till dawn lights (see below) so they only react to movement at night.
Dusk ‘Till Dawn Lights
These lights turn on at dusk time, and stay on through the night, turning off as dawn emerges from the darkness. This is great for mood lighting, especially soft lighting.
Don’t Annoy the Neighbours
While being outdoors is great in the summertime, lighting can also cause friction with the neighbours if it’s not installed properly. Make sure the light is not directly pointing towards the neighbour’s property – especially if it’s shining into their window! Also, if you are installing PIR lighting you will be able to block out parts of the PIR so that it only clicks on when you want it to. Neither you or your neighbour wants your floodlights turning on every time they walk down their path. It will annoy them and increase your energy bill. If your sensors can’t be directed just put some insulation tape over the section you don’t want to use.
Don’t Annoy the (Wildlife) Neighbours
Projecting different colours into the trees, lighting up the bushes and other soft mood lighting looks great, but it can seriously upset the wildlife, both nocturnal and diurnal (daylight animals). Imagine trying to doze off to sleep and someone shine a bright light in your eyes. It’s not nice! For nocturnal animals, the lights can throw off their night vision and cause problems with their hunting. If you are going to project into trees and bushes try to minimise the area affected (keep the light in your garden) and minimise the time it’s on. Either put it on a timer, or switch it on when you’re outside and switch it off when you head indoors.
No matter what you do we would recommend LED for all your lights. You are going save a bundle of cash on the running costs, and you will nearly always get a brighter light, especially with the modern LED floodlights.
Many of the LED floodlights are now integrated LED lights, meaning there is no light bulb to change. The LED is integrated into the light. It does mean you’ll need to change the whole unit rather than changing the bulb when it does (finally) fail, but with 30,000 to 40,000 hours of light with most lights you are not going to be changing them in a hurry!
Traditional Outdoor Lights
Even when you are looking for a traditional outdoor light, they will all take LED bulbs. Once again, they will give you a substantial saving on your energy bill, they will last for years to come – and you can also choose the right colour light to suit you. Cool white for a nice white effect, or warm white for a softer more traditional feel.
Conclusion? Get in the Garden!
We hope we’ve given you a couple of things to think about when putting lights into your garden. Outdoor lighting is an area that is overlooked, but it can transform your outdoor space. We have a huge range of outdoor lighting to choose from, so grab your iPad, a glass of wine and browse away!