Outdoor Lighting: A Simple Buying Guide
There’s no denying that summer has well and truly arrived, and along with mowing the lawn and setting out the patio furniture, it’s a great opportunity to upgrade your garden with a little outdoor lighting. Not only does outdoor lighting provide practical benefits, but it can also be a great way to create a stylish and welcoming space for you and your guests. In addition to making areas safer and easier to navigate, outdoor lighting also has the potential for you to put your own stamp on your space, creating something that’s truly unique. If you’re new to the world of outdoor lighting, there are a few things to consider before you get started, which is why we’ve put together a few tips to help you get it right. As well as looking at the practical and safety aspects, we’ll also give you a few hints when it comes to trending styles too, making sure that you reap all of the benefits.
What to Consider
The first thing to consider is what function your outdoor lighting will serve. Is it for additional security? Is it purely decorative? Or is it a bit of both? If you’re wanting to deter intruders, you may benefit more from specific security lighting, as you can take advantage of features such as PIR sensors to give you extra peace of mind. If you’re looking at creating something more atmospheric, you can opt for more subtle styles such as outdoor recessed lighting, which is a great way to add some gentle illumination to the exterior of your home.
Consider whether or not your lighting choice will be a permanent fixture or whether you’ll be wanting to change up the location at some point in the future. Location and function of your lighting can often go hand in hand - for example, if you’re opting for security lighting, this will undoubtedly be a permanent fixture, while decorative pieces you may want to move around at a later date, so opting for something such as spike lights can be ideal, particularly if you regularly change up the layout of your garden.
Certain sizes and styles of lighting can be better suited to certain sizes of outdoor spaces, so it’s important to take both of these into account. If you have a large space you’re wanting to illuminate, floodlights are ideal, but for more confined areas, smaller styles of wall lights will look more in proportion and will also provide some gentle illumination that’s not too overpowering.
When it comes to the type of bulb, there are a number of options to choose from. Incandescent light bulbs are the most common, but they’re known for getting very hot over time, so they might not be the best option if you have young children or pets roaming! In addition, they tend to have a shorter lifespan than other types and are the least energy efficient option. For a more cost effective alternative, LED bulbs can be a great option as not only do they have a longer lifespan than incandescent ones, they are also much more energy efficient. Halogen bulbs are also a good alternative to incandescent, as they can be cheaper and are easy to replace.
Make sure that you also choose your brightness carefully too by checking the wattage on your bulbs. Again, this can come back to the function and location of your lights - if you’re wanting to deter intruders, higher wattage bulbs can be the way to go, but if you just want to add a bit of ambiance to your garden for a few evening drinks, you certainly won’t want to be blinded while trying to drink your Pimms!
There are a few options when it comes to choosing your power source too - and again this can depend on the type of lighting you go for. Electrical lighting is used for permanent fixtures and will need to be fitted properly and in many cases may require a professional to carry out the job safely and to ensure that it complies with UK standards. Solar and battery powered lighting is often a simpler option as they don’t require any wiring. Solar powered lights are a great choice for outdoor lighting as you can simply fix them in place and you’re good to go, not to mention the fact that they’re a more energy efficient way of lighting your space. Thanks to improvements in technology over the recent years too, they’re now more powerful and have a much longer lifespan than before. As for battery powered lights, again, they can be a much simpler alternative to electrical, but if you’re using them regularly they’ll undoubtedly need replacing more often, so this can get expensive pretty quickly.
The IP (ingress protection) rating is an important thing to take into account when you shop for outdoor lighting, as this refers to how well the piece is protected against moisture and dirt. The first digit of the rating refers to the equipment’s protection from forgein bodies, such as dust and moving parts. This goes from 0, meaning no protection, to 6, which is completely protected. The second digit refers to how well it’s protected from moisture, and ranges from 0 to 8. Again, 0 refers to no protection while 8 means that the product is safe to be immersed in water for long periods. In short, the higher the IP rating, the safer it is. When it comes to outdoor lighting, you need a minimum IP rating of IP44. This ensures that nothing bigger than 1cm can get inside of the light and that it’s protected against water splashes.
Current Outdoor Lighting Trends: Our Top Picks
So what’s popular at the moment in the world of outdoor lighting? If you want to create a look that’s bang on trend, we’ve taken a look at some of the most popular ways to illuminate your outdoor space right now.
Pathway lighting has been a traditional way to bring some light to outdoor spaces for a while now, and it’s still a strong trend in 2020. This is a look that’s both practical and stylish, and can be used to light driveways, walkways and fences. Depending on your preferences, you can create this look with wall lighting - we love these Wood Effect Vinyl & Stainless Steel Lights for a modern and urban look - or use spike lights such as these super stylish Kenn Stainless Steel Spike Lights. A modern twist on the pathway lighting trend that’s also emerged is the use of ‘hidden’ lighting, which creates a soft and subtle illumination to walkways. We especially love the highly versatile Terra Drive Over Recessed Outdoor Light, which is ideal for driveways, gardens and decking.
LED bulbs are also as popular as ever this year, not just because of the practical benefits we’ve already mentioned, but also because they’ll bring a rich, warm glow to your outdoor space. For a modern and contemporary feel, these LED Twin Up & Down Wall Lights are a great choice, all the while bringing the practical benefits of making your outdoor areas feel safer and more secure. Alternatively, for those who want something a little more traditional, this Geneva Photocell Wall Lantern features a classic style and comes with frosted glass windows to provide a more subtle way of lighting your space.
If you’re now eager to add some illumination to your outdoor space, be sure to check out our full range of outdoor lighting here at Litecraft. Whether you’re looking for subtle ways to highlight your favourite areas of your garden or stylish, practical ways to illuminate areas that need a little extra security, we have styles, shapes and sizes to suit all tastes. Start exploring our range today!
Written by Amy Jackson - Content and Features Writer at My Favourite Voucher Codes