Do you love your garden? Have you spent the time and effort to make it look nice by day? Then it would be a shame for it all to go to waste come nightfall when darkness creeps and obscures your entire view. Outdoor security lighting can go some way to protecting your property from the threat of intruders, plus if you have people over, you may wish to entertain in the garden and you can’t very well do that if it’s pitch-dark. That’s why having adequate garden lighting is important.
But in these cash-strapped times, many of us don’t have the money to go all out on a great lighting scheme designed by professionals. But never fear – here are a few money-saving ideas for how you can light your garden on a modest budget.
You probably won’t have to land an airplane in your garden, so don’t feel like you have to illuminate every square inch of the space to create a stunning effect. Less really is more; pools of light and shadowy contrast look better than bright, ‘theatrical’ lighting. So you really need to consider how you can achieve this look before you head to the shops.
For example, you may want security floodlights fitted with motion sensors in order to protect your garage, entrances, and other outbuildings; some area lights (usually wall lights mounted near seating areas) for entertaining; and some accent lighting to pick out the design features like flowerbeds and pathways.
Make Your System Flexible
Spiked fittings or lights that feature adjustable straps are a great choice for gardeners on a budget; such lights can be moved as your garden changes through the seasons. Make sure that lights that are low to the ground are placed away from obstructions, so as not to obscure their pools of light and for you to avoid hitting them with your shovel as you’re pottering about in your garden.
The vast majority of gardens will only require a low-voltage lighting system (around 12 volts) to light the space nicely. The advantage with low voltage systems is that they are fairly easy and safe to install yourself, saving you money on the cost of hiring a professional to install them for you. Also, because the energy consumption of these systems is so low, your energy bills won’t shoot up thanks to the extra lighting.
Don’t think that you have to buy artfully designed lighting fixtures. The aim of your lighting scheme is to showcase your garden, so you’ll want the fixtures themselves to be almost entirely hidden from view. You can conceal them behind a shrub, wall, or rock or you can buy a glare guard to obscure some of the light and achieve a professional look. However, do bear in mind that you get what you pay for; stainless steel fittings will last a long time and are extremely weather-resistant, so it may be a worthwhile investment for at least a couple of your outdoor light fittings.
Solar-powered fixtures are affordable and easy to install as well as being an Eco-friendly choice for garden lighting. Inclusion of photovoltaic cells in new models of solar lamps also have improved the overall brightness of these fixtures, so these would be a great option for lighting areas like your garden path.
Candles and Torches
Hurricane candles and tiki torches make for great and affordable accent lighting for parties. You can make your own tea light holders from old glass jars and tie them to the branches of your trees to create an ambient atmosphere. And if you invest in citronella candles, they have the dual purpose of lighting your garden and driving midges and mosquitoes away with their scent.
Avoid Cheap Bulbs
LED bulbs are a must for modern outdoor lighting systems. Despite the fact that their initial cost is considerably more than conventional outdoor bulbs, LED bulbs use far less energy and can last for up to 10 years.
So there you have some tips for lighting your garden on a budget. If you have any more suggestions, please leave a comment below.
Estelle Page is interior designer and blogger from Sussex. She understands how outdoor lighting can turn your garden into an ambient retreat at night, the perfect setting for summer parties. She writes for Luma Lighting.
photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/20442663@N00/2150363206/