The world of outdoor lighting is probably even more diverse than that of indoor lighting. After all, in the areas around our homes and work spaces, there are no ‘rooms’ with clearly defined uses. In a bedroom we naturally expect to find bedside lamps, a pendant light for full illumination and maybe a mirror with built-in lights on a dressing table. In an office, we expect to find bright overhead lighting and possibly desk lamps, depending on the type of work carried out there.
But what lighting do you expect to find in a residential garden or in front of a corporate HQ?
The use of those spaces is much less circumscribed than the uses of indoor rooms, so the lighting possibilities are naturally much more open. This is a huge creative opportunity, and, as you will see from our outdoor product range, we have certainly risen to the challenge. Let us consider some of the potential functions of outdoor spaces, and how lighting can make a difference to them.
Illuminate the stage
Firstly, we often think of outdoor spaces such as gardens and courtyards as scenes to look out on from inside a building. In our home environment, we like to be able to see nature from the windows, even if we do not have the time or inclination to go outside and enjoy the garden every day. In such cases, the purpose of lighting is really to highlight and dramatise the appearance of natural features. In essence, it is a form of stage lighting. The same is true of spaces around certain commercial environments. What could be more pleasant than looking out on well-lit grounds from the window of a restaurant or hotel? So, what kind of products help in achieving this ‘stage set’ or ‘tableau’ effect? In our outdoor products range, you will find a large selection of ground lights. These are low level spotlights that can be used to highlight key features of the outdoor environment, such as art pieces. A number of the ground lights are also classified as ‘spike lights’. This means they can be driven into the ground at key points where there is soft earth, for example in a planted border. The effect of light coming through shrubs and bushes can be extremely dramatic. If your space has a water feature, our range also includes pond lights. These products vary in format, from spotlights to glowing orbs. Their purpose is to cast light onto the surface of water, or up through the water from below. As you can imagine, the shimmering effects that result will look truly impressive to anyone who is looking out at the garden from a window after dark.
A second reason for lighting an outdoor space is, of course, to make it usable and attractive after dark. Perhaps you have experienced that wonderful immersive feeling of being in an outdoor space, with the most dramatic features picked out in white or coloured light, but beyond the light you can see nothing at all. Even in an urban environment, you feel cocooned. As you can imagine, lighting your garden as a tableau to be viewed from within a building already brings you half way to creating an immersive outdoor environment. Spotlights and pond lights would certainly both be extremely effective on the outdoor terrace of a restaurant, for example.
Design lights and terrace lighting
But there are other product categories in the outdoor lighting range that you can use to create that special garden magic. In the ‘design lights’ category, you will find a stone-finish cube that is illuminated from within. It casts a soft golden glow, and although it can be used as a seat, it is also a beautiful feature in its own right – a light sculpture. In the ‘terrace lighting’ category you will find similar items – pyramidal lights and even a large rabbit that glows from within!
As suggested earlier, outdoor spaces have more complex lighting needs because they are not rooms with a defined purpose. However, one approach to creating an immersive experience in a garden is to create a somewhat room-like feel. This might involve gestures as simple as placing a small lamp on a table, or positioning an outdoor standard lamp next to a chair. But it could also involve installing pendant lighting or a ceiling light on the underside of a structure such as a pergola. With a table underneath it, this would create a delightful feeling of being half inside and half outside.
Many of the products used for creating an immersive garden experience also have a safety function. The pond lights are a particularly obvious example – they make the water feature look like a thing of beauty, but they also reduce the risk of people wandering into it in the dark. This brings us to a third function of garden illumination – safety. This is clearly a particularly important requirement when it comes to public spaces, where liability is more likely to be an issue in the event of an accident. In addition to pond lighting, sunken lights and upstanding path lights can make all the difference to the safety of your visitors, particularly when they shed a good strong light. LED is a practical and cost-effective technology for this purpose.
But safety lighting serves more than one purpose. Lights along a path, or on the edge of a step, not only help people to avoid tripping, they also allow the landscaping of a garden to assert itself after dark. Paths bring structure and a sense of journey to a garden during the day, so why lose that at night?
Enhance the appearance of your building
A fourth reason for using outdoor lighting is to draw attention to and enhance the appearance of a building. Once again, spotlights are likely to be an important element, picking out architectural features or perhaps a company logo emblazoned on a façade. Wall lights also help to define the outlines of a building by night, and identify important features such as the entrance and exit. This is just as true of a house as a commercial building. If this kind of façade illumination is done well, it can create a sense of status and, in the case of business premises, help to affirm the importance of that building in the local community.
Security and protection
Illumination of a building’s exterior also serves another purpose: security. This is an extension of the safety function discussed earlier. However, lighting a building’s exterior is primarily intended to deter human threats. Break-ins are a much less inviting prospect if the means of entry is bathed in light from one of our spotlights. Mounting spotlights on the building itself and illuminating the surrounding area is another option. If the grounds are sizeable, you may also wish to install post lights along paths or driveways leading to the building. This may well deter loiterers and give a greater sense of security to visitors, customers or employees coming and going after dark.
Our post lights are a good example of how different styles of product can be used to create a very different feel in your outdoor space. Some are styled in an antique manner, rather like gas lamps of old, while others have an elegant modern look with globes of light mounted on a minimalist structure. But regardless of the style of a product – historical or otherwise – you will find that they all benefit from the latest materials and technology. That gas-lamp-style post light has shock-proof polycarbonate around the light – highly resistant to vandalism. It is also dimmable.
IP-certified products for water and dirt resistance
The most important technical feature of any outdoor lighting product is its resistance to penetration by water and dirt. This is measured using an IP (Ingress Protection) code – a two-digit number in which the first digit represents protection from solid objects on a scale of 0 – 6, and the second digit represents protection from liquids on a scale of 0 – 8. It is important to look for this information in the product details when you are buying outdoor products.
Our comprehensive outdoor lighting range will help you achieve exactly the effect you want, whether your aim is to create a beautiful tableau for viewing from your window, or to provide an immersive social space for family, friends, customers or employees. Safety and security will both be enhanced by carefully chosen and well-positioned lighting, and, thanks to developments in technology and materials, your products should enjoy a long, cost-effective life. Browse through our extensive selection of lighting solutions and be inspired by various designs and products. Are you looking for a new outdoor lighting solution to create a cosy atmosphere in your garden? Or are you looking for an efficient pillar light to enhance your home security and feel saver at night? Lights.co.uk offers a variety of lighting solution for the private and also for the business sector. Discover our large selection now and purchase online.
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