Lighting your garden for winter

Garden lighting definitely helps you to get best value from your outdoor spaces. In this blog we’re looking at ways of lighting your garden for winter.

When winter sets in, the UK gardens could easily become gloomy, dreary, and uninviting places. Lighting your garden for winter means that you can feel safe and enjoy the view even when the weather is nasty. Here are our top tips.

high value home with landscaped gardens

Decide which parts of your garden to light

Realising that your garden needs some lighting – and actually installing that lighting are two very different things. Your landscaper and/or electrician will need to know which light fittings to use, where they should sit and how you would like to operate them (switches, sensors, or smartphone app)

Safety lights

At the risk of sounding stuck in my ways, I always suggest making safety your first priority. Start by working out which areas need lighting so that you can feel safe in your home and garden. I always suggest illuminating the entrances and edges of your driveway. Paths, gates, and doorways also benefit from a bit of light to help you find your way (and your keys!) after the dark. These can be wired up to a motion sensor, a timer, or an app so that you are assured of a warm welcome every time you come home.

For safety, steps, corners, and sudden changes in direction or level ought to be lit. This needn’t be bright lights – but a subtle glow at ground-level could certainly help to avoid accidents.

Do you have pets? Some outside lighting really does make life easier when it comes to late-night calls of nature. I’ll never forget the trials and tribulations of trying to find a black puppy in a dark garden.

Ambient lighting

Garden lighting isn’t just for wintertime – it’s for those long balmy summer evenings when you can’t resist retreating to the patio with a good book. Pre and post-COVID, garden lighting allows for al-fresco eating and drinking long into the night.

On cooler evenings and dull winter afternoons, garden lighting turns your plot from almost invisible into a twinkling winter wonderland to be enjoyed from your window.

Which parts of your garden need ambient lighting? Patio? Garden office? Outdoor kitchen? Decking? Arbour? What about the journey from the house to the seating area and back again? Will you be able to see clearly or should you think about illuminating the pathway too?

summer evening with garden lighting

Decorative lighting

Finally, we move on to garden lighting whose sole purpose is to make your garden look good. Whether you are viewing from the garden gate, the driveway or from inside the house, decorative lighting really does lift the spirits.

Uplighting a beautiful tree, highlighting a piece of art, or illuminating a water feature (especially when the water is moving) are all very effective ways of making your garden work for you all year round.

Don’t forget that you can use coloured lighting to manipulate the mood. But please be considerate – avoid annoying your neighbours with your lighting effects.

Installing your garden lighting

The very best garden lighting schemes are carefully planned at the garden design stage. That way they can be built into the landscaping. A beautiful garden can easily be scarred by having wires and cables trailing around it. So even if your budget doesn’t stretch to installing all the fittings straight away, at least the wiring will be carefully positioned and discretely hidden.

Choose the very best light fittings you can afford. Trust me, it’s worth it. Properly crafted light fittings will withstand the UK weather and keep their good looks for a lot longer than the cheap imitations. Your landscaper or garden designer will be able to advise on the type of fittings to use and where to place them. You might choose recessed lights for decking, paths and patios, or spike lights to highlight your driveway.

Any outdoor lights should be installed by a properly qualified tradesman – in fact DIY garden lighting is illegal in the UK. If you are having a garden makeover, your landscaper will lay the cables and position the fittings and then arrange for a certified electrician to complete the work.

Thinking of a garden makeover? Contact Manor Landscapes for advice on garden design, landscaping, and garden lighting.

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