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Outdoors

Lighting expert answers common outdoor lighting questions 
 

By Matthew Currington, Technical Director,

The Lighting Superstore

As the days get longer and the weather gets warmer, it’s the perfect opportunity to spend evenings outdoors.   

 

While there is plenty of light during the day, proper outdoor lighting can extend your enjoyment well into the night, creating a safe and inviting atmosphere.  

 

Here, I answer some common questions about outdoor lighting to help you create a warm and inviting outdoor living space. 

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How do you decide what lighting should be used outdoors? 

 

Outdoor living spaces are a wonderful way to make the most of lovely weather, and picking the right lighting options will ensure that you have a space that is both functional and beautiful. 

 

On a covered patio, pendant lights provide ample ambient light while also making a design impact. Position a row of pendant lights over a patio table to make a dramatic impact or position one or two light fixtures near interesting architectural details to highlight them. 

 

Within the garden, spotlights can be used to highlight interesting features such as a large tree or water fountain. These also create several points of interest, drawing the eye around the garden.  Twinkling fairy lights can also be woven around trees or support pillars for extra brightness.  

 

Of course, lighting can also provide additional safety and security, by lighting up dark areas like the front door or driveway. Lights along a pathway will also reduce the risk of tripping. 

Do outdoor lights need to be wired? 

 

Wired lighting throughout the garden is a great option if you have the budget for professional installation. This gives you plenty of flexibility to choose from a range of lighting options including wall lights, pillar lamps and over lights, which can be installed along pathways and driveways. 

 

However, for those looking to light up their garden on a budget, there are a range of solar-powered lighting that are a great alternative.  Wall lights with small solar panels attached are perfect for distributing light around the garden. For more whimsical lighting, opt for fairy lights and lanterns dispersed around the garden. 

Are special features worth it? 

 

Additional lighting features like smart lighting and motion sensors are a perfect option if you’re looking for highly customisable features.   

 

Motion sensor lights can be set for certain times of the day, to ensure that they’re only turned on when necessary. These lights are also ideal for giving ease of mind when returning home in the dark. 

 

With advancements in technology, smart outdoor lighting has become more accessible and popular. Smart light systems allow you to turn lights off and on remotely, adjust brightness and even change colour to suit different moods and occasions. Whether you want a romantic, dimly light patio, or colourful hues for a party, smart lighting can be quickly adjusted.  

How do you maintain outdoor lighting?  

 

Outdoor lights are typically made using hard-wearing materials, ensuring that they can withstand all weather conditions. However, occasional maintenance will ensure that lighting fixtures remain in perfect condition for years. 

 

Dirt and debris can accumulate on fixtures, impacting their brightness. A build-up of dirt on solar panels can also reduce how much sunlight reaches the panels, making them less effective Using a cloth and some gentle soap, give your outdoor lights a clean every few months. 

Do outdoor lamps need special bulbs? 

 

The type of light bulb you use outdoors will depend on the location of the light. For a pendant light on a covered patio area, traditional LED bulbs are a perfect choice. However, if light fixtures are uncovered and exposed to the elements, the light bulbs must have an adequate IP rating.   

 

The IP rating highlights how waterproof the light bulb is. Bulbs with an IP 68 rating are completely waterproof from all angles, making them ideal for outdoor light fixtures

Matthew Currington, Technical Director
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