One of the best things about creating a modern outdoor space is the vast number of choices we have when it comes to lighting. These choices are so wide, in fact, that many people struggle to decide on the right type.
Whether you are looking to illuminate your outdoor seating area or install security lighting, you will likely be confronted with a mind-boggling number of products.
In this guide, we will be looking at what type of lighting is best for outdoor use and some of the things you will need to consider before installing it.
Are LED Lights Good For Outdoor Use?
One of the first things that people think about when installing garden lighting is whether LED lighting would be suitable.
It is far more common to see LED lighting in the home now as opposed to fluorescent lights that dominated the market for many years. But are LED lights good for outdoor use?
In short, LED lighting is an ideal solution for outdoor lighting, but it is essential to ensure that the lights you choose have been certified for outdoor use.
You would not be able to take your favourite indoor LED bulb and put it in an outdoor position. That being said, if the light is used in some sort of enclosure, you can find bulbs that are designed specifically for this purpose. This applies to things such as porch lighting.
One of the main reasons that so many homeowners opt for LED bulbs both inside and outside of the house is that they are extremely energy efficient – up to 90% more than other lighting types. What’s more, they tend to have a far greater lifespan, having to be replaced less frequently and in some cases, not at all.
Garden Lighting (General)
Choosing the right lighting for your garden is an essential part of the process, and there are several factors that should be considered before you part with any of your hard-earned cash.
Where Do You Want To Light?
Some people have minimal lighting needs and may only wish to light up a small portion of their outdoor space. In contrast, others may want to go all out and create a light show that even Blackpool would be jealous of!
There are various places that can be lit up for both aesthetic appeal as well as safety.
A porch light is usually a single wall-light which lights up to make the entrance into your home visible and safe in the dark.
There are many options, and just because this is a simple lighting solution, it certainly does not mean that it should be bland. Several ornate and decorative porch lights are available to make your home look incredible.
You should consider your options with this type of lighting. Many porch lights now have a sensor which alerts them to your arrival, and they will light up as you enter the home. They are also useful for alerting you if anyone approaches your property.
Your porch light will also likely feature a timer so that it will automatically shut down after a period of time has passed, saving energy. You are usually able to set this time, but some models have a preset timer that cannot be changed.
Uplighters, as their name may suggest, shine their light upwards and can make a handy lighting addition to the garden. If you are looking to illuminate a walkway, they can prove extremely useful but are more commonly used to highlight a particular garden feature.
This might include a beautiful tree or a statue, for example.
What’s more, uplighters can add a certain amount of depth to your garden, giving it a luxurious and appealing appearance during the hours of darkness.
These lights are usually relatively small and come in packs of four, six or more and can be placed strategically in the areas you desire.
If you want to place your lighting to illuminate certain areas for security, there are many choices. In the main, a security light would be placed near the door and is often connected to the main electricity.
They act in a similar way to your porch light and will shine brightly as anyone approaches, alerting you to possible intruders.
If you spend a lot of time entertaining or sitting out on the deck or patio on those warm summer evenings, you may want to invest in some lighting for when the sun goes down. Once again, you have a good choice of options.
Some people use string lights or fairy lights, and you may be surprised at how powerful and bright many of the modern products are.
You might also decide on a spotlight that illuminates the patio. Again, these can be activated by movement and often have a timer, although one that can be switched on and off at the mains is best for patio use since it will not keep turning itself on and off throughout the evening.
What Type Of Power - Solar Versus Mains Electricity Lighting
One of the great things about outdoor lighting is that there are options when it comes to how you will power them. However, there are pros and cons to each type of power, and it is worth looking at your needs to determine the best choice for you.
In reality, mains powered lights will always be far superior since they have a consistent stream of power and do not rely on anything other than this. For this reason, they are often favoured.
Additionally, solar lights don’t tend to be as bright, and if the sun hasn’t given them enough power throughout the day, they can go out quickly. Of course, this won’t ever be an issue with mains lighting.
On the flip side, mains lighting limits you in terms of wiring. If you wish to illuminate the entire garden, a lot of electrical work will need to be carried out. This means that you will need to bring in the help of a professional since it is not recommended that you carry out electrical work yourself as it may not meet the legal requirements for safety. Solar lighting can be placed anywhere, and no additional work needs to take place. What’s more, it can be freely moved around, should you ever wish to mix things up in the garden.
Solar lighting is often far less expensive than mains lighting. However, you will find that it is usually a lot more durable.
There are also battery-powered lights which can be a happy medium between the two other kinds. They will shine far more brightly in the same way as a mains light but are also portable and easier to install like solar lights.
Outdoor lights come with an IP rating, and this lets you know how well they will resist moisture and dirt, especially when it comes to these things getting inside the light and causing lasting damage. However, it is important to note that solar lights do not come with a rating and that this concept only applies to mains or battery lighting.
The IP rating features two digits; the first scale runs from 0 to 6, the higher the number, the better protected from dust the lighting is. The second digit runs on a scale from 0 to 8 and refers to how well the lighting will resist water—zero offering no protection, and eight offering complete water-resistance.
Outdoor lighting has a wide range of benefits. Most notable, it can illuminate your garden, making it look far more appealing as well as serving as a great way for you to continue to enjoy your garden after the sun goes down. In addition, lighting can act as a safety and security measure. It can alert you to the presence of intruders and serve as a way to navigate your outdoor space in the dark.
However, it is very important to keep in mind that there are a lot of factors to consider when buying outdoor lighting such as the type of bulbs you will use, where you wish to light and how the lighting is powered.
Thinking about these factors before purchasing will ensure that you source and install the best outdoor lighting for you.
MJP Electrical can offer advice on what time of outdoor lighting would be suitable. They will even be able to provide a quotation for supplying and fitting this for you. Feel free to give us a call or request a quotation today.