Following the information being given by the UK Government in respect of the easing of lockdown over the coming weeks and with the intention to provide an opportunity of allowing households to mix with each other, externally at first, this may provide the emphasis for homeowners to consider the external illumination of their garden as a space for engaging with family and friends over the summer months.
Lighting in residential gardens has over recent years become an increased priority and there are several reasons why homeowners wish to spend money on illuminating the garden space around their property. Initially and importantly, installing artificial lighting within the scene can extend the time into the evening darkness, during which the benefits of the garden can be enjoyed. In addition to installing lighting for the aesthetic benefit, artificial illumination can also provide for safe access around the garden and building areas, as well as affording the valued security in attempting to reduce theft and in deterring the many forms of anti-social behaviour prevalent in our modern society.
When considering illuminating the garden, the paths, the patio and feature areas as well as the building, an installation need not have to require the homeowner to incur an extensive investment in lighting equipment and in lighting control to provide for a superb lighting solution. Selecting the appropriate lighting equipment for the application can also offer the benefits of an energy efficient lighting installation, and as the sun sets, lighting control can be used to facilitate the introduction of artificial lighting to maintain an acceptable level of illuminance and offer an optimum solution which can then reveal the beauty and aspects of the garden space, such as the paths, flowerbeds and shrubs, trees as well as the patio area and of a water feature (if installed), in a highly attractive manner without significant electricity cost.
The orientation in which the property is built will have an influence on a design as to where the passage of the sun moves across the garden during daylight hours and many homeowners now consider this an important factor when viewing and looking to purchase a property. They are keen to consider as to where in the garden the sun will be during the day and throughout the year.
In creating the garden lighting, the basic objectives of outdoor lighting are:
Often a small amount of light can fulfil the desired requirements and the use of subtle effects may be ruined by installing an excessive amount of illumination, whilst also consuming an amount of increased energy. No attempt should ever be made to illuminate everything in sight, as the desirable balance between the various illuminated areas is a matter of subjective judgement, rather than engineering expertise, with calculations being subservient to the expertise offered by the lighting designer in dealing with this type of lighting installation.
The main features of interest and any route of progress through the garden along which visitors are likely to follow should be carefully selected to provide different scenes which can reveal the areas as they walk through the space and the availability of different viewing directions as well as the practicality of concealing the lighting equipment will determine the feasibility of influencing visitors to follow a predetermined route through the garden.
If there is a requirement to vary a lighting scene or to provide variety within the installation locally, controlling the switching and dimming of the equipment or the variation of colour either in a tuneable or RGB format can be installed. Control of these luminaires can either be provided centrally or locally or alternatively through an app based lighting system, controlled from a smartphone.
As far as practicably possible, lighting should be carefully installed and screened from direct view by plants, shrubs, boulders and objects to minimise or prevent the experience of glare by visitors. Any lighting equipment, when not concealed, must be acceptable to view as part of the illuminated scene during the hours of darkness and not have a detrimental effect of the scene during daylight. This may influence the type of lighting equipment suggested for installation as well as the positioning or spacing of the equipment in order to maintain the visual and quality of appearance within the environment. It is important the mounting of lighting fittings is considered carefully so that when installed they are not deemed to be intrusive.
In concluding, this introduction is just that, an introduction to a short series of publications which can assist in the design and implementation of installing lighting around the external parts of the home and the garden. Keep an eye on our website for the next instalment.
NOTE: All lighting and electrical equipment which is installed externally MUST be adequately ingress protected and deemed suitable for use in the outdoor environment into which it is to be used and it is to be installed by a qualified or approved electrical contractor in compliance of the current IEE Wiring Regulations (BS7671-18th Edition). Under normal operating conditions, lighting fittings can become hot, so equipment must not be fixed onto, or adjacent to flammable surfaces.
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