Interview with Christian Hersey head designer and installer of Garden Lighting London Ltd
Q) What would be your top tips when planning your lighting scheme?
A) I would say to really consider what each area of the garden is going to be used for and thus light accordingly. Always get a professional to give you some advice as they will save you time, effort and quite often money. Also remember the main viewing point from the house is always the most frequently used, so spend the money on this view.
Q) What would you avoid?
A) Solar lights, in terms of garden lighting they just are a complete waste of time.
Q) What are your opinion on LEDs?
A) LEDs are really starting to come into there own but we still only use them for specific purposes such as water features and walkway definition. We have also found most colour changing floods that we have installed have been a bit of a let down in terms of overall effect and value for money when compared to traditional floodlights.
Q) Mains voltage or low voltage?
A) In our experience, unless there is a very large tree in the garden we will tend to use a 12-volt lighting system exclusively as we have found in the past that in terms of reliability, ease of installation and safety the low voltage systems wins every time. It should be noted that a combination of the two is very easy to do but with the new 75 watts 12 volt up light the vast majority of gardens can be catered for by the low voltage system.
Q) What are your top money saving tips?
A) Be very aware of the finishes on lights as the difference in price can be huge. Stainless steel is a very nice finish but if you have a scheme of twenty lights all in well-established flowerbeds will you ever see them!
Q) Top tips on safety
A) Number one Always use a qualified electrician and always ensure that any electrics outside are protected by an RCD.
Q) When is the best time to get a design done?
A) Anytime is good but if you are having any landscaping work done ensure that the design takes into account cable runs and thus leave conduit or piping under patios or paths for easy access to the various areas of the garden.
- Always conceal the light source when garden lighting, either with a glare guard on the luminaire or by tucking it behind a shrub, large branch, wall, or rock. Ideally, you will be unable to see where the exterior light originates.
- Avoid installing garden lights in the undergrowth of low shrubs or tall grasses, when exterior lighting. The beam of light needs unimpeded passage from the fixture to the focal point so there are no distracting spots of reflected light (unless you want a shadowy effect, in which case the opposite applies)
- Don’t over light. Less is more! Extremely bright garden lighting often has a garish, theatrical look. We, therefore, recommend only using bulkhead luminaries for security and commercial applications.
- Experiment with back-lighting. Lighting trees in the background of a forested area creates silhouettes in the foreground. An up lighted hedge behind a shrub or tree will do the same.
- Don’t illuminate every surface when garden lighting. Shadows work to define lighted areas.
- Create a different look with outdoor garden lighting at night than it has during the day. The night view will often be more dramatic than the day view. We use the term ‘Picking out’ as will only see what you light at night not the entire surrounding area!
- Take advantage of the many beam angles, frosted lenses and mounts available so that your garden lighting suit your situation.
- Use the highest quality equipment, and materials, your budget will allow; it will last longer and offer more options.
- When deck lighting, pay particular attention to where people are sat and try to avoid glare. As with deck lights and other garden lights, the light source needs to be positioned so that you are not looking directly at the luminaire.
- Driveway lighting should offer safe access for pedestrians at the same time as lighting the driveway for vehicles. Either lampposts or small post lights provide an excellent solution and alternative to bulkhead luminaries, where driveway lights are required.
Garden Lighting Frequently Asked Questions
Below are just a few of the most Frequently Asked Questions on the wide range of products & services. If you have any other questions regarding any of our garden lighting products or services please do not hesitate to contact us. It’s official, outdoor space is the new black! But it doesn’t have to be quite so dark. Now you can maximise your enjoyment of the great outdoors with a variety of subtle or hardcore lighting solutions.
Opportunities for the Landscape Garden Lighting Designer offers designers an opportunity to paint with light. An impressive commercial centre or private residence that is admired by day can be transformed into a multidimensional showplace at night. Illuminated waterfalls, ponds, terraced gardens and dramatic trees-the professional can create an evening wonderland of beauty. We offer an extensive selection of garden lighting fixtures and styles for landscape lighting & garden lighting.
Landscape garden lighting enhances a property’s value and pride of ownership. Outdoor lighting creates a new drama and beauty in a garden year-round. Garden lighting increases safety and reduces risk around walkways, decks, pools, spas, and other landscape features. Landscape lighting design also provides greater home security by deterring burglary, vandalism and other crime.
By bringing its considerable experience to any project, We have built a reputation for realising the very best results by working closely with landscape lighting architects, engineers, garden lighting consultants, designers and their clients.
We work with many international clients on a landscape lighting design and or supply basis and find our knowledge is more and more sought after as people start to recognise the importance of high-quality garden lighting schemes as part of their everyday life. Please send your plans & sketches to us for our detailed appraisal.
Devise for changing the voltage, usually from 240v to low voltage commonly 12v. The reason for this is that when garden lighting it is much safer and easier to run cables across beds and lawns than to run mains voltage.
Current term for garden lighting fitting
Industry name for a light bulb
The load required to power one or a number of garden lighting fittings.
When running distances in 12 volts the cable needs to be matched to the load and distance. Otherwise, you may end up with less than 12 volts at the end of the cable run. This will not cause damage to the luminaire but if the voltage drop is large then the light produced will have a slightly yellow effect and may also seem slightly dim.
The rating the garden lighting product (luminaire) is given to show its resistance to particles in the atmosphere and its resistance to water. The first number is resistance to particles and the second number shows the resistance to water. IE IP 67 OR IP 68 for pond or pool lighting.
Low Voltage Cabling
This is the cable used to run out from the transformer to the garden lighting product (luminaire). The size of cable depends on the total wattage of garden lights and length of cable run.
There are many different ways of making all joints fully waterproof, this is very important when outdoor garden lighting as without correct joints when the lamp cools it will pull in moisture from the ground and also the atmosphere. This will rapidly deteriorate the lamp and lamp holder and will eventually cause failure.
Commonly used waterproof joints;
Available in a kit form consisting of 2 crimps and an outer heat shrink seal. Or in large rolls and cut to size. The seal shrinks when heated from the center outwards thus providing a watertight seal.
These consist of two chemicals that when mixed together for a hard impervious resin. Very useful to fill enclosure boxes that are to be buried underground
These are waterproof boxes that must be fitted with the correct glands to ensure watertight seal where the cables exit the box. Very useful to run a number of cables out to each garden lighting product (luminaire).
Garden Lighting Voltage Drop Chart
Maximum distances in metres for stated wattage with Voltage Drop of up to 1 Volt
|Load in Watts||2.5 mm cable (metres)||4 mm cable (metres)||6 mm cable (metres)||10 mm cable (metres)|
|Garden Lighting IP Ratings|
|First Number – Protection against solids||Second Number – Protection against liquids|
|1||Protected against solid objects over 50mm||Protected against vertically falling drops of water|
|2||Protected against solid objects over 12mm||Protected against direct sprays up to 15° from vertical|
|3||Protected against solid objects over 2.5mm||Protected against direct sprays up to 60° from vertical|
|4||Protected against solid objects over 1mm||Protected against direct sprays from all directions – limited ingress permitted|
|5||Protected against dust – limited ingress permitted||Protected against low pressure jets from all directions – limited ingress permitted|
|6||Totally protected against dust||Protected against strong jets from all directions – limited ingress permitted|
|7||Protected against effects of immersion from 15cm – 1m|
|8||Protected against long periods of immersion under pressure|
Here is some additional information that may help in the design and layout of your garden lighting scheme.
Outdoor landscape lighting can be a very decorative addition to any garden. But what about the additional benefits of the security and safety that it can also provide Security.
Outdoor landscape lighting is one of the best security systems you can install. Landscape lighting can be used as a deterrent to residential crime. Correct proportions of outdoor landscape lighting surrounding your home have been shown to minimise crimes by as much as fifty percent. Landscape lighting has two great uses to aid in the security of your home. The lighting can intimidate possible intruders to avoid trespassing onto your property. Should this fail, the illuminated areas will also make it possible for you or your neighbours to see any intruders as they trespass.
When designing your outdoor landscape lighting it is a good idea to light the pathways separately as to lighting individual garden features. This can be done using separate wiring circuits. To save power the feature lighting can be turned off very late at night, say after 1.30 am and the pathway lighting can remain on for safety and security.
Typically low voltage lighting systems are used for outdoor landscape lighting around the home. The preferred light fittings used to create outdoor landscape lighting, are low voltage, weather resistant fixtures. The low voltage used reduces the risk of electrocution if live wiring or terminals are touched. Also if power supply transformers are used to reduce the voltage, then they also isolate the low voltage system from the mains voltage which increases safety.
Low voltage lighting outdoor systems around the home garden also use low wattage lamps. These do not heat up as much as the larger sized lamps commonly used inside the home. The risk of burning anyone is reduced. Also, the risk of burning and damaging plants by the directed light is also greatly reduced.
Always check your low voltage outdoor landscape lighting regularly. Say once two months.One problem is that plants outgrow their original shape and form and you will need to re-aim the lighting again to suit. The neighbour’s cat or dog may also knock your lighting over if it is loosely installed.
In reality, outdoor landscape lighting offers more than basic illumination and delivers many functions including showcasing your landscape. When lights are placed outdoors, whether in a garden or in a covered area such as a porch, they are most commonly used for function. What good is a big, beautiful backyard if you aren’t able to see to enjoy it? With the right amount of lighting you are able to enjoy your outdoors whether it is day or night.
When designing your outdoor landscape lighting you want to make sure that they are specially positioned in such a way that it plays up the rustic or unusual textures of outdoor wall, roof, or flooring materials and make your outdoor area much more welcoming and practical for parties and other recreational events.
Know that most outdoor landscape lighting is not designed for people to read under, or do any other type of work that requires a lot of light. If there is an area in which you need more light as an option then you can also install a strong spotlight or movement detector light can help keep your home more secure by deterring potential predators away, both animal and humans. You want to pay special attention to the areas in which your family and other guests are going to congregate such as the area surrounding your pool or gazebo.
Always pay the extra money for outdoor landscape lighting that is completely weatherproof and dust proof. Go with a product that does not admit water from rain, plant watering, or chlorine swimming pool water. Also, stick with a product that is guaranteed to hold up against the dust and debris that is caused by the passing traffic.
Previously, outdoor or the gardens were lit to facilitate people to see clearly when entering your home and to avert thieves. Today, landscape lighting is more for aesthetic purposes. Landscape lighting has turned into a work of art.
The aim of landscape lighting is to exhibit a garden and a home in its complete splendour after dark. The lighting has its practical aspect and offers a well-lit area to deter thieves. The following are tips for landscape or garden lighting.
It is best to hire the services of a certified lighting consultant who is will give the best advice. Also, study your garden thoroughly before deciding what you would like to highlight using lighting. Make sure that the lighting professional has a copy of your design.
Include outdoor lighting when planning the garden landscape to make it easier to lay wires and pipes. Try and get more than one quote, so that you can compare the prices. Install a big transformer to meet your present and future lighting needs.
If you are thinking about doing the lighting in parts, lay all the electrical groundwork in the initial stages. Try and use soft light that is akin to moonlight. Don’t overdo it. The landscape should be seen, not the lights. Hide the lighting system source behind shrubs and plants.
Make sure the fixtures are not visible. Use water-resistant fixtures.
Most people tend to favour white light for garden lighting.
Appropriate placement of outdoor lighting increases the aesthetic and architectural beauty of an establishment. Imagine going around in circles looking for a house in a darkened street or searching for your child’s toy in the backyard or patio. Without proper outdoor lighting, you will have lost your way.
There is a difference between outdoor lighting and illumination. Outdoor lighting should be acceptable with proper placement and usage. Decorative and commercial outdoor lighting works in landscaping and highlighting certain areas differing for homes, commercial areas, decks and sports arenas. One cannot have low voltage outdoor lighting for tennis courts or exteriors of shopping malls, hotels or restaurants. Strategically-placed outdoor lighting complements the design of the establishment and provides an aesthetic ambience.
Finance is a major consideration, and before going in for outdoor lighting on a limited or large scale, we need to assess your requirements.
The basic function of outdoor lighting fixtures is to provide safety and accessibility and designs and size of lighting fixtures should complement the function. One can select fixtures such as accent lights, spotlights, floodlights, backlights or decorative outdoor lights on basis of outlay of building.