Quick guide to outdoor lighting
Lighting the outside of your home can help improve the safety, security and appearance of your property. To help you get the best outdoor lighting scheme for your location we’ve put together a checklist of the key information you’ll need to know.
Your outdoor lighting checklist:
What do you need the lighting for?
The first question you need to ask is what you need your lighting to do. Consider all the possible uses – if you are going to have outdoor lights fitted by a professional, it’s best to plan a whole scheme and get everything done at once. Consider ‘task’ lighting for pathways, your decking or garden, and for security purposes; and ‘accent’ lighting for more decorative purposes.
How will it be powered?
There are a number of options available for powering your outdoor lights.
- Solar-powered outdoor lighting is one of the simplest and cheapest to fit as no wiring is required. Solar-powered ‘stake’ lights are available from most DIY stores and are simply pushed into the earth. These are a good option for low-level lighting along pathways, but they often provide a fairly dim light that may run out quickly; and, of course, they are dependent on the sun for their energy!
- Battery-powered lighting gives greater control and higher levels of light than some solar-lighting, but again, you are dependent on the lifetime of the battery, and buying new batteries or recharging them can be expensive and time-consuming if the lights are used regularly.
- Mains-wired lighting offers the most control and the best power-levels so is often the best option for lights that are used regularly or for long periods, and lights that require a significant amount of power.
Where are the switches needed?
Think about where the best places to have switches for your lighting. Is it useful to have a switch by the front of the back door? Also, consider whether you might want to have motion sensor lighting (lighting that comes on automatically when it detects movement nearby) or lighting that comes on automatically as the sun goes down.
How do I fit outdoor lighting safely?
It is possible to fit outdoor lighting yourself – low voltage lighting systems are designed to be fitted by anyone, but we’d recommend calling in a qualified and experienced electrician to fit outdoor lighting. Check that your electrician is fully qualified and ideally a member of the leading industry body. The body should registers qualified and approved electricians and protect you from the cowboys! A fully qualified electrician will be able to advise on the best positions for your lighting and fit a full system safely and securely.