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Add lighting to your outdoor spaces

Not only practical, adding lighting to your outdoor or entertainment areas extends the amount of time you can spend relaxing in the garden. Whether you choose solar lights, or have an electrical point put in for low-voltage lights, installing outdoor lighting adds to your home in more ways than one. And your local Builders Warehouse stocks a wide selection of outdoor lighting options.

 

Lighting is essential for outdoor areas. Paths and walkways, steps and changes in level are dangerous enough in the daylight, but even more when it's dark.

Basic lighting plan

Before you rush out and buy outdoor lighting, take the time to draw up a plan of where you want lights to be placed. This will not only aid you with selecting the right type of lighting, but will also make it easier to work out how to lay the electrical installation for your new lights.

Bear in mind that the further away from the building, the more expensive it will be to install. If you have a swimming pool pump, electrical cabling can sometimes be extended from this point with the addition of an extra switch - discuss this with the electrical contractor.

Placing outdoor lights

You can use outdoor lighting to add design elements to a plain garden by lighting interesting foliage plants, structures, features or statuary. Install outdoor lighting to illuminate paths or walkways, and to ensure that steps or uneven ground are well lighted for safety. Consider security in your outdoor spaces by lighting dark corners where intruders may hide.

Electrical installation

Unless you already have an outdoor plug point, you will need to have an electrician install a covered plug point for you. These guys know the correct cabling to use and will ensure that proper earth leakage protection is installed.

Where possible, have cables mounted onto walls rather than buried into the ground. In this way you know exactly where cables are located.

Choosing lights

Outdoor fittings should be housed in a watertight fittings that are designed to withstand the elements. However, these fittings aren't maintenance-free and should be given attention from time to time to ensure that any rust that appears is removed, and ensure the life of the fitting.

- Solar lights

While solar garden lights don't use electricity and are easy to install they do have their disadvantages:

- Solar lights need to be placed in full sun (for at least 4 hours) to charge up fully during daylight hours.

- Solar lights do not have a high-light output and the brightness is determined by the wattage and quality of individual lights.

Low-voltage lights

Installed with a transformer, low-voltage lights are energy-efficient. This type of lighting uses LEDs for illumination. Low-voltage lighting is primarily used for decorative lighting, such as for paths and walkways, borders and beds and on patios, decks and entertainment areas. Install low-voltage lighting so that fittings are hidden behind foliage or plants to create a soft silhouette effect.

You can also install low-voltage lighting for illuminating dark areas in the garden.

Go ahead and light up your garden for entertaining. Whether you choose solar power, low-voltage or outdoor lighting fitted with CFL globes, bear in mind that the key to successful garden lighting is that it should never be overdone. All you need are a few well chosen and carefully placed fittings.