This article has been updated and new products added from the original article published in 2014.
Lighting is an essential element that is equally important for both interior and exterior spaces. Lighting can make or break a space and in and getting it right is crucial for creating a sense of comfort, safety and well being, especially in an outdoor setting.
Outdoor lighting has come a long way in recent years. Once upon a time it consisted of a single spot light, or maybe a few lights running up the drive way…
Oh how things have changed. These days there’s almost as many options for outdoor lighting as there is for indoors, and the mood or look that can be achieved is every bit as impressive. Spring is on the way and it is the ultimate garden season. Indeed, after a winter of rain many gardens are rich and lush and when those blooms arrive, your space will be positively breathtaking.
Now is the time to start planning how to showcase it the right way. Equally, if you feel like your garden isn’t quite up to scratch yet, clever lighting solutions might actually help rather than hinder the situation. We caught up with Jill from Creative Lighting, a company that specialises in lighting design for homes and gardens.
Let’s say we’re still in the middle of our reno and the outdoor area isn’t quite there yet. How would lighting help us? Wouldn’t it just accentuate the problem?
Outdoor lighting can help detract from those problem areas by highlighting what’s working, and leading the eye away from what isn’t. For instance, do you have a water featured installed? Perhaps there’s an old tree with beautiful twisting branches? See the strengths in your garden and use outdoor lighting to literally and figuratively uplight these. Feature lighting is really big right now and only limited by one’s creativity; don’t be afraid to be bold!
I can’t afford to light my entire garden the way I want. What should I do?
It’s a cliché, but less is more. Go for higher quality products and just purchase fewer units. Cheaper items on the market can give a scrambled look. Outdoor lighting is the sort of thing you want to do once, do it properly, and then not have to think about it again. With quality products comes quality warranties, guarantees and solutions.
Cheaper products might not have all the joins properly connected, and they might not have been properly heat shrunk and sealed. This could lead to moisture entering the light and causing it to blow, which brings you back to where you started in the first place. Unlike lighting in your home, what you place outdoors has to endure everything Mother Nature throws at it – from harsh heat to freezing winters, not to mention wind, rain and hail! It pays to invest in quality.
If that’s the case, what are the quality brands to look for?
Hunza from New Zealand is a really reputable brand, as are the subsidiaries that belong to them such as Luxor. At Creative Lighting we only stock quality products, which range in price from mid-level to high-end.
I’m planning an outdoor lighting DIY project. Is this safe or could I risk electrocution?
Most outdoor lights are 12 volt, so that such danger is avoided. If you’re working with 12 volt lights then you can keep cords above ground (perhaps just hide them by running them along the fence, or placing some tan bark over them). If you’re working with 240 volt lights then these need to go underground (600mm deep trenches). Whatever the volt, just make sure the product is weather proof (IP 65 is weather proof and IP 68 is able to be submersed and buried).
What does IP mean?
Electrical equipment usually has an IP rating, which indicates its resistance to dust and fluid. The higher the number, the more resistant the product.
Let’s talk actual products. What would you recommend for generally lighting up the grounds?
Adjustable spike spotlights do a great job in this department! They look a little like pencils that you simply insert into the ground, and the protruding spotlight can then be moved around in various directions.
What about decking? How can I get the best out of lighting our deck?
You can achieve some sensational ambient lighting from discreet deck lights available in black ,copper, stainless or brass. Their circumference is around the same size as a ten cent piece, so we’re talking just shots of gentle light coming up from the deck. Not only do they look good, but they serve a function purpose especially around deck steps.
The use of LED strip lighting can also illuminate a deck area, water features and steps. This can be placed in aluminium extrusion to diffuse and protect light source. There are some great miniature lights with frosted glass that can be specially fitted into decking.
What is your favourite lighting at the moment?
I’m a fan of our bronze wall lights. Textured, rounded and of course in a really lovely bronze colour, these lights look incredibly smart day and night and deliver such a lovely illumination.
Outdoor Lighting Trends on House of Home
Lighting finish trends follow the trends in door handles and tap ware. So, one of the strongest trends at the moment is a matte black finish for door hardware and tap ware. We see this following through in a range of matte black outdoor lighting fixtures.
We are also seeing a shift from the polished chrome and stainless steel finishes, to the warmer metal tones of gold, copper and brass.
Lanterns are a perennial outdoor lighting favourite, and there are some really interesting styles available, from the traditional to the more bohemian. Lanterns can add a point of interest to an outdoor area.
The Team at House of Home would like to thank Jill for her time and terrific tips for our readers.
Creative Lighting Director and Lighting Design Consultant Jill, has over 28 years lighting experience in the lighting industry. Jill's background is in design and she had worked with the previous owners, establishing the design and consultancy services from the ground up. Damian and Jill purchased the business together in 2005 and she is known for her creativity and expertise in the industry and is extremely well regarded. Jill loves photography, and all things creative like painting, drawing and of course, lighting. Some might say it’s her passion!
Check out the full outdoor lighting range from Creative Lighting on House of Home or, pop in and visit Jill and the team at Creative Lighting in Eltham, Vic.