Garden Lighting

garden lighting

Garden Lighting

Lighting in your garden creates ambience and atmosphere. In summer it will add to the mood being outdoors enjoying balmy summer evenings and in winter it will take away the blackness we nowadays face after having our homes extended with huge glass sliding or bi-fold doors.

Garden Lighting Design

When designing gardens we always advice on adding lighting, in a subtle, enhancing way. We work with specialists and consultations to achieve this.


John Doyle from Lightyourgarden has consulted and installed the lights in the Classic, elegant Family Garden, Ashtead. This is what he says:


There are some Do’s and Dont’s you may want to consider when installing lights in your garden, lets start with the …


BUDGET. Sometimes the budget won’t allow for a full installation. Then, during the build of the garden, cables can be laid and the installation of the lighting system can be installed at a later stage.


GLARE. If you don’t get this right in the lighting design then just one misplace light can ruin the whole effect you are after. Therefore it is important to establish how you want to use the garden and avoid staring into lights where you sit.


COLOURS. Colour choice is subjective but generally a warm, white LED will feel like a ‘natural’ choice to light most shrubs. There are exceptions to be the rule, an olive tree or a silver birch will look good with a neutral or cool white LED which enhances their natural colour every time. Amber LED is a very soft light and directed onto Corten Steel panels and timber steps or decking can make it feel warm. Green LED is not a natural look for planting but can look quite effective balanced with warm white or Coll white LEDs. Red and blue LEDs – think party!

It is the effect the colour has on what you are lighting and not the colour of the light itself that is important.


BRIGHTNESS. The darker it is, the less light you need. Take a candle into the garden at night and it’s atmospheric, warm, glowing, lovely, romantic….take the same candle and surround it with light and every characteristic it had disappears. You should apply the same rule to a LED spike light.


LIGHTING LARGE TREES. Big tree, big light? Maybe, but there are other options depending on the switching arrangements and the clever positioning of different strengths of light that can make the tree less dominating but still a central feature of any garden.


BALANCE. Al well lit garden should ‘glow’. Try to avoid spotting with lights, e.g. one bright light and dark shadow, a second bright light and another shadow. There are far better ways to light a garden by angling and positioning lights to create a more dramatic yet subtle effect.

To sum up:

  • Try to use less light, remember: LESS IS MORE
  • Think about the relationship between colour you are using and the reflective qualities of the subject you are lighting
  • Always try to use a good quality fitting. If the budget doesn’t allow for this, then use less.
  • Get you lighting designer/electrician involved as early as possible during the garden design stage. Lighting as an afterthought won’t achieve the result you are after.


Photographs: John Doyle (Light your Garden), Anthony George (PCLandscapes)