Whilst most of us benefit from many hours of sunlight for most of the year, when a landscape design is being put together there is other light to be considered. That light is the artificial lighting that will be switched on, normally after the sun has gone down, and is required so that you and others in your garden can see each other and everything else around you.
One of the problems that can occur when new landscaping is being considered is there is so much choice when it comes to artificial lighting that the expression ‘spoilt for choice’ is extremely apt. When you consider the array of artificial lighting types, their sizes, and the colours which can be produced, it is little wonder that some homeowners get trapped in a spiral of indecision.
We do not want that to happen to you so what we are going to do is give you a brief walkthrough of the types of artificial lighting that you can include in a landscape design and why you might choose each of them. Please note that, in most landscaping projects, more than one type of artificial lighting will be used so you are not choosing one of these to the exclusion of all the others.
Artificial Lighting Type #1 – Floodlights
Some people are under the impression that these get their name because they are a light used when flooding occurs but that is not the case. Instead, their name refers to the fact that they flood the area with light rather than focus it on a small area. As such, they are ideal for lighting parts of your landscaping that are used often, and also where you want a wide coverage area such as a patio or a driveway.
Artificial Lighting Type #2 – Spotlights
From lighting wide areas to lights that are designed to focus on a specific area or even a single item. Spotlights come in many varieties where the variables will be the brightness they produce and how narrow or wide an area their light covers. They are often used for highlighting features within landscaped gardens such as a statue, specific plants, trees or an entrance/exit gate.
Artificial Lighting Type #3 – Step Lights
The name says it all for these lights. These are lights that can have dual purposes related to both safety and aesthetics, respectively. These lights are mounted on or within a recess of the vertical face of each step. The safety aspect is obviously from the fact that they will light each step as you ascend or descend them. As for aesthetics they can provide an amazing visual especially if the lights have a coloured hue.
Artificial Lighting Type #4 – Bollard Lights
These can also be called post lights for the simple fact that they are lights that are mounted on or within a post or bollard. In most cases, the light unit will be at the top of the bollard and its main function is to light pathways and walkways. A common use is for bollards to be placed along the pathways to the door of the house, although they can also be used around specific areas such as patios.
Artificial Lighting Type #5 – String Lights
This is another artificial lighting type whose name gives away what they are. For the removal of doubt, these are lights that are connected together to create long lengths of lights similar to those you would hang on a Christmas tree. There are multiple places where they could be used, but they are mostly used for decorative purposes around seating areas, along walls, and even on trees.
Artificial Lighting Type #6 – Up/Down Lights
Despite their name they are not lights to boost or deflate the mood, however, they can enhance the aesthetics of landscaping so they should certainly have a positive effect rather than a negative one. Essentially they are a type of spotlight, however, because of how they are mounted and the way their light is directed, each one will either be an uplight or a downlight. Note, these are more for decorative purposes than to provide any great level of light.
Artificial Lighting Type #7 – Spike Lights
Here we have another light used more for decorative purposes although it can also outline pathways. They usually consist of an LED light mounted at the top of a spike which is pushed into the ground. Many spike lights are either battery-powered or solar-powered, so they do not need to be connected to a power source, and in most cases, they are inexpensive compared to other artificial lighting types.