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Mistakes to avoid when planning your garden lighting

We all know the importance of getting the lighting right in our homes spending ages mixing ambient, task and accent lights perfectly. But have you given much thought to how to light your garden?


Lighting can play an important role in security, creating atmosphere and a practical safety element.


Listen up to these top tips from renovator @Victoria_Road_Restoration to avoid the most common outdoor lighting mistakes.  


  • Plan! If you’re reading this article you’re already on the right path. Take time to understand your space and think about where you’re going to need lighting. Do you have steps? Is there a dedicated seating area to enjoy a late evening G&T? Do you plan on entertaining? Have you got some gorgeous plants you want to highlight? Take all these things into consideration and plan where you might need lights. Draw yourself a quick sketch of the space and highlight the areas you want to add lighting, from here you can start to think about what kind of light/mood you want to create. Another quick tip here is to take a torch out to the garden and shine it on the plants and areas you think you want to highlight, what shadows do they cast? What’s the best angle for the light?


  • Safety. Don’t go running extension leads from the house to the bottom of your garden to plug in your favourite lamp. Yes, it’s a temporary solution but is it safe? Outdoor lighting solutions should be IP rated. Put simply this means the outdoor light is fitted with protection to stop penetration of solid objects or water entering the light. IP stands for Ingress protection, as in how well protected fitting is. This is then followed by two numbers which tell us how well protected the fitting is against solids or water. Digit one represents the solids protection and runs on a scale of 0 – 6, zero being no protection at all and 6 being dust tight. The second digit is particularly important to British gardens, how water tight is the fitting? Zero indicates not protected at all and 8 means the light is suitable for continuous immersion in water e.g. for a pond or water feature.

Clear Festoon Lights

  • Security. A good deterrent for intruders adding security lighting to the front of the house and any side and back entrances should be considered. Find weak security points in your garden and add a movement activated security light. These lights also help give a clearer CCTV image, just make sure to position the light above the camera and test the image to ensure you don’t have any glare.


  • Positioning. You want to use lighting to highlight your gardens best bits, beautiful plants, window boxes, sculptures or water features. Don’t go uplighting the compost heap or tatty garden shed. It sounds obvious but you’d be surprised how many people just light the four corners of the garden with little thought drawing the eye to the best bits.

Frosted Festoon Lights

  • Atmosphere. If you want to create a magical mood in the garden draping fairy lights around entrances or around dining areas create wonderful soft mood lighting.


  • Task. Task lighting is a word we often hear when planning interior lighting schemes so don’t forget it when planning your outdoor space. Like barbecuing? Make sure you illuminate the cooking area. Use LED strips under steps to help prevents trips and falls and consider an outdoor lamp or pendant over a dining table.


 Clear Festoon Lights

To see how @Victoria_Road_Restoration used Iconic Lights in her contemporary garden check out her feed on Instagram.