• Think about what you will use the space for
  • Functional
  • Mood
  • Water proofing
  • Garden Lighting Design and Set up

If you’re contemplating the design of your outdoor area, you simply need to walk around your garden and determine what features you want highlighted and illuminated. Additionally, you need to decide what areas you want visible, such as paths and driveways.

  • Functional

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Although not specifically for design, functional lighting is used to brighten the area with light in attempt to illuminate areas of your yard so you can continue using them after the sun has set. You can use flood lighting for this purpose to illuminate driveways and paths. Examples of functional lighting:

  • Motion sensor lights for enhancing the security of your home
  • Step lights for safety after the sun has set
  • Bunker lights for wall mounting
  • Poles for lighting large areas
  • Pool lights
  • Mood

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Mood lighting is used in many areas and for an array of functions. For example, mood lighting is used if you want to improve the look of your decking or outdoor entertaining area, or want to create a more romantic feel in your garden. Installing some lower voltage coloured bulbs or moonlight bulbs will do the trick! Examples of mood lighting include:

  • Feature lights for general illumination duties
  • Spike lights to light path ways
  • Hanging lights for decorative effect
  • In-ground lights for decking or tiled areas
  • Wall lights for illuminating specific areas
  • Bollards
  • Pool lights
  • Water proofing

Choose an IP65 light or better

The joiner kits that come with most garden lights are rubbish make sure you solder all connections and cover them with epoxy glued heat shrink to make the connections waterproof aswell.


  • Types

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  • Volts and Wattage
  • 12 volt – lights with a high light intensity are capable of illuminating a driveway. 12 volt systems can be halogen or LED, where halogens give more light intensity but consume more energy than LED’s
  • Solar – these lights are not effective enough to light a pathway or garden area and are the best option if you’re after a decorative touch
  • Installation

The main area of concern when installing your garden lights, or any lights outside, is water. If lights are not sealed properly, water can enter the lights and it can become very dangerous. Even moisture build up can create hazards.

Garden lighting is simple to install and can dramatically change the look of your outdoor area.

Show off your impressive trees or attract areas of lush green or colourful foliage, or highlight a sculpture, pond or garden bed.

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The above diagram shows the brightness of halogen 12V MR16 globes. Led is a better choice but the wattages on led can be deceiving.

Generally speaking… 3-5W LED = 20W halogen

5-7W LED = 35W halogen

7-10W LED = 50W halogen

Not all LED globes are the same. Some of the cheaper LED gobes can have voltage drop and low brightness issues. You get what you pay for.

  • 10 Strategies for Outdoor Lighting

1) Plan Ahead – your garden will continue to grow and you need to plan for this

2) Customise the design – make it your own!

3) Make it durable and safe for friends and family

4) Analyse your space – decide what features you want highlighted

5) Glaring issues – consider the issue of glare, especially if your lights shine into your house

6) Designing with light takes work

7) Leave room to grow

8) Optimise technology to save on energy consumption

9) Customise your budget to meet your needs

10) Hire an electrical professional – hire an experienced electrician that can ensure the work is safe, quality and long lasting

  • Voltage

Garden lighting should typically be low voltage, as it is safe and easy to install. An electrician is needed if lights are mains power and cables need to be run to the light. This labour adds up as part of digging the trench for the cables, as it needs to be buried 600mm below ground level in conduit. However, 12 volt garden lighting cables can be run on the surface or buried just below mulch, and thus, can be a DIY project.

  • Electrical Work

All electrical work in your home, indoors or outdoors, needs to be completed by a licensed electrician. Illegal or DIY work could void your home insurance policy and put your family in danger.

  • Garden Lighting Design and Set up

If you’re contemplating the design of your outdoor area, you simply need to walk around your garden and determine what features you want highlighted and illuminated. Additionally, you need to decide what areas you want visible, such as paths and driveways.

  • Transformer

Buy a larger transformer than you’ll initially need so you can add lights later. If you’ll be installing 400 watts of lights, buy a 600 watt transformer.

  • Coastal Areas

If you live in a coastal area, ensure that your lighting is either 316 marine grade stainless steel, aluminium or polycarbonate to increase its resistance to the elements and durability.

  • IP Rating

If you live in a coastal area, ensure that your lighting is either 316 marine grade stainless steel, aluminium or polycarbonate to increase its resistance to the elements and durability.

  • Caring For Your Lights
  • Regularly clean exposed outdoor bulbs every three months to remove dirt build up
  • Check cords and outlets on your lights
  • Ensure loose cords are tucked out of sight to avoid tripping hazards
  • Treat your 316 marine grade lights before installation with a neutral oil
  • Install easy access to switches or simply install motion sensors
  • Globe Size

The wattage of a light determines how far the light can project. Typically, 12 volt garden lights are fitted with MR 16 Globes and GY.35/G4 Bi Pin Globes.

  • What to Look For When Buying Your Lights
  • Light intensity – ensure that the lights will actually illuminate the area
  • Complete kits – buying your lights in a kit will make it easier for installation. 12 volt kits contain multiple lights, cables and a transformer
  • Battery life – if you’re buying a 12 volt garden light or a solar-powered garden light remember that battery and solar panel life reduces with continual use.

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  • Installation

The main area of concern when installing your garden lights, or any lights outside, is water. If lights are not sealed properly, water can enter the lights and it can become very dangerous. Even moisture build up can create hazards.

Garden lighting is simple to install and can dramatically change the look of your outdoor area.

Show off your impressive trees or attract areas of lush green or colourful foliage, or highlight a sculpture, pond or garden bed.

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