EXTERIORS

GET SWITCHED ON: THE LATEST IN OUTDOOR LIGHTING

June 13, 2018

Bored with your garden? Transform your outdoors with great outdoor lighting including mod, lantern-style designs to the latest LED looks used to revamp the best front entries, gardens, restaurants and hotels around.

“Lighting plays a big part in creating the right outdoor environment,” says Richard Haigh, founder and owner of Parterre. It adds instant depth to a house and garden, marks paths and boundaries, highlights architecture and provides illumination for entertaining, safety and security. Haigh recommends you start with your front door.” It’s the focal point of any house. And entry lights have a major impact.” He suggests trying a pair of wall lights or a fab pendant such as Royal Botania’s Dome to make a good first impression.

“It is vital to pay attention to the size and proportion of the light fitting in relation to your door and entry area. As a rule of thumb, fixtures should not be smaller than one-quarter of the door height,” says Haigh. “Lighting should gradually brighten as you approach the front door,” says Haigh. “Use soft light along the entry path and a stronger shine on the stairs and front porch.

What are the benefits of pathway lights? 

In addition to leading the way in the dark, pathway lights offer other benefits. Everything from home security to highlighting your favourite plants, fountains, planters, mirrors, to adding curb appeal.

What are the different styles of pathway lights?

There are several varieties of fixtures effective for lining and lighting walkways, says Haigh, but his fave types to use on pathways are garden lights, downlights and bollard lights.

Downlights The spot design provides a targeted light source with little side glare. The further away from a path, the larger the area of illumination.

Bollard Light Bollard lights have a 360-degree light spread and can illuminate garden beds and walkways simultaneously. Because they are a brighter light source, they are often placed at the start or end of a path as a focal point and to draw walkers in the right direction. Be careful of glare. Consider low-wattage bulbs or bollards with a solid top, to prevent the light from shining upwards.

Any tips for pathway lighting placement and selection?

Haigh suggests spacing your lights around 3  to 4 metres apart to create pools of light to guide from one point to the next, rather than a constant stream of light. “Stagger lights on both sides of a path to create a sense of balance and avoid the runway look.” “Consider setting lights slightly back from a walkway. They will light the way, and also highlight adjacent plantings rather than your pathway material.” He also says, “Be careful not to overlight. Use low wattage bulbs for subtlety (it is easy to overdo it).”  And remember to go for lights that direct light toward the feet, not the eyes. From the perspective of safety, cost, and easy installation, low voltage is the best option.

How do I power my pathway lights?

Unless they are solar-powered, outdoor lights need to be connected to an electric power source. That can be achieved by plugging into an outdoor power socket, hard wiring to a full 120V electric source, or installing a low-voltage transformer. From a safety, cost, and easy installation, low voltage is the way to go. Low-voltage transformers change the electric current from 120V to 12V, ideal for outdoor garden use because of the wet conditions. Electricity and water are typically a bad combination.

Parterre

Designers and landscapers are flocking here for the divinely sleek Dome wall lights, pendants, floor lights and lanterns by Belgian brand Royal Botania. Crafted in aluminium in black or white, and glass (clear, smoke or amber), they are the sort of thing you’d see in the best houses in Europe. Architects love them. The company is also doing brisk business in slick, architectural bollards and spotlights of all kinds in antique brass, zinc alloy, teak, granite, stainless steel, rusty cast iron, and Corian, which light up the best gardens in the world. They look as if they cost a bomb, but they don’t, (02) 9363 5874, www.parterre.com.au

Bunnings

The mega-chain has budget architectural-style outdoor lighting kits (in stainless steel and plastic) by HPM and Crompton. Stores statewide (02) 98467100, www.bunnings.com.au

Castlight

Specialists in design and supply of its own range of exterior 12-volt lighting foe “everything in the garden” as well as the outside of houses – designed so you admire the effect rather than the source of the light. Have lit up some of our grandest harbourside mansions and country estates with great contemporary outdoor lights. Mostly in cast bronze in various finishes (including satin chrome) and powder-coated aluminium. (02) 9416 8606, www.castlight.com.au.

ERCO Lighting

The light factory specialises in architectural illumination from spotlights and recessed illuminations to intelligent lighting systems for indoors and out. It is big on what goes on inside the light but we like its beautiful forms, shapes and finishes. One of the best outdoor ranges around with a concise collection of bollards, cylinders, wall washers, projectors, downlights, surface-mounted spots that are spot-on. You can’t buy direct: go through your landscaper, or go to the website to check the list of distributors. (02) 9004 8801, www.erco.com

Lumascape Lighting Industries

Manufactures and sells high-end outdoor lighting of all descriptions: everything in the garden will be lovely: underwater (including those little brass stars you see in all the best pools), uplighting of columns and sculptures, wall-lights, pond lights, and adjustable wall-knuckles that allow you to get the angle of the beam just right. Very simple, but great casting (marine-grade stainless steel, etc) and sealing – and Australian-made. Its popularity has spread to the US. (02) 9519 6860; www.lumascape.com.au. 

Tovo Lighting

Architectural lighting specialists, with its own range of affordable outdoor and indoor pieces fabricated on the premises. Mid-range little stainless steel squares suitable for outdoor stairways, plus landscape lighting for just about everything, including ponds and pools, using Scandinavian-sourced, marine-grade stainless steel or copper. They can adapt or make lights to your specific needs. In business for more than 30 years.  (02) 9939 1122, www.tovolighting.com.au

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