The water reticulation is now complete and you’ve replaced all the sand only to discover that more trenches are required to install your outdoor landscape lighting. Oops! I forgot that you had been reading this Home Garden Design series and had already planned your outdoor lighting when you drew your initial garden plans so this extra effort had been avoided by utilising the same trenches.
But now you’re wondering how this can be that water pipes and electrical cable can co-exist. Surely this is a big no-no. Well, that all depends on whether you install low voltage outdoor lighting or you plan to incorporate the normal 240V cabling. If the cabling required for your outdoor lighting is the same that your house is utilising then in most cases this will need to be dug to a depth of 600mm (23.6 inches) and should be installed by a qualified electrician. However, if you’re using low voltage outdoor lighting you can do this yourself without fear of electrocuting yourself or others who may visit your garden.
Outdoor landscape lighting is exactly what it refers to – illuminating your outdoor landscape. The idea behind this installation is to allow the garden to be admired and enjoyed when natural light is no longer available to display your beautiful design.
The use of landscape lighting can highlight plants, trees, structures and features that normally could not be seen. Lighting can also serve the purpose of safety by directing visitors through your garden without the fear of injuring oneself on a hidden object.
In my post Plan to have outdoor garden lighting I mentioned 5 different uses of outdoor illumination. The idea is that you could use one, a couple or all five design ideas to highlight certain aspects of your garden.
The key to installing outdoor lighting is ensuring that you have made provision to change your ideas as the garden grows. Once your trees and shrubs have matured your lighting options will become very limited. Therefore, its better to plan for possibilities that you may not foresee and put in extra cabling in places that won’t be needing it, certainly in the short term anyway.
Another misconception concerning the use of outdoor landscape lighting is the overuse of such. The art of design is to aid peoples vision so that they can appreciate the artform that you are trying to illuminate. If you have too many focal points that you’ve illuminated with lighting they will all become lost and the effect will be chaotic. This is not good design so limit your outdoor lighting and focus on a few ideas rather than many.
Before you install any outdoor lighting, take a walk around the garden structure on a moonless night with just a handheld torch. Have another person hold the flashlight in a position that you are contemplating and see what effects can be reached. Take into consideration how the maturing of your plants will alter how this lighting is viewed and take note of different positions and effects.
Finally, remember that when planning your outdoor landscape lighting that less is more. Lighting is just to illuminate focal points and not compete with each other. Plan to be minimalist but prepare yourself for the option of adding more.