Now that autumn is well and truly with us, there’s no need to give up your garden for good. In fact, with today’s fabulous selection of garden lights, you light up your garden and make the most out of your patio, or courtyard and stay outdoors for as long as possible. (Or simply snuggle up indoors and watch the mesmerising light show from the comfort of your sofa, in front of the fire…)
1 Wonder walls
Wall washers are an effective garden tool that can help light up interesting architectural features in the garden or provide a source of good illumination alongside a stepped area. Fix in rows along a wall or a sturdy garden structure (you will need a qualified electrician for built-in lighting solutions) and make sure your choice of wall-mounted spots and downlighters are waterproof and suitable for outdoor use. Modern steel porch lights and fisherman-style lanterns can create a real style statement too.
2 Sprinkle with fairylights
This is a simple lighting solution for any size of garden – and one which won’t fail to sprinkle your garden with a little touch of style magic, without breaking the bank. Choose between multi-coloured festoon bulbs for a fun-filled, party atmosphere, an outdoor net light to highlight topiary and hedges or string after string of twinkling white lights woven through branches, fence panels and between trees. And if you don’t want the hassle of running connectable fairylights from indoors to out, simply plump for battery or solar powered versions.
3 Keep it low
A subtle wash of horizontal lighting at ground level will make sure your steps are clearly visible at night and will make sure no-one ever stumbles in the dark. Long rows of striplights running the length of a step is one idea, or else install a peppering of recessed spotlights (or more specifically uplights and step lights) that are embedded into patio decking and paths.
4 Hideaway lights
Plants and shrubs with strong leaf shapes and spiky, architectural silhouettes offer up the perfect opportunity for creating a mesmerising shadow show with lights that project up through the plants and on to background surfaces. Spike spotlights that can be stuck into the earth are versatile and can be moved around, and cost a lot less than permanent recessed lighting. Choose stainless steel for a modern scheme or a copper finish that will weather to a gorgeous mottled brown finish and even dare to go disco with a flourish of green, blue and pink bulbs.
5 Be a fire starter
Fire pits were a real design hit for the garden this summer, but don’t put them away just yet, as these outdoor fires can remain a good source of heat and light now the autumn season is here. There are so many portable pits and chimineas to choose from, be it a rustic bronze model on legs, an industrial steel trough or an ornate, aluminium wood burner, that the most difficult part will be working out which one to buy. And if you’re feeling really adventurous, why not build-in a permanent fire pit for heat, light and all-round camping cheer whatever the weather…
6 Strip off
I’m not suggesting you strip off to your bikini or bathing costume here, rather that LED strip lighting is quite possibly my favourite lighting source for the garden. Seek out low-voltage, energy-efficient and waterproof strips that are highly flexible and can be used around steps, raised beds and paths as well as under steps and benches. Plump for a cool, white glow with a dimmable function or even a colour-changing strip light to pump up the party vibe.
7 Be clever with candlelight
If you’re holding a last-minute autumnal soiree and the evening is warm, guests are sure to trickle outdoors for a breath of fresh air. With no permanent lighting scheme in place, one of the easiest, cheapest and most effective ways to light up your outdoor space is by dotting tables, steps, paths and ledges with tealights in glass holders. Use old jam jars if you don’t have enough and cluster groups of chunky church candles for a simple yet striking centrepiece. Just don’t forget to blow them out once you turn in for bed…
Have you installed a really pretty and practical lighting scheme in your garden? What was your biggest challenge – we’d love to hear your thoughts.