Over the past few months, our blog posts have been exploring the Rosara lighting range and considering the impact that manmade light has on nature and the environment. For many readers with gardens, these posts may have been released after your landscaping has already been completed. Retrofitting lighting in an existing garden scheme may feel like a challenge, but it is possible and can make a tremendous difference to your garden. The expense can easily be justified in the enhanced aesthetic and extended use you can gain from the space.
For those of us who love the outdoors and simply don’t feel there are enough hours of sunlight to enjoy it, al fresco dining and entertainment may be regular occurrences. Adding a lighting scheme can really enhance the garden and extend the use of the space. In addition to this, lighting, through the dark winter months increases the feeling of space in the rooms that look on to it and relieve the black glass effect of windows at night. It can also help with security and be a deterrent to unwanted visitors.
If you decide to retrofit garden lighting, how should you go about it?
There are three types of lighting: fixed (or cabled), solar, and candlelight. Both solar and candles have their place and can be charming but do have their limitations: neither emit a strong light, and large numbers may be needed to illuminate beyond a gentle glow.
For effective outdoor lighting, we suggest fixed lighting is the best option. Fixed lighting offers high quality, long-life lighting, and fitting retrospectively will add a truly special element to your outdoor space.
Challenges with fitting lights
You will need a qualified electrician to install the lighting and this will involve trenching in armoured cable between a consumer unit (this may be in the house, garage or a garden building already) and the fitting you want to connect. A 450 mm deep trench will need to be dug from the consumer unit to the point where you want the fittings, and between each fitting you want to add. Some space will be needed to install the drivers that will run the lights and this should be a dry, indoor space above ground. Again a garage or outbuilding can be used for this.
There are several ways to reduce the impact installing lighting can have on your garden.
Over a year in a garden, if any plants are to be dug out and replaced, it’s worth considering if this could be timed so a trench could be dug before the new plants are in the ground, or combine this with splitting up plants and carrying out border renovations which benefits the plants and keeps them productive.
A second option is to run a trench along the edging of a lawn, as this can often allow enough room to feed the cable in while causing minimal damage. This is also easy to access again, should any issues occur, and can be easily covered after installation to have minimal visual impact. Make sure to keep a note of cable runs so that you don’t put a spade through it in the future.
Finally, a great option is to use far-reaching lights from further distances to reduce the amount of digging needed to fit lights. A great example of this is our ‘Rosara Spotlight’. Using a rod and spike, this simply inserts straight into the ground and provides omnidirectional light that can illuminate an area of several meters. These are perfect for highlighting the key features of a garden at night.
If you have any questions about retrofitting lighting into an existing garden, or would like to discuss lighting as part of a new design scheme, please do get in touch.