If, like me, you are ready to start inviting friends round to enjoy a few drinks or even a barbecue outside in the evenings, then you’ll need the right garden lighting. After all, now that lockdown is easing, it’s the perfect time to get back to all those things you were enjoying this time last year. However, one thing I discovered recently was that I needed new garden lighting! And just because the sun goes down shouldn’t mean we have to sit indoors. And, at the moment, I prefer to spend as much time outside as possible.
Guests in the garden
Friends have already visited us in the garden but, in the main, this has been during the day. So far, we’ve had just one set pop round on an evening (they live locally). However, it was this night, which made me realise we needed to rethink our garden lighting. Once the sun had gone down, we were struggling to see one another, let alone our drinks! So we’ve invited more friends round for an evening cold buffet and I’d really like to illuminate our space.
Why garden lighting is so important
I’ve discovered garden lighting should be one of the most important aspects when you’re designing your outside space. Even more so, when you just can’t see who you’re sitting with on a balmy summer’s evening!! Now, we’ve spent a lot of our time creating flowerbeds, so our garden lighting has taken a bit of a back seat. But this doesn’t mean it’s too late to add anything, In fact, I’ve found the more time I’ve spent sitting in my ‘back yard’, the better chance this has given me to really consider what I want to achieve with garden lighting. So, this way, I can make the most of my outdoor space on an evening. I also like the idea of external lighting in the cooler months, too. Then, I’ll get a view from my open-plan kitchen and even my studio, come winter.
What to consider
I’ve been looking for a variety of lighting, just as I would if I was choosing lights for the rooms in my home. For me, atmospheric lighting is a must. There is nothing nicer than relaxing in the garden at night with an ambient glow. However, I also like to see a strong contrast between light and dark areas. This way, you can highlight certain features, such as a shrub or tree perhaps and hide less sightly areas from view. And, believe me, we’ve got a few of those spots I wish we could hide as our outside space is still a work in progress! Task lighting may be a consideration too, such as lighting a pathway for safety reasons.
Energy-saving garden lighting
I think the garden is one place where you can certainly save money on electricity. And why not as there are a whole host of energy-saving lighting options out there? I’m all for making my garden glow all year round, so this makes perfect sense. Solar-powered garden lighting will just need some sun to keep it running. In fact, even on a cloudy day, you should find you’ll achieve some sort of output. And I must admit I can’t wait to put mine to the test in winter, so watch this space…Or you can buy battery-operated models where you simply recharge the batteries and feel fully confident you can enjoy your garden lighting all year long. There are plenty of lights to choose from and they’re reasonably priced, too. I suggest using rechargable batteries as you may find they won’t last long if you switch them on every evening. I think both methods are great ways in which to achieve instant results without the need for an electrician.
If you’re looking for party lights, then festoon versions are just that. With a smart retro vibe, these oversized glass globes could look perfect hanging on a pergola or tree. If you’re looking for a more relaxed vibe when dining, try suspending them above your entertaining table. This way, you can set the scene for more nostalgic lighting you’d expect to see outside a retro-style cafe.
Pond garden lighting
We’ve always felt very lucky to find a pond (hidden under an overgrown blanket of plants) when we moved in. Since this, we have cleared and cleaned it, so it’s now a haven for wildlife from newts to toads. However, it’s also the perfect place to add a more enchanting element. Yes, you guessed it, I’ve added solar-powered pond lights! These ones create a really pretty effect on the water and will help to keep any guests clear from the water’s edge. So they make the area safe too, especially after enjoying a glass or two of pink gin!
Firefly lighting ideas
If you would like to experiment a little with your garden lighting, firefly lights should be top of your list. Not only are the battery-operated ones really good value for money but I think they look pretty good, too. I chose two lots of silver wire ones from Festive Lights, which reach 5m each, for only £6.99. What an absolute bargain! We’ve placed them on our balcony and across the roof of my studio and we plan to use them this weekend when we’re entertaining friends and I can’t wait. This style of string lighting is so versatile, you’ll find you can use it in all sorts of ways. Why not try a set in an outdoor planter or strung across a piece of rope? You can intertwine them on the legs of your gazebo or across the top of your pergola, too.
Candles and torches
There is nothing nicer than the flicker of candlelight when entertaining indoors so why not do the same outside? Mind you, I tend to pick citronella versions in an effort to prevent me from being eaten alive by mozzies…and these seem to help. I’ve just ordered a La Jolie Muse Citronella Candle which arrives tomorrow, so I hope we can place this in the centre of our table for more ambience when entertaining outdoors.
Tiki torches can also add a wonderful atmospheric element and keep the mozzies away. Made from stylish bamboo, I just fill the oil tank with citronella lamp oil and light the long wick and they make a pretty addition to our eating area. Try a set of five for £18.99 from Wayfair.
Love spending time outdoors? Then you must check out my blog on growing vegetables at home!