A guide to garden lighting – Planning

A guide to garden lighting – Planning

A guide to garden lighting. Planning

This is my guide to garden lighting. Click here to view the introduction to my guide. Or click here to view the installation stage of this guide.

The first part of any project, whether it is garden lighting or whole garden construction, is to speak to the client to discover their requirements and put this onto paper. Careful planning ensures the client gets exactly what they need and avoids any confusion as to where lights and cables are going.

The first part of the planning process involves looking at what is existing in the garden, trees, water features etc. Up-lighting an old tree in the garden is very simple but can have dramatic effects, so it is worth considering the existing features first. After I have decided what existing features I will be considering for lighting I then look at the design of the garden we are building. I look for:

  • Trees that will be planted
  • Steps that could be a trip hazard in the dark
  • Any new features in the garden (ponds, water features, sculptures etc)
  • Planting that will look good illuminated
  • Any patio areas that might need down-lighting for proposed furniture

One very important thing to remember about planning garden lighting is not to have too many lights. Lighting needs to be subtle and create a nice mood within the garden. If you add too many lights you could end up disturbing neighbours and risk your garden looking like Disney Land!



Once I have considered all the options for where lighting could be positioned, I then decide which light fitting will work best in each position. There are many different effects that can come from lighting so choosing the correct light fitting is very important. I will go into more details into the different fittings available later on in this series.

Next, I decide how the lights will be zoned. I can choose to turn on the patio lights together, the water feature pump can come on separate to all the other lights and the big old tree at the end of the garden can be illuminated on the same circuit as the new trees we will be planting.



OK, so I now know what fitting goes where and how they will be zoned, now I need to know where the cables are going to run, where I am going to hide the lighting controllers (the box that the remote controls talk to) and transformers and where I am going to get electricity from. I usually look for a garage or a shed with power already supplied, if not a new cable will need to be ran from the house to the lighting controllers. The lighting controllers and transformers can be tucked away from view. Inside or round the back of a shed or garage is usually the best place but they can go pretty much anywhere they are required.

Now the location of the controllers has been decided the low voltage cable will need to be ran to the position of the lights. Careful planning is needed here as I need to make sure the cabling will work with the zones I have proposed.

The planning process of garden is now complete the next job is the installation. Subscribe to our blog to receive updates on garden lighting.

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