Lighting Design

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External and Garden Lighting

This weekend sees the Summer Solstice in the UK.  The phones here have been ringing for weeks with people enquiring about garden lighting projects and we’ve recently posted an ideabook on Houzz on external lighting.  Here are three important things to bear in mind when planning external and garden lighting.

Detail of Garden Lighting at Night

Plan early

Garden lighting requires power unless you’re using DIY solar powered fittings.  If you’re landscaping your garden, provision for cabling with ducting.  Consider the length of the cable runs; cable run length will dictate where your drivers (for LED fittings) need to be located.  Consider how you are going to control the lights and whether additional control cabling needs to be run

Use the right fittings

It might be midsummer but we rarely forget it rains quite a lot in the UK.  Water and electricity don’t play nicely together so select fittings with the correct IP (Ingress Protection) rating for your application.  IP ratings (e.g. IP20, IP65 etc) describe the level of protection offered by fittings against solids and liquids.  Since it’s water ingress we’re concerned with here we’ll focus on the second number.  You really shouldn’t be using anything less than an IPx3 rated fitting for external lighting.

  • IPx3: Protects against water sprayed from up to 60° from the vertical – rain-proof. Allows limited ingress.  A lot of lanterns carry an IPx3 rating.
  • IPx4: Protects against water splashed from all directions – splash proof.
  • IPx5: Protects against low-pressure jets of water from all directions – jet-proof.
  • IPx6: Protects against strong jets of water (or heavy seas…).
  • IPx7: Protects against temporary immersion down to 1m – water-tight.  Not suitable for permanent immersion.
  • IPx8: Protects against permanent immersion at the specified water depth – water-tight at the specified pressure.

 

Get the installation details right

It’s not just a question of using fittings with the right IP rating.  It’s important to ensure the integrity of the whole circuit: cabling, driver, fitting, connection.  The most frequent point of failure for any external lighting is the cable connection – either with the fitting or the driver.  It’s essential to apply the manufacturers installation instructions and protect all connection points.  If in doubt check with your supplier.  If the drivers need to be located externally, make sure they are in a water-tight location.

Want some inspiration?

Our latest Houzz ideabook looks at 9 very different garden lighting schemes selected from a range of designers from the over 6 million photos in the Houzz library

Houzz Ideabook – 9 Ways to Add a Magical Mood with Outdoor Lighting
External Lighting Solutions – a gallery and some suitable external fittings

Lighting the outside dining area