Comparative review of garden lights: how to choose the right garden lighting
Often a beautiful and modern garden, created by a landscape designer in the 3D version, turns out to be a little different in life. The fact is that we look at such a garden exclusively from the height of our growth, and not from the sky, in practice all the elements will be much less bright, and some decoration materials in life will create a different impression. And in the evening, when all the cats turn gray, the dream garden becomes sad and tasteless at all. That's why professional designers immediately after arranging the garden always roll up their sleeves and skillfully gloss over defects. Only this time, not with the brush of a virtual editor, but with the help of lighting design!
And it turns out they’ve got great: what is needed is quietly hidden behind the decor, successful garden elements are emphasized favorably, and textures and surfaces are more effective and noble in the new game of light and shadow. Moreover, the light in the garden is needed not only after sunset!
Correctly, with taste, selected garden lights effectively grab the most beautiful sections of it from the dark. For all this, the designer develops the concept of a lighting system, highlighting from its main characters, the general idea and dynamics. And such a technique is called a light scenario, for which you will need to pick up a variety of lamps with a variety of parameters. And therefore, we offer you a comparative overview of garden lamps by their purpose, decorativeness and functionality. You will be surprised by the modern variety!
See how fascinating a night garden can be with the proper selection of lamps:
In terms of functionality, landscape lamps are divided into two main groups. The first includes the elements that make up the backbone of the outdoor lighting system, the second includes the spotlight, to create directional light fluxes. but garden lights adorn landscape design with their sizes and shapes.
Moreover, it is important not only to correctly enter them into the general style of the garden, sometimes they become the main attributes of its design. At night, they illuminate the necessary sections of the garden, and during the day they serve simply as decorative objects. And therefore, they are given special attention and today there is an unlimited number of styles of such lamps. Modern manufacturers produce their isomers, design collections, in the same style.
Criterion # 1 - the purpose of the lamp
According to its application, garden lamps are divided into 5 main groups:
- architectural lighting for facades and small architectural forms;
- emergency lighting, for garden paths and near the entrance to the house;
- landscape lighting for accents of the garden;
- underwater lighting, for accent lighting of individual elements;
- decorative lighting, which does not have functionality.
Here's what purely decorative garden lights look like:
Their main task is the duty group:
- Highlight the path that leads to the house;
- the lock of the front door into which you want to insert the key;
- a small threshold in front of the house so as not to stumble;
- access to the garage or car house.
Such lamps perform not so much decorative functions as approximate ones so that a person can safely move around his garden area. Therefore, to illuminate the access roads and the entrance to the house, luminaires with reflected light are most suitable.
To illuminate specifically the entrance to the house and gates, usually powerful wall lights with a reflector and a motion sensor are used. But such lamps are installed in order to highlight and make a cozy resting place in the local territory:
A separate type of luminaire is tropine. They are used for spectacular lighting of transit zones. Their main difference from ordinary lamps is that the light rays are always directed strictly down, and this is more comfortable and functional for the eyes:
Modern transit (path, road) lamps are most often sold with a built-in motion sensor. Thus, the illumination of garden paths turns on automatically only when a person or animal begins to walk on them. Moreover, sliding light for garden paths is especially popular today.
This effect is obtained with the help of small reflectors that are mounted on low posts. You just begin to walk along the path and it illuminates itself, and behind you the light is already turned off. Remember the famous Disney cartoon about Alice in Wonderland, and the path that appeared and disappeared by itself? This magical effect is achieved by reflectors, which reacts to your presence and absence on a specific meter of the track.
But along the small paths of the garden looks more spectacular fiber optic broaches. You will also be interested to know, but today, lamps for lowering ground illumination are also often used.
In a separate group include lamps for spatial lighting. Their main task is to add depth to the night garden. The effect is achieved due to the combined different levels of lighting and the correct location of the lamps at a distance from a person. So, closer elements are lit a little weaker, which creates the effect of the depth of space.
The opposite version of this technique is also used, when they try to show a long narrow garden as more compact and comfortable. We also note that many modern lamps with the help of an anti-glare screen change the shape of a light beam.
Criterion # 2 - backlight coverage
Garden lamps in the direction of light rays are divided into the following types: for top lighting for lower lighting.
Up lighting and down lighting
The upper ones are set for emergency and security lighting of the plot, and their main goal is to illuminate the right part of the garden well, replacing the natural daylight for a while. Such lighting in the world of lighting design is called Up lighting - due to the fact that it is directed from the bottom up. With the help of such lamps, the volume of absolutely any landscape object is emphasized favorably. But it is important that in this case direct light does not get into the eyes of a person, therefore, light shades, grilles and an anti-glare visor must be installed on such lamps. Dimmers for adjusting the brightness also do not interfere.
But the downlights, Down lighting, are needed to highlight the most beautiful trees, small shrubs, architectural forms and the facade of the house. It is these lights that create the enchanting atmosphere of the whole garden:
Integrated and individual floodlights
But directional lights, called spotlights, are designed to change the visual geometry of garden elements. After all, any garden in the evening lighting begins to look different than during the day. But even small bushes seem to be at least twice as large due to special lighting. Designers call this effect a play of light and shadow. Usually, an alpine slide, a garden bench, an artificial pond or small architectural forms are placed in the light of spotlights.
Searchlights, unlike decorative lamps, do not in themselves have any decorative function - moreover, they are even specially hidden from the eyes. Their main task is to highlight individual points of the landscape. And since they can be hidden, then they do not particularly work on their appearance, and therefore such lamps are always a little cheaper than decorative ones.
The luminaires for the background light should give uniform illumination in order to correctly select an object with the help of a floodlit background. Moreover, it is not the object itself that is highlighted, but its outline. We can say that such a light is a frame for a picture. Using the same group of lamps for trees and bushes, the so-called light corona is created when the plant itself is between the source and the person.
A separate group of luminaires is for underwater lighting. They often use LEDs and Eurooptics today, and the production of such lamps is significantly different from conventional ones.
As you probably already guessed, the whole thing is in the water: such lamps should be well protected from moisture inside, withstand the pressure of a large amount of liquid and accidental blows from an object or the feet of a person resting under water. In addition, such lamps are also carefully selected according to the spectrum of light, the main purpose of which is to magically color the water from the inside, or to effectively highlight in a certain place.
To organize underwater lighting, you will need flexible fiber LEDs that do not allow live parts to come into contact with water.
In modern gardens, fireflies wink more often in the grass and on the crowns of trees, neon butterflies flutter and magical flowers burn. These are decorative solar-powered lamps. It is noteworthy that you do not need to pull wires to them: just arrange such lamps in groups in the garden or randomly, and in the evening mysterious lights will appear, like fairies wake up and get down to work.
Criterion # 3 - color effect and spectrum width
Garden lights also differ in color, light output and latitude of the territory covered. And for each separate zone of the garden it is important to choose the “right” lamp.
For example, highlighting water in a pond is not recommended in red or yellow, which gives it a cloudy appearance, but trees just highlight more often with just such a warm spectrum (cold less often, only for a particular controversial effect).
You still can not randomly illuminate flowerbeds and other plants in the evenings, because the spectrum of light is extremely important for them. Otherwise, you will be very surprised when expensive flowers reveal an unexpected new color (at best) or simply wither. Therefore, to illuminate the flower beds, always take the standard white or yellow backlight:
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For each individual landscape effect, you will need lamps with different fillings:
Criterion # 4 - environmental friendliness and energy consumption
One of the most important issues of garden lighting design is electrification. Therefore, the electric fixtures that you purchase will need to be grouped by area of use. So they will be easy to turn on from the remote control, and the wires you lay only in specific directions. That is why it is better to design lighting design at the stage of garden development - at this time such features are much easier to take into account.
As for the choice of the number of fixtures for the garden, be guided by one simple principle: the more there will be, the more favorable you will show your spectacular landscape design, and the less - the more comfortable the evening garden will be. But in any case, even when working with a very small garden, you will need several types of lamps. Only expect that over long stretches the length of the electrical wire in the low voltage circuit should be within 25 meters. And so you can connect only a limited number of fixtures.
You can use the old fashioned standard 220 volt network, which is still universal. But the installation of such a circuit can only be performed by a professional electrician, and not all lamps are suitable - only those on the box of which the voltage 220 volts is specifically indicated. Although, we note, the wires in the ground usually do not interfere with garden plants. For example, ornamental shrubs and flowers can grow in close proximity to a garden lantern, as his electric cable is still buried in the ground by as much as 70 centimeters.
If you have absolutely no desire to connect with electricity, then just purchase more lamps with solar panels or stand-alone batteries. They will make your garden more mysterious than usual:
Autonomous garden lights are arranged as follows:
An important point is the aesthetics of the lamp itself. Have you noticed that white lamps are extremely rare in gardens? Moreover, in 90% of cases, these elements are generally black! Everything is logical: after any rain on the lamps (especially ground), dirty stains will surely remain, which will spoil the whole impression of landscape design.
Particularly beautiful and unusual gardens are created with the help of lamps, which are controlled by special devices: a sensor and a timer. At the right time, the timer, for example, turns off the decorative light after midnight and only the small flashlight near the front door and near the gate is left on, which saves energy.
Criterion # 5 - aesthetics and shape
In order to evenly illuminate all areas in the garden, classic floor lamps are most often used. You probably saw them in public parks and squares. Interestingly, the height of the supports of such lamps can reach 5 meters from ground level!
Most often, pendant lights are located near the main entrance to the house or gazebo.
But the festive illumination of the garden, which is used not only in solemn occasions, has become especially fashionable today. It helps to show the house and the surrounding landscape in all their splendor, and the light is as bright as the sun. The main task of such lamps is to evoke a sense of celebration and to cheer up all guests. Therefore, LED garlands, neon lamps of bright futuristic colors and fiber optic cables are used.
Reflector lamps are used to illuminate small bushes or trees, and some interesting elements of the garden. Only halogen lamps are suitable as a source. It is important that such lamps have the ability to regulate the light, especially its range from 10 to 15 degrees.
Luminaires are suitable for lighting stairs, paths and green spaces. They are necessarily equipped with screens from the blinding effects of light on humans, and frosted glass is used for soft diffused light.
Lamps for walls are built near the entrance to the house, near the gate, at the entrance to the garage and next to the stairs.
But the most beautiful garden lights are built into other design elements:
Criterion # 6 - power and type of lighting
Some lamps are able to give the garden a spectacular depth and bring a sense of mysticism, while others - remarkably highlight the structure of architectural elements, and others bring dynamics and rhythm to the landscape design. Those. with a competent choice of lamps for your garden, you can create the mood he needs no worse than an experienced designer.
Therefore, another important criterion by which you will need to choose a garden lamp is the light effect and its compliance with your expectation. And for lighting garden paths and the main entrance to the house you will need completely different lamps. And the main difference between them is which lamp will be used:
Let's talk about choosing the light source itself. For example, an incandescent lamp is well suited for short, but intense lighting of the main garden areas.
And for those areas where a magical world will be created for at least several hours, mercury, sodium, metal halide and fluorescent lamps are more suitable for lamps. Their advantage is that they will consume less energy and last longer.
For example, halogen lamps last three to four times longer than ordinary bulbs, are small in size and are great for compact luminaires. These lights are easy to hide from the eyes in the grass and behind the stones:
Metal halide lamps last up to 12, 000 hours, and most often they are used to illuminate large areas and objects for a long time. Such lamps emit light in a wide range of colors and operate on a voltage of 220 volts. Their minus is in sensitivity to network fluctuations.
Energy-saving fluorescent lamps emit a wide variety of spectra: cold, warm and neutral. They are especially good at emphasizing plants. And such lamps serve as much as 8000 and work at the same time from a voltage of 220 volts. But they poorly tolerate temperatures below zero and begin to shine weaker.
Modern LED lights save up to 80% of energy!
Criterion # 7 - practicality (material of manufacture)
It is not terrible to be an open-air garden lamp: after mechanical-electrochemical treatment (in the factory), they are coated with a special polymer powder coating, which perfectly resists atmospheric influences. But whether cheap Chinese lamps can withstand rain, ice and hail is another question.
Indeed, for the frames of modern garden lamps, mainly stainless steel and aluminum with a special coating are used. And plafonds are usually produced opaque, transparent, smoky and are made of special anti-vandal plastic or glass.
Therefore, when choosing garden lamps, pay attention to such technical characteristics: luminous flux in lumens, type of cartridge, power, degree of protection according to the international code against the penetration of liquids or solids (water, rain, insects and the hand of a curious child). For garden lamps, the IP coefficient should not be lower than 23, for a spotlight - 55. And, finally, the electrical insulation class, denoted by Roman numerals I, II and III. Best for concrete garden lights, this is class I, of course.
The higher the lamp protection, the longer it will last. For example, well-known Italian companies give their products a 25-year warranty. Here, the load-bearing parts of the fixtures are painted in black with gold, silver and white with gold, and the fixtures of well-known Belgian companies are made of more expensive materials, such as granite.
And one of the most fragile is called pillar garden lamps, which are usually made of aluminum cast alloys. Such it is important to arrange them so that no one touches them with a bicycle or garden cart.
Criterion # 8 - “fashion” and stylization
In addition to all of the above, such a moment as the aesthetics of the lamp itself is important. Have you noticed that white lamps are extremely rare in gardens? Moreover, in 90% of cases, these elements are generally black! Everything is logical: after any rain on the lamps (especially ground), dirty stains will surely remain, which will spoil the whole impression of landscape design.
Of course, the most stylish and fashionable lamps are produced by world brands:
Note that today it is also quite fashionable to illuminate the garden with retro-style lamps. Agree, these always look cozy in any landscape! These are high lanterns along the paths that the light tunnel creates, and Pushkin lanterns near the gazebo and the entrance to the house. But this design has its minus: too bright light.
After all, it is no accident that modern landscape designers use the term indicator of discomfort from the brightness of sources in use. And this already determines such a property of the lamp as its excessively intense light stimulation, which adversely affects vision. For this purpose, modern reflectors also use reflectors to distribute the luminous flux, and a matte finish. With soft garden lighting, shadows become less contrasting, and garden objects no longer look like on the operating table. Or on stage for one actor.
Another last important point: garden lights should be mobile, because from time to time new plants appear in your garden or old plants are transplanted, and the overall design of the entire garden is gradually changing. And it is important to correctly place accents on time!