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Exterior Lighting - Improving Your Lot

   By: Karen Hughes

EveryoneÂ's home needs some sort of outside lighting. Whether itÂ's to help you get the key in the lock after a night out, or to emphasise some of your favourite garden features, outdoor lighting is a must.

The most common and practical lighting fixture is one that is activated by movement or an infra-red motion detector. These can be set to become active at dusk and any movement will turn the light on. It means that energy is saved as the light is off when not required but it switches on when someone moves. This type of light has the added bonus of deterring unwanted visitors and also lighting up any callers who come to your door giving you added security.

Another form of exterior lighting is solar lighting. This stores energy from the sun when lights are not required, and releases it as light energy when needed. Solar lighting can take the form of individual lamps or a major lighting installation that uses a central store of solar light stored in a battery. The individual lights each have their own solar mechanism and can be used to light paths or driveways with the minimum amount of installation work as they do not need electric cabling between them and the power source.

A major garden lighting installation will need to be done by a qualified electrician who knows all of the current regulations. Cables need to be laid in ducts to prevent damage from the weather and wildlife and so they cannot be disturbed by general garden activities, digging and the like.

An overall garden lighting scheme should not be too bright so as to annoy you neighbours but must be bright enough for the purpose they are intended. Some fairy lights strung between two trees make your garden look much more inviting than a 1000W floodlight that bathes everything in harsh white light.

Many people only venture into the garden with lights at Christmas when taste and practicality gives way to neon Snowmen and flashing reindeer all done “for the children” but often a competition between homes to see who can improve on last yearÂ's display. I say why not? ItÂ's the holiday season and anything that brings a bit of sparkle to an otherwise unused area in the winter months is more than welcome.

Other lighting in the garden can be used to highlight specific features. A well positioned spotlight can emphasise the features of a garden statue or a particularly precious tree or shrub. Many ponds have underwater lighting to help you see your fish and outdoor swimming pools often have lights set into the sides to improve vision in the pool.

Whatever route you decide to travel down to light your garden ensure that you have a plan before you start and you will increase your enjoyment of your outside space after daylight hours.

Karen Hughes is a decor consultant, get further lighting ideas at Lighting Capital this is your first stop for information about lighting.

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