Paul Davidson, Aurora Group’s Technical and Project Manager, reveals how cost-effective lighting schemes can be designed to create the perfect home exterior.
Aurora believes there are three reasons why home owners love to spend money on exterior lighting. They enjoy their garden after dark, either outside or from within; they like to accentuate their property’s key external features; and they feel safer if it’s well-lit outside.
Lighting the exterior of a property falls into the same three categories as internal schemes. The ‘ambient’ lighting function is to provide light to the space to an accepted level. ‘Accent’ lighting highlights certain features and/or attributes. ‘Task’ lighting illuminates speciﬁc areas so users can see what they, or others, are doing.
The direction a property faces is, on many occasions, a consideration when purchasing a home as many prefer the sun in the back garden as opposed to the front. But during the evening, artiﬁcial lighting can be used during both twilight and the hours of darkness. And even during the day now, when natural lighting gradually fades to the west, lighting controls can be used to phase in attractive and useful effects if the garden loses the sun by 3pm.
Making outside part of the everyday living space is what most home owners aim to achieve and bi-folding doors are used on many occasions to link internal living areas with the exterior patio or decking. Where these spaces appear as one, artiﬁcial lighting must work in harmony with both areas when it’s dark.
Less is usually more, so don’t ruin a lovely view through the excessive lighting of every last detail. The challenge is to promote safe access to the areas being illuminated and to enhance appreciation of the surroundings. Aim to create a balance between the internal environment, the external patio or decking area and the wider garden.
Talk through a range of options with your customer, the outcome will most likely be subjective rather than engineered and start with the ambient lighting. What lighting is already used internally to illuminate the exterior patio or decking area? The aim should be to complement rather than just floodlight the area.
“Enlite, part of the Aurora group, has recently launched its new IP65 driverless range of QuaZar floodlights, which incorporate the latest in LED technology.”
One way to light up external areas and back gardens and provide ambient lighting, without sacrificing the appearance, is to use small ﬂoodlights. Enlite, part of the Aurora group, has recently launched its new IP65 driverless range of QuaZar floodlights, which incorporate the latest in LED technology.
With their ultra slim proﬁle and high performance, they are available in 10W, 20W, 30W and 50W versions including black and white housing ﬁnishes. The 10W measures only 90 (H) x 130 (W) x 33mm (D) and is the ideal substitute for a 60W halogen alternative. These can also be used as accent lighting, creating scenes that can be viewed from different aspects, such as a border set against the backdrop of the wider landscape. Or, your client’s garden might feature a specimen tree which can be subtly ﬂoodlit after dark.
Remember, it’s illumination of selected features that provide the ‘Wow’ factor, not the ﬁtting itself!Easily achievable with LEDs, ﬁttings should be screened from direct view whenever possible.
To subtly accent and enhance the exterior of a home, the LED strip is the perfect choice. Enlite’s FlexE240 mains 240V LED strip kits are ideal for all interior and exterior housing, garden and landscape accent lighting. Each strip is available in two kit lengths with interconnectable ends, allowing for lengths up to 30m to be joined together. They come in a range of colour temperatures, including RGB, for optimum scene creation and are encased in a silicone jacket for protection from all weather conditions.
When it comes to any installation, of course, safety comes first, so any exterior lighting scheme is a job for the professional electrician, not the home owner. To meet the current IEE Wiring Regulations, all installed electrical equipment must be manufactured for outdoor use and is to be installed by a suitably approved or qualified electrical contractor.
Safety and security ﬁttings come under the umbrella of task lighting. These products provide visitors with an illuminated route from the patio or decking area through the garden. Others may be chosen to deter the many forms of anti-social behaviour we know that exist today. The HeliusPIR ﬂoodlights by Enlite are ideal for residential security purposes. They incorporate a PIR sensor that allows for direct positioning to ensure optimum motion detection and lighting ﬁelds are achieved. PIR detection distance is up to 12m with a detection range of 120º.
While every space is unique, keep to the basic ground rules. Remember to combine ambient, accent and task lighting and don’t over-do it!LED is very affordable delivering for energy efficient, virtually maintenance free outside lighting. So when installed correctly, a garden lighting scheme can result in a
very attractive home and do the job required for years to come!