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Outdoor lighting buying guide

With the right outdoor lighting, your garden could be transformed into an extra room. Plus, you can protect your property and safety by adding security lights. Here, we'll help you decide on the best outdoor lighting for your home.

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Before you buy

  • Start by thinking about what you need outdoor lighting for. Are you creating an entertainment space for guests, deterring any unwanted visitors or making a dark path safer to navigate at night time?
  • Consider your budget. If you have a large outside area, it might be best to invest in some accent lighting in a few key areas to create an inviting look and feel. On the other hand, if its safety you're most concerned with, you might want to think about flood lighting rather than investing in a number of individual lights.
  • Don't forget the neighbours. Safety and security lighting offers real peace of mind, but your lighting may be a little too close for comfort as far as your neighbours are concerned. Keep everybody happy by carefully considering the type of outdoor lighting you choose, and their position.
  • Plan the position of new light switches. Outdoor switches should be sheltered from the rain. So bear this in mind if you're planning to install a new light fitting.

Types of outdoor lighting

We've got a fantastic range of outdoor lighting to brighten up any gloomy garden. There are lots of options, but here are the main types of outdoor lighting for you to choose from.

  • Wall lights

    Create a warm welcome for visitors or light up dark passages.

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  • Path, drive or patio lighting

    Floodlight or post lights will make these areas safer to navigate as well as creating an inviting atmosphere.

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  • Decking lights

    Enjoy your decking area long after the sun goes down.

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  • Spotlights

    These help create a little drama and can also highlight features of your garden, such as plants and water features.

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  • Stick, spike or post lights

    These are placed into the ground, such as the lawn, and can be moved around as needed.

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  • Security lighting

    Choose from automatically activated or constant light to keep intruders at bay.

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  • Solar lighting

    Save energy as well as money with this option. Solar lighting stores energy from the sun during the day and switches on at night. String solar lights look spectacular draped around tree branches.

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Top tips for outdoor lighting

  • For a really focussed light in your garden, fix deck lights into your deck floor and posts. But remember to position them carefully so they don't glare. An alternative option is to choose adjustable deck lights.
  • If you're opting for a floodlight, choose one with wide beams and fit at least two metres off the ground for maximum effect.
  • Spotlights will help focus attention on a favourite feature in your garden. It will also distract from parts of the garden you’re not so proud of!
  • Security lights with passive infrared (PIR), will come on automatically when activated by heat or movement. But a stand alone detector can be fitted to a number of lights around your home. Mount your detectors and lights at least 2 metres from the ground to keep them out of reach.
  • Place lighting near water to create amazing reflections.
  • Solar and mains powered string lighting threaded through patios, trellis, trees and gazebos is a simple way to create a pretty effect.

Frequently asked questions regarding outdoor lighting

What lightbulb do I need?
We'll have the right bulb for every light in-store. Check the packaging to see which kind you need; sometimes the light fitting may include the bulb.
Which type of fitting do I need?
There are two fitting types - Bayonet Cap (BC) which the bulb is simply pushed into, and Edison Screw (ES).
What does IP rating mean?
All outdoor lighting is IP (Ingress Protection) rated. Put simply, the higher the number, the harder wearing the light will be in terms of water resistance & toughness. For further information please refer to manufacturer guidelines.
Which wattage is best?
60 watts is appropriate for outdoor lighting.

Safety

Outdoor lights that run at mains voltage must be powered using steel-wire-armoured cable (SWA), buried at a minimum depth of 450mm. Low voltage systems take their power via a transformer which steps down the electrical supply to a very low voltage. This means that even if you cut through a low voltage cable accidentally, there's no risk of electrocution. Even so, it's generally better to run them in protective conduit and bury them to avoid tripping or accidental damage.

If you plan to install or make changes to an outdoor power or lighting circuit, you must inform your local authority's Building Control Department first.

You don't need to be a qualified electrician to carry out basic electrical DIY. But the work must be done in accordance with the standards in the current Building and Electrical Regulations and you should consider having the work checked by a competent electrician to make sure it is safe.

All outdoor electrical fittings must be fully weatherproof and suitable for the location.

Don't leave candles unattended, and always be aware of children and pets.

Never take risks with electrical safety.