Outdoor Living with Backyard Lighting
Coming into Summer everyone in the colder climes is waiting for that first perfect day to spark up the BBQ and get into the great outdoors to enjoy the warmer weather. After watching last weeks BLOCK reveals of the contestants back yards, we started to thinking - maybe we could help with a little more inspiration - and help you bring a little more delight to your backyard.
Lighting for outdoor living is completely different to lighting indoors. You don't want to be blasted with light - you want to get a sense of the entire space, and enjoy sitting in gentle light that inspires hours of conversation with friends and family.
You need to consider what your light will hit - do you have a textured wall? then it will look amazing with light grazing it - and if it's down the back of the yard, being able to see that sparkle from inside, or your alfresco - keeps your garden feeling large and welcoming, even when the sun is completely gone.
Light outside can be subtle - areas of brightness, like the wall lights Josh and Elyse used are great for defining the space, and also stopping your field of view - awesome if you want to forget you have neighbours, but remember, the same thing happens anywhere you create that effect, so if you do it too close to your alfresco area, you'll end up feeling like you're in a tiny yard, with a big black hole behind it.
Creating ambience in your garden is about the subtle application of light. Use it to highlight paths - but with strikes of light. Uplight your trees and enjoy the light that bounces off them, and moves with the wind. Big floodlights are only necessary in your yard if you're planning a footy match.
It doesn't matter if you have a large yard, or a tiny courtyard, the gentle use of light to attract your attention to the beauty you have grown (or built!) outside will enhance your Summer evenings - and here's the best bit - it transforms your home in Winter too!!
That's right - you don't have to actually be outside to enjoy your outdoor lighting. If you have big glazed doors and windows looking from your living space to your outdoor space, then turn those babies on all year round! All of a sudden your looming black windows are filled with the beauty of your garden all year round - it's the best artwork any green thumb could wish for.
Garden lighting often runs off a driver - so keep that in mind when you're planning. Somewhere you will have to find a home for all the gear that runs your lovely lights. Best bet if you're not sure? Get your electrician to run cables in conduits for lighting, that way when you figure it out, you don't have to dig up the garden!
We're not massive fans of solar lights at MINT - sure there's some great stuff out there at the top tier products, but most of the solar lighting we've seen doesn't do that much actual light. They're great if you want "sparkle' in the garden, but don't expect to see much from them.
Around the Pool
We discovered the most exciting thing recently - there is a company in Melbourne that still makes quality pool lights! Can you believe it? We were surprised too, but these guys have been doing it for years - so when it comes to your pool, do a bit of research - get the best lights you can and avoid the terrible trauma of the "light full of water" that I grew up with when halogen was the only answer.
Just like with lights in your home, there are different lights for different areas outside. Choosing the right light - and making sure it's safe - and safely installed - is the most important step in getting your garden lighting right.
And remember - electricians are the first stop for any electrical installation.
You may still need functional lighting outside - but have a careful look - you probably only really need it over the BBQ or Outdoor Kitchen. The rest of the living space outside needs theatrical lighting, light and shade, drama and intrigue - don't make the mistake of lighting it all, you'll miss out on the best bits.
And a final note - if you're a little light on budget, then hang some (IP rated water proof exterior) festoon lights across your yard. Or even fairy lights. You really can't beat the twinkle of light for bringing a festive mood to your outdoor rooms.