Adding sparkle to your garden with outdoor lighting
Changing outdoor lighting is one of the fastest, cheapest and easiest ways to make a difference to the look and ambience of your garden. And if you already have outdoor lighting installed, you can often achieve a completely new look simply by changing the cover plates on your existing lights.
Use outdoor lights to highlight textures, define pathways, courtyard edges and entertaining areas or to gently highlight water features and sculptural elements.
Solar lighting in the garden
For a fast makeover, consider solar lights in the garden, which require no wiring and can be moved around to suit seasonal changes and entertaining spaces and occasions.
The photo cells in solar lights automatically turn on at dusk and will continuously illuminate your outdoor areas for up to ten hours. These low maintenance outdoor lights house a rechargeable solar battery that must be fully charged by exposure to sunlight before you switch them on.
Choice magazine found that there was little difference in the performance of solar lights based on price or the number of batteries (in fact their best performer was one of the cheaper ones from a department store). You are paying, they say, for better design and materials as the price goes up, rather than raw functionality.
Electric outdoor lighting
Solar lights are at their best for creating mood lighting. If you need brighter outdoor lights (for uneven pathways, etc), look at a 12 volt system, where a transformer plugs into a normal powerpoint, making installation an easy job for the home handyperson.
When choosing a 12 volt system, make sure the transformer is big enough to run as many outdoor lights as you need. As a general rule, the distance you can run the lights from the transformer is dependent on the impedance of the cable (the heavier the cable, the longer the distance).
Favourites like fairy and outdoor party lights come in a vast array of designs, and make a perfect addition for special occasions.