Now that the long dark nights are drawing in, it is the perfect time to discover how you can use light to transform your outside spaces. Our co-founder, Dan Domeniconi, is an expert at creating lighting schemes both indoors and outdoors, so we took the opportunity to ask him a few questions. Read on for some top outdoor lighting tips – it’s time to become illuminated . . .!
Why is outdoor lighting important for the home and garden in the autumn and winter months?
Outdoor lighting becomes an important functional tool during the long dark nights both for security, as well as practical reasons enabling you to clearly see where you are walking, for security or guiding where to put the key in the door.
But, light also can bring immense beauty and atmosphere to your garden, the exterior of your home or driveway. For example, a beautifully lit door can create a real sense of arrival or strategically placed lighting can bring a sense of magic and atmosphere to the darkness.
Can outdoor lighting highlight features of the garden so you can enjoy them even as the nights draw in?
Lighting is a perfect tool to bring interest and life to your garden when the nights draw in. Highlight selective planting to create sculptural shapes; create a focal point by lighting a wall, tree or garden pond; or create a magical feature by lighting up a pathway or driveway, guiding the eye as well as practically guiding you along a route.
What are the current trends in winter garden lighting, what styles and types of lighting are most popular?
A great outdoor lighting tip and key trend is using light to create a focal point – on your planting or on a simple wall or object. This instantly transforms, creating a feature and bringing beauty – a perfect reminder that it is the effect of the light, rather than just the look of the lighting fitting.
Using light to introduce the illusion of warmth to the outside space is another trend as the nights get colder. A simple lamp such as the Lenta by Davide Groppi lights up a patio or balcony creating a cosy glow that you can enjoy viewing from indoors or when you are outside. This lamp has a long cable giving flexibility on where you want to place it.
Are doorways/porches a key area to illuminate in winter?
Absolutely, this is one of the most important areas of the house to illuminate, bringing practical benefits so that you can see where to put your key as well as for security. But, the right lighting will make a stunning feature of your entrance and create a warm welcome to your home.
The Cucun lamp multi-tasks as a sculptural feature. Standing almost 2 metres tall, it works brilliantly placed on a patio or balcony area or by an entrance.
Are wall lights practical?
Using wall lights can bring very practical solutions to different areas of your outside space such as lighting up your house number or to provide task lighting for areas you might need to use at night, such as bringing in logs or taking out your recycling.
Wall lights can also be fun as well as functional -the playful Imu lamp by Davide Groppi is designed in the shape of a cute birdhouse but which brings a soft downward light.
Top picks for illuminating your garden in autumn/winter?
Some of my favourite outdoor lights are from Italian lighting designer, Davide Groppi:
For maximum effect, the telescopic Origine lamp stands almost 5 metres tall and creates a focal point in your outdoor space. Light up a wall or create a sculptural feature from a tree by using indirect light.
The Grillo spotlight offers a really practical solution to light up your planting. The lamp is on an adjustable metal spear allowing you to spotlight at different heights plus it has a long cable enabling you to easily move where you want to put your focus through the seasons.
I’m a fan of portable lighting which brings the flexibility to use it as and where you want to year round. Although not strictly an outdoor lamp, the TeTaTet is a super versatile lamp for your dining table and can be used outside when the weather is dry and the firepit is on!
Can outdoor lighting add value to your house?
Absolutely, light can add value to your home if used well. From creating an impressive sense of arrival by lighting up a driveway or front door to spotlighting character features of a building that otherwise might go unnoticed. Light is a tool that will enhance the feeling and atmosphere of your home, it is welcoming and can bring a sense of grandeur.
How can outdoor lighting create the illusion of space?
We use outdoor lighting as a tool to extend the perception of space, bringing a sense of dimension and depth. For example by placing light in the furthest corner of a garden or courtyard, your view opens up and you understand and appreciate the space. We also use light to create a three-dimensional view of space, for example by placing a light under a tree at the back.
Placing a lamp outside on your patio or courtyard, can also create the feeling of the outdoor space becoming another room when viewed through a window or sliding doors.
What are the practicalities to think about if you are redesigning your garden or renovating a house when it comes to outdoor lighting?
Garden lighting can often be a neglected area, but if you consider it as a tool that can bring both beauty and functionality just as you would your home interior, you can add another dimension to your home. Consider your garden lighting as a way to bring life to your outdoor space, just as you would your planting or features.
On a practical level you need to identify and plan where and how you will run all the electric cables, ideally at the initial planning stages so that you have power sources where you need them, rather than retro-fitting. For example if you are putting in a new pathway that you want to be lit, you’ll want to run the electric cables to a discreet underground dry box. How do you want to light your outdoor dining space and where should you place your power source? Which garden features will you want to spotlight?
And also consider how you will use light on the building itself – combine functionality and add character with a simple light over an entrance door or by spotlighting a wall or feature. You might want to illuminate your house number or light up the driveway to create a real sense of arrival, as well as a practical way for guests to find you.
A lighting designer can help you really understand the space and where to selectively place lighting to transform your outdoor space throughout the seasons. I’m a firm believer of less is more – carefully thought out and placed lighting.
Need help planning your garden lighting?
For more outdoor lighting tips, we offer a free 30 minute design consultation service – give one of our friendly team a call on +44 (0) 20 3908 5605 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
For more inspiration and outdoor lighting tips, check out our outdoor lighting collection at houseofdome.com.