Garden lighting: decorative and functional
Light at night is a comfortable movement around the yard and garden. It creates a cozy and romantic atmosphere in the recreation areas, and competent lighting of the garden will turn it into a fairy-tale kingdom.
But light is primarily electricity, the consumption of which is limited by the capabilities of the transformer and your budget. That is, when planning the illumination of the site, first of all, it must be made functional and economical, and after that, pay attention to the decorative part.
FUNCTIONAL AREAS LIGHTING
Nobody argues about the aesthetic side of the issue: the range of lamps in a protected case is amazing. These are wall, floor and ceiling instances that require a power source.
The important thing is where to place them and what type of lamps to choose, so that it would be safe to walk around the yard and the energy consumption was minimal.
The shape and size of each yard cannot be summed up under one denominator, therefore the choice of lighting devices is always individual. But there are places where the light must be necessarily.
! Lighting the entrance to the yard (gates, gates) is your protection against injuries and security from unauthorized intrusion. The intensity of light in this zone is chosen moderate.
! The lamps should shine near the porch and the front door, and so that shadows do not form on the steps, otherwise you can stumble and fall when descending (side lighting is optimal).
Here you can set the average intensity of evening lighting and additional bright light for the moments when you need to open and close the door with a key.
! It is important to highlight the main path from the gate to the porch, especially if tall trees grow on the side. Here the beam of light must fall from top to bottom, and not vice versa. Light intensity is set to low.
! It is necessary to make visible outbuildings and the approach to them. This technique will ensure the safety of the content. The intensity of the light must be sufficient to see what is happening around them.
It is customary to combine such local lighting with perimeter lighting, and if the latter is usually on constantly during the night, then the local light is turned on only as needed.
There are several ways to turn the light on and off: manually by installing a relay on the switch and using infrared sensors.
With manual lighting control, switches are installed at all points inside the house, and the porch-path-house line is turned on at the entrance to the yard. It works like this:
- leaving the house in the evening, you turn on the lighting around the perimeter and illuminate the way to the exit;
- having closed the doors, before leaving the gate, you turn off the local light with one movement, and the perimeter will act as general lighting;
- when you return home, you turn on the light on the way to the house, and turn it off only when you enter the room.
Lighting of outbuildings is best controlled from the house and switches located inside them.
Motion sensors will help replace manual activation. There will be no need to flip the switch: as soon as the door or gate opens and movement around the yard begins, the infrared device will work and turn on the desired lamp.
The sensitivity of the sensors can be adjusted, so fears about cats and dogs in the yard are in vain. With a well-adjusted adjustment, you can exclude them from the «list of incoming».
And for general illumination of the perimeter, the installation of an automatic relay is suitable. It works as soon as it starts to get dark, including the necessary lighting, and extinguishes it in the morning.
The choice of the type of lamps for functional lighting of the yard and garden will be discussed later.
DECORATIVE LIGHTING OF THE AREA
Light on the site is not only a necessity caused by security, but also a luxurious element of decorating the yard, garden and building facade.
The complexity of decorative lighting lies in its design solution: the compatibility of the style of the lamp and its location.
There are no clear requirements for the level of illumination — the main thing is to highlight the decorative element with a light beam or a scattering of small light bulbs.
A garden bench can be lit with a garland of small lamps (LED tape will look cold and uncomfortable), wrapped around a nearby deciduous tree and hanging from the branches in places.
Lanterns are hung on a tree by wrapping an electric cable in a thick winding around a branch or trunk (without fanaticism). The other end of the cable is connected to the wiring (read later in the article).
Ground lamps-balls with matte shades look luxurious and modern. Their light will not hurt the eyes and favorably illuminate the surrounding area.
To illuminate the water surface, floating and underwater lamps are suitable, built into the bottom of the pond even at the stage of its laying. Water gratefully accepts the color change, so you can safely experiment with the evening coloring of the surface of the pond.
In my opinion, floating lamps most effectively illuminate the calm expanse of the pond.
Underwater lighting is especially good at illuminating a waterfall. It is directed from bottom to top along the line of falling water or behind a water screen.
The pool or bathing pond is illuminated so that its edges (outdoor lighting) and the bottom of the reservoir (underwater lights) are clearly visible.
You can entrust the installation of such lighting only to specialists involved in this type of activity.
A separate story is the lighting of plants. There is no point in singling out each. In the garden, several of the most spectacular trees, shrubs, tall grasses are selected and illuminated from below.
The easiest way is to illuminate the garden paths: ceiling lamps on the posts will look beautiful and natural in this role, they are made either from frosted glass, or they direct the light down so as not to blind the eyes. Patios and terraces are decorated with the same lamps.
Solar-powered lamps will help to avoid electrical work in the garden — their light is not bright, but sufficient for decorative purposes.
Small lamps with low power scattered around the garden look charming, tearing fragments of a mixborder from the paws of darkness, garden sculptures, stone placers.
It goes without saying that only street lamps in a waterproof case are suitable for outdoor lighting. Any initiative in this regard is punishable by accidents.
Incandescent lamps have long passed into the category of endangered specimens, since their use is completely uneconomical.
The best indicators of rationality for LED (light-emitting diode) lamps. Despite their high cost, they are the lowest energy-consuming and practically eternal (11-15 years of operation — such an indicator cannot but cause respect).
Here you should choose the goods of proven manufacturers, boldly giving a guarantee of at least five years.
LED tapes are hidden under the lower part of benches, gazebos, road decking. When the light is turned on, the effect of soaring and weightlessness of the structure appears.
If LEDs seem expensive to you, opt for less economical, but optimally priced compact fluorescent lamps. Their place is where there are doors and a very good degree of illumination is required.
But halogen lamps have reflectors, which is only appropriate when illuminating the porch, steps, facade and tall objects — where you need to give a long light beam.
Avoid placing lamps with reflectors around the perimeter of the site, especially if their light can be directed into the eyes. You are not guarding a food warehouse, but decorating your beloved yard with light!
The convenience of solar-powered lamps has already been described above, but they have another indisputable advantage — you do not need complex verified calculations for the power supply location.
You can improvise with their location as long as you like until you find the best placements. By the way, this is a great tool for learning the tricks of light decoration. Minus — fragility.
This part of the article is devoted to a superficial acquaintance with the power supply, so that you are aware of what work you have to do in terms of scale and costs, but installation can be entrusted only to professionals with a permit.
So, the supply of electricity on the site can be ground and underground. In the first case, it is mandatory to hide it in an insulated and impact-resistant box and lead it to those places where walking is excluded.
An underground wire is the most optimal solution, since the wiring is securely hidden to a depth of 70 to 100 cm into the ground or 45 cm under coated paths. Here, in addition to a specialized cable, a corrugated sleeve is used to protect against mechanical damage, the details of which are hermetically soldered together.
From the wiring there are taps to light sources and street sockets (for connecting lawn mowers, garlands and portable lamps). All electrical equipment is highly specialized and is many times more expensive.
In addition to lighting elements, the network will be loaded by the operation of a water pump, an electric lawn mower, a brush cutter, other «assistant» gardeners, as well as electrical appliances in the summer kitchen.
So if you are a fan of beautiful light, then you should think about the location and the possible amount of energy consumption even at the stage of connecting the house to the power supply (in terms of permits) and before laying lawns, paths and recreation areas.
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