Too often garden lighting is an afterthought. Once the plants are in and the lawn is down, many of us turn our attention to the interior of our homes and forget all about outdoor lighting. But with a little bit of thought and planning, even the most mundane garden can be transformed into a magical space after dark.
With the right lighting, you can set the mood, tone and ambience in your garden just the way you want it. Garden lights can also be used to highlight certain features in your garden or create a focal point.
The best mains powered garden lights are a great option for garden lighting because they are generally more reliable and longer-lasting than battery operated lights. They also tend to be brighter, so if you want to really make a statement with your garden lighting, mains powered lights are the way to go.
There are many different types of mains powered outdoor lights available on the market, so it’s essential to do your research and find the right ones for your needs.
The benefits of using the best mains powered garden lights vs solar
This is not a case of one is good and one is bad. Each has benefits and drawbacks, so it really depends on your needs as to which is the best option for you.
Look fantastic: Mains powered outdoor lights look really great. This is because the technology has improved so much in recent years and there are now some really stylish options available.
The light levels you want: Mains powered outdoor lights are typically much brighter than solar lights. So, if you want to make a real impact with your lighting, this could be the way to go.
Not dependent on recent sunshine – therefore more reliable: One of the issues with solar lights is that they need daylight to charge up. This means that if you have a particularly shady garden, or live in an area with little sunlight, or the sun hasn’t shined much recently they may not work as well as you hoped. Mains powered outdoor lights are not affected by this as they get their power supply from the mains electricity. A number of the best outdoor security lights on our list are mains powered.
Can control when they turn on and off, their brightness, and even colours remotely: One of the great things about outdoor lights with a mains power source is that you can often control them remotely or with home automation or sensors. This means you can set them to turn on when you get home from work, or change their colours or brightness depending on the time of day your mood or the occasion.
Garden Lights we recommend for creating different lighting effects
Garden lights can be used in lots of different ways to create different effects. Here are some ideas and product recommendations for lighting your outdoor space.
To create a focal point Use outdoor lights to highlight a certain feature in your garden such as a water feature, statue or tree. By installing some downlights, you can really make it stand out.
Festoon lights / String lights / Fairy lights
These look amazing hung across your patio space or from trees or pergolas and are a great way to add some light and atmosphere to your garden. They can be wrapped around trees, fences or pergolas.
32 x 1W / 107FT
String / Festoon LED Lights
Waterproof Globe String Lights 15M 120 Coloured LED
Firefly Effect 160 Light LED Fairy Lights
Micro 400 Light LED Fairy Lights
Copper Starburst Chain
Pro Connect Connectable String Lights
These can be used to highlight certain features or create a more dramatic look in your garden. You could light trees, water features, sculptures, plants, buildings, the list goes on
6 Ecowho Warm White Spotlights
3 x 1W LED Ebony Garden Outdoor Spotlight Kit 50lm
Alegre Garden 1 Light Spot Light (Set of 2)
They can be used to illuminate large areas of your outdoor space, but one of the most effective ways to use a floodlight is to illuminate trees. Have a look at this excellent blog article for how to illuminate trees
For best results, bounce the light off something, such as a tree or a wall as opposed to pointing the floodlight at an area, and especially try to avoid the situation where people could inadvertently look back at the floodlight.
Jayool LED Floodlight
Novostella 25W Wifi Controlled LED Floodlight
Govee Flood Lights – 4 Pack Smart WiFi App Controled
Wall mounted lamps / wall lanterns
These are a great way to add some light without taking up too much space. There are lots of different designs available, so you can find something to suit your style.
Ebony Lantern Wall Light
Finsbury Outdoor Wall Light
Cate Exterior Wall Lantern in Brown/Black
Ebony Lantern Wall Light
Aden 2 Light Steel Outdoor Wall Light
Meja IP54 LED wall light
Decorative garden lighting / Theme lights
You can have great fun with these – they can be used to add some fun and personality, if not a talking point to your garden.
Outdoor Black Monkey Lights
Designer wall light Moo
Alien M easy outdoor terrace light
These are a great way to add some sparkle to your garden and can be hung from fences, trees or pergolas.
Core Connect 2m x 2m 192 Warm White Connectable Curtain Lights
Curtain Sputnik Light
LED Curtain Lights 306 LED
Pendant Lights / Hanging lights
You can add light and style to your outdoor eating area with these hanging lights which are perfect for illuminating your garden party.
Portree Pendant Exterior IP44 Solid Brass Light
Grey Lantern Outdoor Pendant Light
Ashland Bay 5 Light Outdoor Chandelier Pendant in Weathered Zinc
If you have a path leading through your garden, you can light the way. This is especially important if the garden path is made of stone or other material which can be slippery when wet.
Vogue Edenton Outdoor Post Light 45cm
Annika 30 cm Aluminium LED Pillar Light
Philips Hue WACA Nyro LED pillar light black
Safety If you have stairs or steps in your garden, it’s a good idea to use some form of lighting to make them more visible and prevent people from tripping.
Plant lights are a great way to show off your plants and flowers. They can also be used to create different lighting effects in your garden.
Safety precautions you should take
The addition of any permanent outdoor lighting should be carried out by a qualified electrician who will ensure that the installation is safe and meets all relevant safety standards. The power supply must be on a circuit which can detect a fault and trip if there is an earth leakage. All outdoor lights should be IP (ingress protection) rated to IP44 at the very least, and we recommend IP65 (the higher the two digits the better. An X indicates no rating and you should assume 0) to ensure they are suitable for use in all weather conditions.
When choosing your outdoor lights, make sure you select a product which is designed for use outdoors and can withstand all weather conditions.
Top tips for garden lights in your garden
Here are our top tips for garden lights:
- Choose the right type of light for the job. There is a wide range of outdoor lights available, so make sure you choose the right one for the job.
- Make sure you get a qualified electrician to do the installation. This will ensure that it is safe and meets all relevant safety standards.
- Use IP44 (or higher) rated lights to make sure they are suitable for use in all weather conditions.
- Avoid halogen bulbs as they are not at all energy efficient and can get very hot. Instead, use LED bulbs as they are far more energy-efficient and don’t get as hot.
- For decorative and mood lighting, use colour temperatures no higher than 5000K as anything higher will appear bluish and may not be very flattering.
- Choose a light which is designed for outdoor use and is weather resistant in all conditions.
- Think about where you want to position the light and what you want to achieve with it. This will help you choose the right type of light.
- Take into account any safety concerns when choosing your lights and position them accordingly.
- Illuminate steps, trip hazards and your garden path.
- Have fun with it! There are many different types of lights available, so you can really get creative with your lighting.
What are the best outdoor lights to buy?
When it comes to outdoor lighting, you have a lot of different options to choose from. The best type of light for you will depend on what you want to use it for. If you’re looking for decorative lighting, then fairy lights or curtain lights might be a good option. If you’re looking for functional lighting to light up a path or stairs, then wall lights or plant lights might be a better option.
Have a look at our list of best outdoor lights to get some inspiration
What is the difference between IP44 and IP65?
IP44 is the bare minimum ingress protection rating for outdoor lights, and it means that the light has at least some protection from dust and water.
If you do use IP44 lights, we suggest you take them down after use and allow them to fully dry out.
IP65 is a higher ingress protection rating, and it means that the light is protected from dust, water, and low pressure jets of water.
We only recommend IP65 or higher for permanent outdoor lighting
Are LED lights better for outside?
LED lights are a great option for outdoor lighting because they are energy efficient and don’t get as hot as halogen bulbs.
Additionally, LED lights are available in a wide range of different styles, so you can find the perfect one to suit your needs. However, it’s important to note that not all LED lights are created equal. Some LED lights are designed for indoor use, and others are designed for outdoor use. Make sure you choose an outdoor LED light to get the best results.
How do you light an outdoor patio?
There are a few things to consider when lighting an outdoor patio. First, you need to decide what type of light you want to use. There are a lot of different options available. You could use string lights across the patio for a festive look, or you could use a pendant light to provide more functional lighting. If you have plants on the patio, you could also use plant lights to accentuate them or use the plants to hide spot lights. LED lights do not get as hot as traditional bulbs, so they should not pose a threat to your plants.
How do you dress an outside tree with lights?
Wrapping LED string lights around the trunk of a tree is a great way to add some gentle but attractive light in an area that might otherwise be quite difficult to light. It’s a simple and easy way to add some extra light without having to put in a lot of effort.
How do you light a large outdoor tree?
If you want to light a large outdoor tree, you have a few different options. You could use string lights, spotlights, or floodlights. String lights are a great option if you want to create a festive or romantic atmosphere. Spotlights and floodlights are better for providing functional lighting. You’ll need to experiment to see what works best for your tree and your specific needs.