Outdoor lighting guide
As we’re reunited in our outdoor spaces, make sure evenings with friends and family are suitably illuminated.
Whether you have a back garden or a balcony, outdoor lighting holds the key to creating an idyllic outdoor retreat.
Great lighting is not just fundamental to your home’s interior, it is the easiest way to transform your outdoor spaces too. Allowing you to extend your evenings, create an inviting ambience and zone your outdoor spaces - good garden lighting is invaluable. We take you through some of the things to consider when investing in outdoor lighting for your garden.
The technical bit
The very first thing to look out for when choosing outdoor lighting is the IP rating. Ingress Protection ratings measure the degree of protection a light has against both particles and water. Generally speaking, the higher the IP rating, the more protected your light is and lights that are to be used outdoors need a high IP rating for safe use.
The IP rating is split into two parts – the first digit relates to the ingress of particles and ranges from 0 (no protection) to 6 (dust-tight). The second digit refers to the ingress of moisture and ranges from 0 (no protection) to 8 (protection from complete submersion under pressure). Look out for ratings of IP44 or above for splash-proof outdoor lighting, and IP65+ for the best protection against water. Some IP20 rated lights can be suitable for short-term use outdoors, but don’t forget to bring them inside if it rains and at the end of the day.
Also remember - when installing outdoor lighting, all wiring must be protected, and all metalwork earthed. Plus, where possible, switches must be located indoors.
Our top tip: layer your lighting
If you approach lighting your outdoor spaces the same way as you would your indoor spaces - you can’t go wrong. As in your interiors, we recommend layering three types of light in your garden: ambient, task and decorative. This will ensure you get the perfect ambience, with direct light where you need it most.
Consider what the needs of your outdoor space are. Do you need to light up a long pathway, provide a glow for outdoor dining, or both? Take time to work out what outdoor lighting you need before you invest, and always err on the side of caution. It’s much easier to add more lighting than take it away!
A great way to provide your outdoor area with an even, comfortable glow - outdoor ambient lighting is usually created with a pendant, floor lamp or wall light. These kinds of lighting illuminate a wide area without glare and are perfect for lighting up gathering spaces, dining areas and lounge spots.
Perhaps one of the largest choice categories for outdoor lighting, task lighting helps to create mood and light up any potential outdoor hazards. Bollard lights are great for illuminating pathways, wall lights create ambience by turning your home into a focal point and floor lamps are the perfect choice for a relaxing nook.
The most flexible and adaptable form of outdoor task lighting however is the portable table lamp. Cordless, rechargeable, LED lighting that can be placed where you need it most, portable table lamps offer light without limits. For more information on portable table lamps – discover our top 12 designs in the Nest journal.
Both ambient and task lights can be decorative – this kind of lighting is all about style and creating visual interest. Once you have the basics covered, you can think about where to focus on decorative lighting to provide that ‘wow’ factor. Your decorative lighting choices should be driven by your personal style and don’t be scared to go bold!
Thinking about adding lighting to your own outdoor space? Shop our curated selection of products below and take a look at our Pinterest board for more ideas. Give your garden a lighting scheme as layered as your living rooms with our collection of outdoor pendants, floor lamps and table lamps - discover the full collection here.