Q & A with Rocky on Garden & Exterior Lighting

The right lighting in the garden can create the perfect mood, highlight features such as trees, shrubs and bedding and provide functional lighting in terms of illumination.

Wink Lighting designer Rocky Wall explains how to optimise garden lighting.

1. Why have a lighting design for a garden/exterior areas?
So that you can enjoy your garden all year round. We spend so much time indoors looking out at our gardens, I think it’s really important to try and get some type of illumination into the garden to lift it for these dark periods in the winter.
And when you’re sitting in the garden in the evening, we’d suggest lighting some feature trees and shrubs which you can see from the patio/seating area.

2. What factors do you need to take into consideration when lighting an exterior? – ,

The installation shouldn’t be finalised when the planting has just gone in, as when the plants grow and become bigger and broader, they will block out light. Therefore having flexibility with lighting in the garden is important. We would advise for the first 5 years put in your basic lighting scheme, then when the garden has matured to where it’s going to go, then do a full lighting scheme.

And the other rule of thumb the further you move away from your vantage point or visual connection, the brighter your light source should be so if you’re looking way down the garden to light a certain tree you’d have to use a much brighter light source than a shrub close outside your front window.

3. What are the problems with lighting Irish gardens?
The one big problem we see when lighting Irish gardens is water in grass. What we would always try to avoid is in-ground lighting. What happens is the product  , you’ll get seepage of water into the fitting , will corrode the fitting, damage the fitting and it will need to be replaced. It’s best to try and keep all the lighting above ground if at all possible and to be very aware of your location.
A marine environment is 5km from the sea, the salt in the air, if your product doesn’t have a corrosive marine treatment in time with ill break down

4. What type of products would you recommend for the garden
Hanging pendants in a tree can look fantastic. They give a very diffused light and because they’re a hanging pendant, there’s a certain amount of movement in them, so if it’s windy, you can observe this lovely movement of the light and shadow changes and from inside your home. Depending on what you’re trying to light you might use different tone values or a colour to illuminate different tree types. Fundamentally you’ve got bollards, poles, spike lights and then feature lights. The product that you used will be dictated by what you’re trying to light.