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Brilliant Ways to Illuminate Your Outdoor Space

Brighten up the view on dark winter evenings with some creative garden lighting

At this time of year, with the shortest day fast approaching, outside space is often ignored. But with a creative lighting scheme, you can cut through the darkness and enjoy the view of your garden into the evening. From simple uplighters to decking installations, there are lots of lighting ideas that will add an extra element of interest to your home. Check out these schemes.

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Lead on
If you have a path going up the garden, follow its flow and light the way with simple LED spike fittings. Putting the lights in among the foliage illuminates the leaves, as well as leading the eye through the space.

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Prick out a design
Lights cut into decking are commonplace, but these twinkling pinpricks, forming a sinuous line, take the idea to the next level.

Consult an electrician about the best way to install under-decking lights like these, then let your imagination run free for the design, from a simple wavy line like like this to symbols, initials – or even a word spelt out.

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Widen horizons
The gardens of many British houses are similar to this, with a lawn in the centre and borders on either side. Adding lights to the beds creates wonderful shadows against the planting, and also helps to make the garden feel wider, as the eye is drawn to the edges – a useful device in a narrow plot.

Keep garden hedges under control with this guide

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Focus on a feature
Not much greenery on show in your garden? Pick another feature to illuminate instead. This contemporary-style fence comes alive at night due to the strip lighting shining through the slats at the bottom. Something like this would work well on a balcony in a flat, too.

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Try tree lights
For a dramatic, architectural look, try lighting the base of a tree – or, as here, several trees. Angling adjustable lights to shine up the trunks of the trees creates an ethereal effect, as the light catches the branches.

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Soften the glow
For some people, modern LEDs can look a little harsh, whereas multi-coloured lights can veer into ‘novelty’ territory. If that’s the case, hunt around for a softer alternative, like these mottled globes that emit a warm, peachy light.

Now’s a good time of year to shop around for lights, as lots of the DIY shops will have their seasonal ranges in store.

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Keep them up
Many homes bling it up at Christmas time, but there’s no reason to pack the fairy lights away after the big day. Instead of stringing the bulbs in a line on the house, try lighting up a bush with a cluster of white lights that can be seen from inside. Then, if you like the effect, you could leave them up all year round.

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Illuminate one area
For real drama, focus all the light on one part of the garden. An ornamental tree with a wide canopy, like this acer, really catches the beams from the light source at its base. This simple-to-achieve idea is also less expensive than installing a lighting scheme for the whole garden.

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Improve your outlook
Even an ordinary outside wall can be transformed with clever lighting. Simple recessed uplighters throw interesting shadows onto this board-formed concrete wall, highlighting the woodgrain imprint while also providing useful lighting along the path to the door.

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Hang from a tree
Another, less permanent solution is to add some hanging lanterns to a tree. There are lots of styles available, from LEDs to solar. These would be a good idea if you live in a rented property, as there’s no need install any electric cables outside.

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Don’t forget the front
When you’re thinking about lighting, consider the architecture of your home, and the best way to complement it. In this period property, a wash of light from the ground illuminates the imposing brick pillars on either side of the front door…

Fancy a new look for your front door? See if any of these colours catch your eye

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…whereas on this modern house, a simply styled wall lamp throws a wash of light over the whole external porch area.

Using motion-sensor lighting is a good option when lighting externally, as it saves energy and offers home security.

Do you have any brilliant lighting suggestions? Share your ideas in the Comments section.

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