Top tips for a successful lighting scheme
With winter in full swing and Christmas done with, there is no better time to consider the benefits of a great lighting scheme. We’ve listed some ‘top tips’ below to keep in mind when planning your next lighting scheme.
Not so long ago a lighting system would often start with trenching armoured cable around the garden looping into junctions boxes (JB’s) and then to mains (240v); feeding halogen light fittings that are far from environmentally friendly and would be rather hot to touch in no time - not to mention the headache of lamps blowing. However with the constant development of LED’s we can become much more environmentally friendly amongst many other benefits. LED's are without a doubt the only way to go!
(source for the above table)
LED Colour or temperature (kelvin)
Ensuring all of your LED’s are the same colour is key to a good looking consistent lighting scheme as mixing colours in my opinion is tricky to make look good. 99% of the lights we sell are warm white, usually between 2700K - 3000K.
As with most things it’s important to plan your scheme as early as possible. A simple conduit plan is a must and will always pay off once installing as the last thing you want is to lift hard materials to lay cables.
Less is more!
There is often a temptation to add more or higher output fittings, however a good lighting scheme often doesn’t need this - if in doubt ask for sample fittings so that you can see for yourself and remember you can always add more at a later date.
We’re often asked what to consider when planning a lighting scheme; the first question should always be: How will the space be used?
Are there any steps or other safety aspects that would benefit from lighting or any areas that need practical lighting?
Once the practical/safety elements are taken care of you can move onto the fun, good looking stuff. What you don’t want to do is to compromise the aesthetic lighting because of the functional lighting and that is when simple zones from a wireless controller can make all the difference!
Quality and function over price
From time to time we’re all guilty of presuming that the most expensive must be the best, however this is not always the case. Price can often be a good guide but with outdoor lighting it’s much more important that the fitting is ‘fit for purpose’. A good starting point is to check the IP (ingress protection) rating of the fitting, for example an IP68 fitting is submersible however an IP44 fitting is only protected again splashing water. As always, if in doubt just just ask.
The Ugly Stuff
A common misconception is that a failed outdoor lighting system is down to the light fitting, as often (if the fitting is fit for purpose) it’s down to the infrastructure behind the fitting that can then cause the system to fail. Likewise even the best quality fittings will not withstand a substandard infrastructure. We’ve listed a few simple points below that can help ensure your system works for years to come.
Waterproof connections: We always suggest adhesive lined heat-shrink tube and potted/gel filled connections to keep any moisture out of connections.
Conduit: Not only will a good conduit plan make installation much easier but we also recommend it to protect your low voltage cables from any damage.
Outdoor power supplies/transformers: Make sure that your power supplies (drivers) or transformers are fit for outdoor use as if not, they are guaranteed to cause issues before long. We always suggest potted (resin filled) IP67 units.
Cable Length: It's always important to know the cable distances of your system as trying to run too far on the low voltage side of a transformer could result in voltage drop and therefore flickering lights. Voltage drop is less of an issue with a constant current system as they generally start with higher voltage but it's always best to check. Our rule of thumb is usually 10m for a 12v transformer and 50m form a constant current power supply.
Hopefully our 'top tips' help and have you thinking how you can plan your next great lighting system! The world of Outdoor Lighting is forever developing so make sure you've agreed to receive our quarterly new product updates and invites to our training sessions. If in any doubt please feel free to send over a plan or give our team a call, we'll happily talk over a system or ideas with you.