By Harriet Birungi
The sun is up, shinning its worst. And for most, the heat that lingers on after the sun has set is better dealt with by
spending some extra time in their gardens. But the issue of garden lighting still proves a challenge.
“I have children between the ages of two and 12 years. These play a lot and even in the evening, they still want to stay outdoors longer.” “I understand their dilemma as the bedrooms are in the direction of where the sun sets and everywhere, including the walls, get hot.” “I want to ensure that the lawn is well lit so that they can enjoy the outdoors longer. But I have been told to think of long-tubes for source of light; that they light bigger areas and are cheaper.”
“However, I am not comfortable installing them, I need more information on how I can light up my lawn and escape the evening heat,” said Khadijah, a concerned parent. Choosing garden lights Grace Kabatangare Ntare, a landscape designer with Africa Trends Limited, says for a home owner to enjoy their garden after dark, they should invest in good light. Think of water resistant outdoor lights as you look for garden lights.
Choose lights that are made of strong glass to withstand any weather changes. Such lights are cut from materials that cannot easily rust as well as strong enough to stand on their own wherever they are placed. The lights should not be glaring (over bright) to hurt the eyes. Kabatangare recommends Led lights. She says they are durable and yet do not consume a lot of power.
They work well as recessed lights, highlighting steps and changes in level on in the garden or around the house and terrace. They also highlight any features outdoors and when teamed with other lights for instance up the tree, or in bushes, they create a pleasing sight.
A home owner should remember that garden lighting enhances security as well. Take for instance the outdoor lights placed in bushes, flower beds, up the tree, which may be ornamentals, but because of their illumination, no thief or anybody with intentions of doing harm to the family will hide there. She adds that there are a variety of lights to choose from depending on one’s taste.
There are fibre glass, metallic finishes, plastic, ceramic, name it. What one will settle for varies with taste and preferences.
As you choose, you should consider durability, style and place where they are to be placed, according to Kabatangare. She says where you are going to place the light determines what to buy.
Garden lights can be put on the edges of perimeter walls, ground mounted, wired and placed up in trees, between plants and anywhere you want illuminated. Wiring for garden lights Ronal Ntenge, an engineer with Bucon Construction, says one should have a plan of what the lighting cables will follow. Without it, chances of the cables getting cut will be high. And that has detrimental consequences; people may get electric shocks. Follow a clear map and for each cable before it is laid, ensure it is insulated.
Cables should not be seen according to Kabatangare. She adds that it is better to wire your garden at the same time as your house, and particularly before lawn is planted. And in case there is going to be any water features dug, a clear pattern should be provided. Places where lines are passing should be marked and protected, and in future when you want put water feature somewhere you know a cable was laid here easily without first digging up the lawn and plants. “Wiring at the time the house is wired helps you not do double work since you will do it once,” she explains.
As you lay cables, insulate them so they are not affected by heat, water and so you can plant grass on top. Maintenance
The way you maintain your garden lights is influenced by what kind of lights your chose explains Kabatangare. If they are strong lights, with firm stands, changing of bulbs should be the main concern.
Have your lights near a sitting area so people may see what is under where they are seated or near a garden feature; sculpture, along walk-ways, flower bushes or any corner that you want to be the focal point. Light looks best when contrasted with dark, so the play of light and shadow is one way of creating dramatic effect.