Light up your life (well, your garden anyway)

Autumn is imminent and already the air is a bit damp and slightly chilly. The leaves are turning, acorns are falling (ouch) and darkness has begun its creep towards the daytime hours. Although there have been rumours of an Indian summer headed our way, particularly with the glorious weekend just gone, I think it’s safe to say that summer is over for this year.

But that shouldn’t mean you have to abandon the garden as a place of evening enjoyment. You can extend the summer into autumn with some considered lighting.

The development of LED lighting has introduced so many different solutions for garden lighting. We are no longer limited to boring wall-fixed lights that flood the whole garden in a bright white light or more-subtle-yet-unreliable candlelight; the possibilities are now endless. We can create atmosphere and, if the space affords it, we can even use different types of lighting in different areas to create ‘zones’.  A control box with several circuits allows you to illuminate specific areas or focal points depending on the desired effect.

From left to right: An East Sussex courtyard as dusk falls; Sandstone seating with integrated spotlights; fairy lights and candlelight complement a Barlow Tyrie teak table

For example, a big party might mean you need to have all the lights (and circuits) in use at once, but a more intimate dinner party may just require a seating area to be delicately lit. You could use one circuit to uplight particular trees, a fountain or a statue – a view to be enjoyed even from inside your home – and another to add a glow to the base of a wall around your patio.

From left to right: A concrete wall lit from the inside and the outside; Recessed lights give a wall a wash of warm light; Bright white rope lighting

Recessed lights can be discreetly placed to highlight the edge of a patio or raised deck, while rope lighting dropped in a slot between a wall and deck gives a lovely continuous line of light. Integrated lights can be placed in walls and steps and along paths and driveways to safely and stylishly light the way.

From left to right: Bollard lights edge a driveway in Mayfield, East Sussex; Steplighting in a Kent garden; Recessed step lights in the front garden of our BALI award winning project in Tunbridge Wells

Lighting in or around a swimming pool or other water feature creates a feeling of tranquility.

Uplighting and crosslighting can be used to emphasize particular trees, statues or other objects and make a dramatic impact, while spike spotlights in beds and borders add depth and create interest.

Uplighting, cross lighting and accent lighting create focal points

Just remember that, while it’s important to have enough light to create a lovely ambience, there’ll no doubt be times when you want to just kick back and admire the stars and too much light can take away from the experience. Low-level lighting is the best way to ensure a beautiful night-sky view.

Please visit the Garden Lighting portfolio on our website to see more lighting installations completed by Sandstone. We would be de-lighted (sorry) to discuss any ideas you may have for your own garden. Just call us on 01892 668404  or email

As we’re on our way to even chillier evenings (but hopefully lots of dry ones) look out for our next installment on garden heating ideas!