Harnessing the sun: 6 stunning ways to illuminate the night with sustainable outdoor light - Lighting Design NZ
Harnessing the sun: 6 stunning ways to illuminate the night with sustainable outdoor light

Harnessing the sun: 6 stunning ways to illuminate the night with sustainable outdoor light

Energy-efficient bulbs and solar lights make outdoor lighting more sustainable and eco-friendly than ever before.

Words by ArchiPro Editorial Team

Nothing makes a garden come alive at night like outdoor lighting. But with sustainability and eco-friendliness an ever more relevant part of the design process, it’s equally important that outdoor lighting is as energy-efficient as it is aesthetically pleasing.

Spoiler: energy efficient bulbs are the answer

The secret behind eco-friendly outdoor lighting is pretty simple: always use energy efficient or solar light bulbs.

Both LED and compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) bulbs require less energy per lumen to run than incandescent light bulbs, and their lifetimes can be as much as six times longer.

Solar-powered lights take energy efficiency to another level, using only energy drawn from the sun to illuminate the night, and they’re more powerful than ever - often hard to distinguish from their traditionally-powered counterparts.  

Here are six stunning ways to use eco-friendly lights and illuminate your outdoor space in style.

1. Water lighting

Whether it’s in a pool or a fountain, light streaming through water always looks amazing at night.

When waterproof lights are positioned correctly in fountains, the light refracts inside the flow of water, making the entire stream glow. It’s an intoxicating effect, and with energy efficient LED lights it’s one that doesn’t have to come with an enormous power bill.

A similar effect can be created in a pool using coloured LEDs. With a few smartly-placed lights, the entire pool can glow with whatever hue of light you choose.

Coloured lighting can make a pool glow with stylish energy.

2. Downlighting

If you’re going for general ambient light, downlighting is the way to do it outdoors. When positioned up high, on a patio or louvre roof, a few powerful downlights can brighten a space quickly and effectively.

Downlights can be used in more subtle ways too. A vine-covered archway laced with LED strip lights and a few solar downlights can be a magical feature piece in a garden. 

3. Path lighting

Garden pathways can draw interesting lines through a backyard, but those lines get lost under the blanket of darkness.

Keep your path illuminated with a set of solar lights. Path lighting is a perfect use case for solar, because they don’t need to be switched on or connected to mains power; plant a line of solar lights alongside your path and they’ll turn on when needed, using the power they’ve stored during the day.

4. Uplighting

Uplighting is opposite of downlighting; instead of lighting from above, the fixture is set down low and points upwards.

An effective uplighting technique is to highlight trees. The way light plays off the bark and leaves from the bottom can dramatize the shapes and create interesting contrasts of colours, capturing vivid green hues only visible at night.

Make the trees in your backyard stand out with uplighting.

5. Feature lighting

An alternative to highlighting a feature element of the garden is to make a light itself the feature.

Take, for example, the Alien Outdoor lamp by Next. When fitted with a low-wattage LED bulb, this lamp can be an energy-efficient eye-catcher while also bathing nearby flowerbeds in a warm glow.

Lighting doesn't always have to play second fiddle; it can be a feature piece on its own.

6. Lighting Automation

You can have all the solar and low-energy bulbs in the world and still waste a lot of power if your garden is lit up while you’re asleep. Lighting automation is an effective way to keep the lights on only when you need them.

Beyond the benefits for energy usage, some automation systems allow for programmes to be set where the colour and intensity for all connected lights can be selected. Once the programmes are set, they can be recalled whenever needed — perfect outdoor lighting for any mood, at the touch of a button.

Find the latest outdoor lights or connect with a lighting designer and take your outdoor scheme to the next level.

Top banner image credit: Inlite

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