Think Cranborne Chase, not Chevy Chase
After recently visiting the beautiful county of Dorset, BRAND Designs Lighting Design Director Ed Goldney shares some thoughts and best practices on how to best light the outdoor space of any rural home.
“Think Cranborne Chase, not Chevy Chase”
Cranborne Chase is an area of natural beauty and is the 14th International Dark Night Sky Reserve in the world. Poor lighting installations not only inflict misery on neighbours, they also cause unnecessary light pollution and further misery on stargazers. This also has a detrimental effect to wildlife compromising their natural habitats. A common causality are Bats whose foraging and commuting corridors are affected by incorrectly and over lit outside spaces. Being a fan of stargazing myself, our lighting expertise is well placed to make a difference to many a homeowner and many a stargazer!
Amazing lighting for the external areas of your home really enhances the outdoor space. Well planned lighting design delivers a welcoming arrival for homeowners and guests alike.
Therefore it’s a case of well-placed lighting, good control of the light, correct light source colour, correct intensity and glare control to enhance your home whilst not going way over the top #ChevyChase!
1) How do I light the front of my house?
The advancement of LED enables many clever techniques to create a welcoming curb appeal using extremely low power solutions. Use warm white light source, ideally 2700k, consider wall luminaires that provide a close grazing effect down brickwork limiting light spill. Consider mini 1w in-ground uplighters in front of entrance door pillars, or in front of large planters but ensure a deep baffle reducing glare when utilised, and we suggest using dimmable drivers. Use finishes that are within keeping of the area and build material, many options from steel, concrete to distressed Copper are available.
Remember, a little light against the contrast of the darkness of night goes a long way – think less is more and use darkness to create interest, protect natural habitats and enhance neighbouring friendships!
2) How can I use light to make a wow factor in my garden?
The key is to consider your garden as another room of your home. Use layers of light and ensure flexibility to obtain different scenes, achieved by utilising more lighting circuits enabling the dimming/switching on or off, of groups of lights as desired across various sections of your outdoor space.
With all external lighting solutions, we advise warm white light source, especially critical in rural areas to reduce the impact on wildlife such as the protected species of Bats. Introducing colours to water features, with luminaire under water, provide interesting effects as does the use of fibre optics, and possibly using 3000k to highlight specific features. However, do not go cooler than 3000k and be careful using colours that create a 70’s outdoor disco theme such as blues and reds. Low glare luminaires placed in areas that allow visual appreciation of the effect of the light of feature such as steps, water features, walls, shrubs, oversized pots and natural build materials will add the wow factor desired.
Remember light requires a surface, placing in ground uplighters in driveways/decking that shine up to the heavens will only produce lighting pollution and an commercial airport runway effect.
3) What are the best security lights for my home?
Floodlights should not be assumed as the normal when providing security lighting to residential homes. Its common for low cost floodlights to have poorly engineered sensors that false trigger throughout the night causing nuisance to neighbours and interrupting the habits of nocturnal wildlife.
Low level lighting such as hooded spike lights can light across driveways and paths, feature wall lanterns on entrance gates and pillars via remote sensor, single downlighters by all entrance doors with a glare free deep baffle are options to consider. These can be operated by either timed photocells, or remote PIR sensors, as mentioned above a little light goes a long way in darkness so there is no need for 50w 4000k cool white car park floodlights. Smart lighting control solutions, such as Lutron Homeworks QS or Ra2 can also provide many security features for internal and external lighting alike. Holiday scheduling, astronomical clocks, conditions to dim external lighting at set times, but enable PIR sensors for night-time security can be achieved.
It is also possible now to use warm to dim luminaires, that are at 3000k warm white at full power (good for security) but as they are dimmed and the lumen output is reduced, they get warmer providing that friendly, cosy and engaging lighting desired for residential outdoor space.