How to zone your garden using lighting
Lighting focused pockets of your garden can help to turn it from a one-dimensional space into a well-thought-out extension of your home.

Just as you’d layer light inside your home, by doing the same thing outside – using ground lights, downlights, wall lights and more to focus on specific areas and functions – you’ll bring depth and balance to your space (without over-illuminating it).

 Gentle, glare-free, warm light is key, whether you opt for mains LED light sources or solar or battery-operated sorts (you can read more about the different types of outdoor lighting in our article here).

Naturally, gardens differ in shape, size and layout, but when it comes to the placement of your lights, we’ve highlighted a few major focal points that’ll benefit from functional or atmospheric illumination.
Our take, in brief
Wall lights work well for eating and entertaining areas (like patios) and for entryways.

Downward-facing path lights are best for walkways and taller areas of planting.

Ground spotlights are perfect for illuminating flowers, trees and architectural features from below.

Light the areas around water rather than focusing beams directly at the surface to prevent glare.
Seating & dining areas
A patio is a familiar feature in gardens little and large, urban, suburban and rural alike. It’s the area we typically use for outdoor dining and unwinding.

You’ll want sufficient light for eating, drinking and moving around the space safely after dark here, but not too much that it spoils the mood.

Wall lights are a great answer if your patio is, in the traditional way, located near the external walls of your house (or the walls of your garden, if you have them).

They won’t get in the way, and they’ll cast practical yet gentle pools of light.

Our Richmond and Claremont wall lights are safe to use externally, which means you can carry the same look through from inside to outside. They come in two sizes too, so there’s an option for pint-sized patios and larger set-ups alike.

Pair with festoon lights, hanging lanterns or something similarly decorative to really set the scene.
Pathways & steps
Any sort of walkway – and particularly steps or other uneven surfaces – needs to be well-lit.

Having said that, you’re looking to create a warm welcome as well as good visibility, so don’t overdo it – you aren’t lighting an airport runway.

Directional pathway lights, like our solid brass Ealing path spotlight, are just the thing for the job.

If you can, alternate your lights so they flank both sides of your pathway and position them slightly back from the path’s edge.

If you have external walls adjacent, you could also use spotlights (like our Ealing surface and flush spotlights) to cast light over the area.

Entryways
As with pathways, doorways should be lit to create a welcoming ambience as well as good visibility (and a good level of security).

Wall lights mounted on one or both sides of your door or doors will do this effectively.

Our medium-sized Claremont style has two shades that cast light both up and down if you’re looking to make more of a feature of the area around the door.

And if you have plant pots or flowerbeds around your entryways, you could incorporate additional lights here too. A spike style, like our Ealing ground spotlight, would be ideal.
Plants, trees & architectural details
When it comes to illuminating plants and trees, spike lights are the go-to choice. Nestled directly in the ground, or inside pots, planters or raised beds, they’ll highlight considered planting from below.

Lighting trees in this way will help to add height to your garden by drawing the eye up too.

Evergreen varieties are great if you want to light up year-round greenery, but by lighting deciduous trees, you can welcome natural sculptural interest to your garden come the winter months.

If your planting scheme is set against a wall, you could introduce a few surface spotlights into the mix to add a little extra light from above.

And for taller planting, feel free to incorporate taller spike lights (like our Ealing path spotlight) into your flowerbeds to vary the levels of light further.

If you have any interesting architectural or landscaping details that you’d like to make a feature of in your garden, you can apply much the same approach.
Water
Ponds, pools and other water features are ideal candidates for illumination, but if you don’t want to use submersible lights, there are a few other impactful options.

Walkways around these areas can be lit with path spotlights; the beams will reflect beautifully in the surface of the water.

Likewise, you could light up an outbuilding, feature or an area of planting that’s close by with ground spots to create a dramatic mirror image in the water’s surface.

In essence, it’s best to light the areas around your water, rather than the water’s surface directly, to prevent any glare.

Shop our garden lighting designs here.