Anyone who has tried walking up a garden path in the pitch dark of a moonless night knows that walking about in darkness is not for the faint-hearted. Finding you’ve wandered unwittingly into the middle of a rose border can be a prickly experience, not to mention a nightmare for knitwear, but things can get downright dangerous if your garden has steps or a pond. The answer, of course, is to shed some light on the situation, and there are lots of ways to do so.
The budget solution is to always keep a torch on your person. Almost as affordable, and rather more practical, is to use those solar-powered lights that insert into the soil. This assumes, of course, that you have soil beside your path. If you have grass, these solar lights are less than ideal because you’ll need to take them out every time you mow the lawn. Another drawback is they’re not very bright, especially in winter when the short days give them less time to charge, and the long nights mean you’re more likely to be relying on them.
At the other end of the scale is security lighting activated by a movement sensor. Poor performance is not one of its drawbacks. Most security lights, as their name suggests, pump out enough lumens to deter even career criminals. Trouble is, security lighting has a mind of its own. When you feel like savouring that tranquil moment in the garden as the sunset fades gently to dusk, having a security light blasting on and off every time you so much as lift a finger does rather ruin the mood. It’s also very bright, so not recommended for complexions past the first flush of youth Telescopic bollards.
Another option for lighting your garden paths is to install a few of those lights that aspire to resemble Victorian street lights. They’ll do the job, certainly, but they’ll also make your garden look like a set for a Dickensian costume drama. If that’s the kind of quaint look you’re going for, fine, but it’s not perhaps the obvious choice for most gardens, unless you rate pub gardens as the acme of garden design style.
Which brings us to the path lighting solution we’d like to recommend. It’s to use light fittings expressly designed for the purpose, and that means checking out the product range of a dedicated outside lighting manufacturer such as Hunza, the garden lighting specialists from New Zealand.
One Hunza fitting designed for path lighting is a 300mm tall bollard. This is shorter than standard bollards, so it won’t make your garden look like a public car park, and can be installed into a flowerbed beside the path, or into the path itself if it’s paved, block paved, brick or decking. It shines light horizontally around 360°, so you’ll be lighting the area beside the path as well as the path itself.
Another fitting that projects light around 360° is the Tier Light. This is mounted on a 700mm pole and has an anti-glare hood so all the light goes where you want it – down onto the path. Tier Lights need to be installed in soil. So does the Border Light, which is another pole mounted fitting, but with a fully adjustable head so you can direct the light exactly where you want it, and a frosted lens to create a softly diffused pool of light.
But what if you don’t have a planting border beside your path, and you want the light fittings to be less obtrusive that a bollard? The answer is the Hunza Path Lights. These are designed to be recessed into flat surfaces like paving, block paving, brick and decking, and have a low profile of just 20mm so you won’t keep tripping over them. The light is projected vertically, but a polished stainless steel cone concealed inside the top of the fitting reflects it so the light emerges horizontally to shine across the surface of the path. It also gives you a choice of the direction you want your light to shine – in one or two directions, or around 360°. Path Lights can be safely walked on, but if you like to stroll in your garden at night in bare feet and would rather not risk stepping on a hot light fitting, there are versions that use a fluorescent lamp or LED that generate very little heat.