Summer is the perfect time to enjoy the outdoors. Nothing should come in the way of that - not even a pandemic!
But hold on - we are not suggesting that you should go flouting lockdown rules or public safety guidelines. Public places like parks and rooftop restaurants aren’t exactly safe to be in under the current circumstances. We only mean that it’s time to turn your attention to your balconies, terraces, gardens, or any other outdoor space within safe reach!
If you have a terrace or garden that you don’t use much, it’s extremely likely that you don’t use it because the space does not feel welcoming. Naturally, you’re more likely to spend time in spaces that have an inviting aura. You will be surprised to see what even just a single outdoor light can do to transform a space.
In this article, we will cover three comprehensive things to consider while sprucing up your outdoor spaces. So, without further ado, let’s get to it!
Understand Your Space
Before you can start planning how you want your space to look, you need a clear understanding of what will or won’t work with that space. You will need to pick the kind of activities you’d like to do in your garden, patio, balcony - you get the idea - to choose the right decor and lights for it.
To understand your space, here are the factors you should be thinking about:
Purpose of the Space
What kind of lights and decor you should choose depends entirely on what you plan to do with the space you have, and what kind of lighting the space will support. For example, you may love chandeliers but having them in a gazebo will prove to be a bad idea because it is more susceptible to spider and insect infestation in the outdoors. Instead, it might be better to have a hanging light in such a space.
Let’s say you have a gazebo that you plan to use as a barbecue area. Having something like the Stepping Out floor lamp fitted into the floor next to the barbecue set will serve you well. It is a dimmable LED light, so it is relatively weather-proof, and you can increase or decrease the brightness as per your preference. However, keep in mind that LED pieces are not always weather-proof so using them as outdoor lights that are exposed to the elements is not recommended without first checking with us.
Now, if you don’t have a lot of floor space in this gazebo, it will make much more sense to go for a hanging light like the Holistic pendant light. It’s cement shade is perfect for outdoor use, and it will light up your gazebo from the top, giving you a good look at the food while you grill it on your barbecue. You need to ensure, however, that the light is not hanging directly above the barbecue, as heat can damage electrical fittings.
You don’t want to add a floor lamp in a space that has limited floor space, such as a balcony in a modern apartment. Wall lights, ceiling lights, or hanging lights would be significantly better for these spaces. One of the best ways to figure out which of these three options you should pick is to check where electrical outlets are available or possible.
It’s critical to take into account the load-bearing capacity of the surface on which you will be installing the lights, as well. For example, if you’re decorating your balcony, the weight limit of ceiling or hanging lights you can install will depend on whether or not your balcony has a parapet on top. That’s because walls can naturally carry more weight than an awning or metal frame can.
An open garden space like a lawn will obviously be more exposed to the elements of nature as compared to a balcony space. Accordingly, remember to consider the level of elemental exposure your lighting and decor pieces are likely to have. Harsh sunlight, wind, and rain are the major factors to think about in most of the country. Depending on where you live, you might even need to think about freezing, snow, and saltwater corrosion.
Prepare Your Space for Outdoor Lights
Redecorating a garden is a longer-term process as compared to redecorating a balcony. But you shouldn’t take redecorating a balcony lightly simply because it won’t typically take as long as redecorating a garden. Unless you take the necessary precautions and do your due diligence while preparing your space, accidents can happen.
Here are three things to consider while preparing your outdoor spaces, safety-wise:
Insulate and Conceal Your Wires
Exposed wiring can be extremely dangerous because it is susceptible to every single element of nature. Insulation will protect it from direct physical contact with water as well as from temperature fluctuations. This will help prevent accidental fires or electrical shocks.
Concealing outdoor wiring is equally important to avoid accidents such as tripping and falling. More importantly, it keeps your wiring safe from fidgeting by children, pets, insects, birds — you get the drift.
Provide Water Drainage Systems
In countries with regular rainfall such as India, water can be one of the biggest threats to outdoor decor, including lighting as well as furniture and decorative art. Having water stagnating anywhere close to your home is a bad idea in general, but it becomes more dangerous if you’re placing decor and lights outside.
Make sure that any water that may collect is immediately drained out of spaces that carry wiring, furniture, or decorative pieces. Failing to do this can prove to be extremely dangerous.
Reinforce Your Surfaces
Outdoor spaces typically lack walls and firm surfaces that can carry weight. So, make it a point to reinforce whichever surface you plan to use for your fixtures and furniture. For example, if you have a lawn and you plan to install something like the Galactic garden lights, you will need to have cement or concrete surfaces to hold them. Like most garden floor lights, they cannot and should not be drilled directly into the ground, no matter how firm you think your ground is.
Similarly, you should not suspend pendant lights off of aluminium frames or awnings that are not designed to carry much weight. It can cause the whole thing to collapse unexpectedly. Make sure you reinforce your roofs, walls, and ground, as needed, before installing any fixtures or decor.
Choose Your Outdoor Lights
The most important thing to remember about outdoor spaces is that the lighting will completely control the ambiance of the place after dark. Details like the style of the lighting fixtures, the colour of the light they cast, the brightness of the space — everything matters.
A great way to ensure that you pick the best possible lights for your space is to mentally picture what you want it to look like before you start looking at the available options in decorative lighting. You should ideally focus on the following elements while picturing this:
Luminescence or Brightness
Depending on what you plan to do in your outdoor space, you need to think about how dim or bright the lighting needs to be. A cosy terrace garden can be a great place to put a bean bag out on and read a nice book. However, you won’t be able to do this after hours if the lighting is too dim. But at the same time, bright lighting on an empty terrace garden might seem too flashy. To fit both these needs, you have two options. You can either install two sets of lights, some bright and some soft, or you can install dimmable LED lights. With dimmable LED lights, you can even change the colours as you please. This brings us to the next point.
Colour of Light
Soft yellow light is beautiful but it may not be the best choice for a lounge area by the forest or seaside. While a blue glow will be perfect for a sea-facing lounge, a forest-facing porch will really benefit from dim, green lights. Pick your shade or opt for something that allows you to change colours as you like.
If you build a party lounge and then install wall lights like Moth to a Flame… Let’s just say it won’t look all that great. So, make sure that the outdoor lights you choose go with the overall feel of the space you work in.
We could go on about a lot more, but this is everything you really need to know before you start redesigning your outdoor spaces. We hope these tips have helped you get your basics in place to take your outdoor spaces to the next level!