Now the summer is here with (hopefully) warmer weather, we like to spend more time in the garden. Using the latest technology LED light bulbs and strips, it’s now possible to create very special effects in your garden that will impress your friends and family.

But where do you begin? Beyond the obvious of making sure paths and steps have some illumination, here, in Part 1 of a two-part series, are some ideas of the types of lighting you can use to great effect.


As the name suggests, this is used to project a pool of light in a downward direction highlighting an area below. It’s usually used to highlight a specific feature such as a path or patio area.  It’s also the type of lighting used for safety, security and general purpose illumination. The type of fittings you can use are downlights and wall mounted spotlights.


This type of lighting creates the most dramatic effect, as it reverses the usual perspective of daylight from above. It’s sometimes used with great effect for old monuments and public buildings.  It can be used to provide wider coverage of a shrub border by angling the uplighting diagonally across the space. The best products to use for this are spiked spotlights and recessed uplights

Accent Lighting

This uses directional spotlights to emphasis focal points, individual plants or other features so they stand out within a vista. They can be used either from the ground or attached to other structures such as walls or trees. Use adjustable spike spots, wall spots or recessed uplights.


This differs from accent lighting because the directional spots are placed at a distance from the object being illuminated, sometimes because there is no usable mounting position. It achieves the same effect as accent lighting if you use narrower beam lamps (LEDs are excellent for this as they can have almost laser-like effect). Use wall spotlights and adjustable spike spots.


This is the deliberate placing of the light, so the beam shines across the subject and casts a shadow in a certain direction. Again you can cast the beam either from above (with a wall mounted fitting) or from the ground. Wall spots and adjustable spike spots are the fittings to use for this.


This lovely effect is achieved by using low powered lights to create shadows of the lower branches and foliage onto the ground below. This can be used to create dappled pools of light over benches, lawns, patios, paths and borders. It differs from downlighting as the intention is to specifically create shadows. The best type of lights to use for this are tree mounted spots and hanging lights. They need to be low powered (weak) to get the best shadow effects.


This type of lighting is intended to highlight surface textures and is achieved by placing the light very close to the subject so that a strong shadow is cast. The effect can be generated using either wall mounted lights or ground lights. Use adjustable spike spots, recessed uplights, wall spots or downlights. Make sure they are angled in sharply to get the maximum shadow.