Lighting outside with Machan Enever of Hawksbee Lighting Consultancy

Manchan Enever shares her thoughts and tips on how to use lighting in your home exteriors

1. How do I draw the view into the garden kitchen/landscape from the interior at night?

Look to equal or balance the light levels between the two as much as you can (even increase outdoor lighting to adjacent interior areas), if the light level is much higher on the interior versus the exterior you will effectively be creating a mirror on any glazed surfaces. Dim the interior lighting and for the outdoor dining area place a light feature there; suspend a pendant from a pergola or overhand, maybe installed an exterior rated plug for an outdoor floor lamp.

2. How do I achieve good working light in an outdoor cooking/kitchen area when there is no ceiling?

I touched on outdoor floor lamps earlier; when designing outdoor lighting schemes we always include externally rated 13amp plug sockets for outdoor-rated lighting, this might be a table or floor lamp. If you have no cabling whatsoever for outdoor lighting this is a simple way to add ‘something’, however, you may not wish to have a cable trailing to your outdoor dining area, there are many rechargeable and solar chargeable light fixtures on the market that provide just the light level and intimacy wanted when dining outside.

If you have walls or surrounding vertical surfaces there are catenary’s, these can be both architectural or decorative; a lot of clients consider festoon lighting as a permanent installation and it really does create a warm and friendly dining environment.

3. Should we be considering special product because of being outside?

When purchasing outdoor lighting, cross-check an ingress protection table. IP ratings have two numbers, the first for solid objects the second for liquid. We all live in different locations therefore someone living in a sanding beachside location versus another living in coastal or waterside property need to consider a number of aspects for protection against solids and liquids in electrical enclosures. 

4. Name your favourite products for dining outside?

In terms of floor lamps there is the Superarchimoon by Flos or the Tolomeo by Artemide; design classics in my opinion. For cordless, I am always a big fan of Neoz for more intimate table light.

Tekna for a battery-operated free-standing lantern, LYX Luminaires have good solar operatable fixtures in. a lantern style.

5. What are your feelings on colour change lighting within a landscape or terrace garden?

RGB colour change is a great thing, that said I feel it should be used wisely in an outdoor home environment! If done expertly it can look stunning, personally I feel it can sometimes run the risk of becoming tacky. That said we designed an outdoor terrace area that had a large expanse of wall as a backdrop, it had various low-level planting and crawling plants to offset the firmness of the surface, we thought to add a little more vigour to the dining experience we’d a project either a colour image or utilise a gobo effect, subtle enough not to overpower but provides enough of a talking point.



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