Wednesday, 05 July 2017 00:43

Good Vibes

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Good Vibes
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An integrated pool and outdoor lighting system can be an inexpensive, easy-to-install way to generate a specific mood in your outdoor area. Georgia Jordan dives into the techniques you can use to create mood lighting, and improve the visual and practical appeal of your outdoor area year-round.

The summer months are synonymous with alfresco dining, and can be made more intimate or festive with ambient lighting. Mood lighting will extend your dinner parties and aquatic get-togethers throughout autumn when the sun sets earlier, and during the winter months your glittering garden and perfect-looking pool will enhance the enjoyment of your entire home from the outside in.

The decisions involved in creating a personalised outdoor lighting system can seem daunting, but that doesn’t mean you have to pull the plug on the entire idea. Fortunately, there are some trusty techniques you can utilise to make the planning stage smooth and the end result spectacular.


Let the idea of integration influence your decision-making; your entertaining area should be a continuation of your home’s interior and transition harmoniously into the garden, which should naturally guide people to the pool, while the pool should attract the eye without stealing the entire show.

Identify the features and spaces you want to focus on, and look at how you can draw attention to each of them with lighting. A variety of lights of differing intensity will achieve balance between each space and avoid floodlighting, which will wash out your spaces and make them uninviting.

To determine the mood you want to achieve, consider the purpose of your outdoor area/s. Do you enjoy romantic alfresco dinners with your partner, chilled-out drinks with friends or do you enjoy throwing extravagant parties? For a multi- purpose outdoor area, adjustable lighting options that change colour and intensity can provide an endless variety of effects and combinations to create different moods at the push of a button.


Your entertaining area will need bright task and safety lighting near workspaces, paths and entryways. Complementary ambient lighting will create a calm and magical mood, and encourage guests to linger for longer.

Fixed Lighting

Zig-zagging string lights between nearby trees will create a scattered star effect, while a bare wall can become an evocative masterpiece with uplighting and some artwork or plantlife.

An eye-catching chandelier will create a gorgeous focal point and a beautiful glow. If overhead lighting is too strong for your space, consider suspending elegant wrought-iron lanterns in nearby trees or placing them on pillars. Offering valuable flexibility and convenience to your entertaining space, adjustable lights can be controlled from inside your home or with a weatherproof outdoor switch.

For cohesion, visible light sources should either complement the architectural style of your home, or be hidden. Bronze or copper lights commonly blend well in outdoor areas, so try to match your lights with the dominant tones in your outdoor area.

Lights concealed behind semi-translucent railings and gates produce a diffused effect that creates a sense of mystery and anticipation, especially near an entryway. Staggering low-output downlights up stairways will create a similar theatrical effect your guests will remember.

Special Occasions

Candlelight is a simple and effective way to make a space more enchanting. Decorative lanterns create a whimsical vibe that’s perfect for dinner parties and celebrations, while hurricane candleholders wrapped in coloured tissue-paper will shield flames from the wind and produce a sweet, gentle glow.

Floating votive candles in a large bowl of water that’s placed on the table will evoke a summery and casual mood, while decorative string lights can be wound around posts or strung between trees to guide your guests to your entertaining areas during festive events.

For special, intimate occasions such as an anniversary, place tall candlesticks on the ground for a romantic vibe.


With some strategically placed lights, the setting sun won’t detract from the beauty and atmosphere of your garden. Emulate natural light as closely as possible by aiming for the gently diffused golden glow of the sun and the intensity of the full moon, which is strong enough to create striking shadows and highlights, while gently illuminating paths and corners without overexposing spaces and ruining their intrigue.

Ambient garden lights provide overall illumination, while lights directed through foliage create subtle shadow effects for tranquility and depth. Accent lighting will highlight key landscape features and create visual interest and drama. A carefully placed garden spike can produce dramatic shadows to make landscape elements come to life.

Path lighting requires a delicate balance between function and mood. Bollard lights are perfect for larger paths that require more illumination, while low lighting will create sense of mystery, especially when the light sources are concealed and appear to stream naturally through the foliage.

Cool white lights inspire mystery, while warm white lighting is relaxing. Installing coloured neon lights in geometric patterns is a modern way to make a bold statement and energise guests.


Your pool is filled to the brim with aesthetic potential, so don’t let its twinkling surface fade into an inky black void when the sun goes down. An illuminated pool can be an iridescent centrepiece that will impress guests, or a private oasis you can retreat to, where you can let your worries float away.

Nearby garden lights can easily mimic the glittering reflection of moonlight on your pool’s surface. Submerged light dispersed throughout the entire body of water will create a dazzling block of colour, illuminating the steam rising off heated pools in winter to create a mesmerising mist – as if the idea of swimming through phosphorescent waves after dark isn’t tempting enough!

Light Source

Flush-mounted LED lights shine from walls and floors to achieve a smooth appearance, while surface-mounted varieties protrude into the pool, casting a broader spread of light.

Lights positioned at opposing ends of a standard- sized pool will provide uniform illumination and eliminate shadowy patches. For larger pools, position your lights in a row along the wall closest to your home to enjoy an iridescent glow without putting up with the annoying glare from the source.


The colour of your pool lights should complement the exterior tones of your home and the theme of your backyard. A pool colour that contrasts with the surrounding paving will produce a contemporary, eye-catching effect.

White lights with a light-coloured pool lining will channel the pristine beauty of a Caribbean beach, while turquoise lights will mimic the radiance of a natural lagoon. Rippling red water will resemble glittering rubies for a striking effect, while bright lights along the base of the pool will create a modern landing-strip effect.

Remote-controlled lighting allows you to change or pre-program colours and patterns to suit certain occasions. Your pool can enliven a party with a vivid light show and be easily returned to a tranquil blue once things begin to wind down.

Pools with lighter linings ‘pop’ with colour easily, while pools with darker linings absorb light and require more lights to achieve optimal illumination. Darker pools reflect surrounding tones and encourage a subdued, elegant aesthetic.

Special Features

How would you like to dive into the Milky Way? Your pool floor can be transformed into a swirling constellation of stars with fibre-optic lights, which are long-lasting and don’t emit heat, so they are extremely safe. Fountains, deck jets and waterfalls are breathtaking after dark, especially when illuminated with a colour that contrasts with the pool.

Your carefully-planned, integrated lighting system will have a ripple effect that encourages more use of your pool and outdoor areas by fostering a particular atmosphere that will make your space more inviting.

The subtle power and impressive versatility of mood lighting will encourage the creation of precious memories of fun times spent outdoors with loved ones.


Read 199 times Last modified on Wednesday, 12 July 2017 03:39