As the sun goes down and lights switch on, gardens across Australia truly come to life – led by the expertise of landscape gardeners like Dave Franklin. The landscaping extraordinaire has been an unstoppable force on The Block Australia and Australian gardens for over a decade, with his finger on the pulse of garden trends, styles, and techniques to perfect the outdoor spectacles of the home.
Scoring wins on The Block and beyond, lighting has become a necessity in Dave’s work, so we sat down to discover his top five tips for outdoor lighting.
Having worked in the landscaping arena for over 25 years, Dave knows a thing or two about configuring a functional outdoor area. His number one tip before selecting your lighting scheme is to understand the layout.
“What we try to do is highlight the features of your backyard, whether that be a water feature or something alike.”
Discovering the heroes of your space, and how people will use it — especially at night — is integral for presenting it in its best light.
One of the biggest mistakes Dave has seen is the use of spotlights or floodlights in the garden. “We want to use low lighting to bring the space to life, there’s nothing worse than harsh light in your eyes.” This is where being selective on the right lights for your space is imperative – it doesn’t have to be too overwhelming, just enough to keep it functional and light up your features.
One area where floodlighting becomes important is anywhere there is foot traffic. “Flood the pavings with a low light” — this is an essential feature for staying safe at nighttime without being impactful to your aesthetic. Dave advises that floodlighting is best used low and to provide function rather than feature in an outdoor area.
Just like inside the home, drawing the eye upwards can add height and a perspective of luxury to your property. Highlighting the trees in your garden is an ideal way to inject life into your landscaping. “When we say highlight, we consider using a garden spike light or something a little more upright like a bollard to bring emphasis to the trees”, says Dave.
The Aqualux Adjustable Spike Up Light is a really versatile way to bring your trees to life - permanent or relocatable, these will highlight the features in your garden perfectly. Dave simply puts it: “If you uplight the features in your garden, you’ll be sure to achieve a great result.”
Dave believes making the most of step and wall space to introduce lighting will transform your garden in the evening. “Anything between 300 and 500mm gives a really classy look.” You can get step lights in all shapes and sizes – opt for round with the Aqualux Eye Light, or go bold with a sharp shape like the Aqualux Step Light. Dave recommends such small changes that are a simple way to add luxury to your outdoor spaces.
“Lighting has come a long way in the last few years”, says Dave, and it really does make a difference in the home. And as we continue to spend more time at home, it’s never been more important.