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Garden lighting

Main image: Scheme by Moonlight Design. Left (from top): RELCO’s Navale LED spotlight; two schemes by Moonlight Design.

installation and supply of quality garden lighting. Quality of product and installation is vital for this work due to the big problem of weather in the United Kingdom. These fixtures are hand crafted from New Zealand and come in a variety of designs and are available in powder coat (10 different colours), solid bronze, copper and 316 Marine grade stainless steel. In a recent project, Moonlight Design supplied and installed 140 of these fixtures mostly in copper. Within this scheme there were pond lights, path lights, wall lights and spike lights. The system runs at 12V, which is not only cheaper to run than conventional 240V fittings but also very safe. The transformers are wire-wound and resin filled, which means they can be buried or secured to a wall, fence etc above the soil. They use weatherproof junction boxes such as Wiska. All high voltage cable is SWA and the low voltage cable is HO7 RNF.

A scheme of this size needs a lot of planning and a good design. Moonlight Design’s head designer Haslehurst has been working in this field for 11 years and whilst he has knowledge of electrical works, his background is horticulture. ‘Horticultural understanding is very important, as plant knowledge is vital when lighting the garden,’ believes


Haslehurst. ‘Knowing how the tree or shrub is going to mature is essential when considering whether to illuminate it or not. Selecting the plant varieties that have the most attractive foliage or interesting form and an awareness of whether the plant is deciduous or herbaceous is key. Often designs are submitted to the client on a plan highlighting where the light fittings are and what they are, including the watts for each lamp. On a large scheme such as this there will also be a cable route and junction box plan.’ Cable routes must be established prior to excavation works and if possible, carried out by a landscape contractor. On this project the cable was installed once the landscapers had excavated the whole site. ‘The electricians would work closely with the landscapers in areas where the lights were to be installed into steps, ponds, walls etc so they could install conduit to each light. It’s important to note that once the conduits have been installed, make sure that the ends are clearly poking out of the soil and the ends are blocked up. It can take a long time to find a buried conduit and prove to be impossible to thread a cable through it if a stone or soil has fallen into it. It is preferable to use a flexible 25mm conduit with a drawstring ready for the cables,’ says Haslehurst.

Virtually all lighting schemes that Moonlight Design installs are switched by using a remote control such as the Light Symphony system. These are extremely versatile and designed to be installed outside. The added benefit is that the electricians do not have to work inside the property chasing out walls for switches etc. These remote units are available in 1, 2 and 4 circuits and can also be dimmable. Moonlight Design generally uses the four-gang remote control often using one of the circuits to control a water feature. For the majority of gardens four circuits is about right. This switch system can also be controlled by using an iPhone (by downloading a free app). Haslehurst concludes: ‘If the project has been installed correctly using the right equipment, the scheme should last for many years to come.’


David Atkinson Lighting Design 020 8979 6113

Lighting for Gardens 01462 486 777 Moonlight Design 020 8925 8639 RELCO Group UK 01933 271 472


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