Light up your security - and your garden

Outdoor lighting has become big business in recent years – and not only because a well-lit property is less attractive to criminals and more secure.

Used well, lighting is also a cost-effective way to beautify a home and increase its visibility. And it often takes just one homeowner to start a neighbourhood trend.

For the budget-minded, most large discount stores like Makro and home improvement centres like Builder’s Warehouse now offer a huge range of DIY lighting kits – while LED bulbs that last longer and solar-powered fixtures have also increased the affordability of exterior lighting.

But before you rush off to buy a batch of lights, it’s worth considering what sort of effect you want. Are you looking for accent lighting, cross lighting, down lighting, path lighting, shadowing, silhouetting, spread lighting or up-lighting? Each may demand a different type of light fixture and globe intensity – and it’s worth seeking out expert advice to make sure you get the right ones.

After all, if your object is to extend the hours that you can enjoy your patio, you don’t want to end up with your house looking like an airport runway – although it is a good idea to light your house number to make it easy for guests and emergency vehicles to find.

Next, you should ensure that all fittings, wiring and connections you buy for outdoor use are watertight, and that any new wiring or plug points you need are connected by a qualified electrician.
And remember, once you alter your electrical system, you do need to get a fresh electrical certificate of compliance, issued by a qualified electrical inspector, in terms of the Occupational Health and Safety Act.

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