Spreadlights and Path Lights
A spreadlight is also sometimes called a “path light” by manufacturers or a “mushroom” light by consumers. A lamp under the “hat” or “shade” provides a circle of light around the fitting, either directly or by reflection from a white painted underside. The “hat” prevents upward glare. Spike mounting allows for positioning in planted areas, gravel etc; surface mounts allow for positioning on decking and paving. They are usually 12 volts as 12v lamps (bulbs) are small enough to hide under the hat in a way which is impractical with traditional 240v bulbs.
Spreadlights usually have LED capsule lamps of around 3 watts and provide a circle of light between 3.5 and 4 metres (12 and 13 feet) in diameter, depending on stem height and design of the hat. In many ways, spreadlighting is a last resort as these garden lights are inevitably visible items in order to do their job and this conflicts with our stated objective of a beautifully illuminated garden without seeing the lights. However, where ornamental lighting techniques such as moonlighting cannot be used and where walls or structures to mount recessed or discreet lights are absent, then spreadlights must be used to fulfil essential safety functions in lighting path and step, as well as to fill in areas where darkness would otherwise prevail.
Regularity of spacing is not something to be totally ignored, as reasonable uniformity of lighting helps to ensure the eye is not adapting too frequently to different lighting intensities. While in a formal garden layout we would expect to see geometric lighting layouts, in other cases too much regularity can destroy the informality of many settings. Provided there is enough lighting to enable a person to walk along the path without having to think too consciously about it, then illuminated features along the way can be appreciated. If it’s not a formal garden it doesn’t matter if the layout is not strictly spaced, or whether garden lights are paired along either side of the path or staggered on either side; this will be a reflection of personal taste. As long as the pools of light from the various sources installed coalesce, or nearly so, then reasonable uniformity will be achieved.
Copper spreadlights are popular as they weather to a mottled brown finish which looks natural in any setting: copper spreadlights are available in domed and tapered designs in natural copper, which weathers naturally.