Paths and Drives
In more open areas, moonlighting down from trees or downlighting from structures are good techniques described in other pages. Where flanking walls, structures and trees are absent, then selecting a spreadlight which will stand up high enough to perform its path lighting job and still be visually acceptable is the compromise to be achieved. A good selection of these is available in copper including the DOMO rounded top copper spreadlight with a domed head that will weather to a mottled brown appearance which looks natural in most garden settings. Spreadlights are also available with a brushed chrome finish for more modern settings - the tapered design of the MIDAS is a popular choice. The pool of light from a spreadlight is typically 3.5 to 4m in diameter. Spreadlights use a halogen capsule lamp hidden under a shade - great for shielded illumination of a path, but the life of such lamps is an average of 1000 hours, good for mainly summer or irregular use, but it would mean frequent lamp replacement if operated every night on a timer - for a driveway, say - so for that application consider bollard lights with long life, low energy compact fluorescent lamps (CFL) or use the led lamp options which, provide a low energy, long life alternative to the halogen lamp normally used in spreadlights.
Small fluorescent bollard lights are often popular because of their size, low energy consumption and long lamp life, and in some cases because modern shape and finishes look more fashionable than spreadlights. Elipta's Compact Bollard Light is a popular, good value small spike mount unit available in black aluminium and stainless steel; it takes a 14w compact fluorescent lamp for driveway use, is available in spike-mount versions and is less than a foot high. Elipta's teak bollard lights are also a popular choice: timber garden bollard lights have a natural appearance and are available in a range of round and square shapes, with opal diffuser or with glare louvres. They are a taller option and accept a fluorescent lamp up to 20 watts for brighter lighting.
Recommended uses for spreadlights and bollard lights include positioning near all changes of level or other hazards (steps, ramps, deck edges etc), all changes of direction (path intersections & corners), flanking entrances, along driveways and around parking areas. Be careful not to fit tungsten lamps into compact modern bollard lights designed especially for compact fluorescent lamps as you are quite likely to burn out components as a result. An interesting alternative to lighting a level path or driveway is to waymark it rather than light the horizontal surface; Elipta's Waymarker lights can be used to cast a corona of light at intervals along the edge of the route. Elipta's Navigator range of l.e.d. lights is designed to recess into paving and make excellent waymarkers for paths - the medium sized NAVIGATOR MONO and larger NAVIGATOR MAXOR models, at spacings of 2 - 3 metres are best for this approach.
Lighting driveways can be a question of compromise; a designer's preference is always to provide good lighting without seeing the lights, but this isn't always possible. "Moonlighting" from trees is an attractive way of lighting a horizontal surface in a naturalistic way suitable for both town and country gardens. Uplighting an avenue of trees flanking a driveway is another stylish design choice. However, if there are no trees, walls or structures to act as lighting platforms then the choice is to provide lighting by means of visible fittings and personal taste is the final arbiter of the style of fitting to be used. Grazing can also be used to give gate pillars a welcomingly different perspective to the daylight view. For more ideas view our Paths & drives photo gallery