GARDENS AND GARDEN LIGHTING IN PARTICULAR ARE NOW JUST AS IMPORTANT TO MANY HOMEOWNERS AS THE INTERIOR OF THEIR HOME.
However, when lighting up an outside area it is important to ensure it is installed professionally and safely. Contact us for more information firstname.lastname@example.org
Safety tips for the garden:
- All outside sockets must be RCD protected for safety. An RCD (residual current device) works by switching off the flow of electricity when a cable or flex is cut
- Cables underground must be buried at a sufficient depth to avoid damage from garden tools. This will require the electrician to dig a trench in the garden
- All cabling should be suitable for installation outside. Your registered electrician can advise you on the best options
- Decorative lights plugged into an outdoor socket should be taken inside after use unless they are clearly labelled as waterproof. They are not designed to stay out all year round
Comply with building regulations
Electrical work carried out in the garden is no longer covered by Part P of the building regulations in England. This means it does not have to be notified to your local building control department. Part P does still apply in Wales though. The following is an example of electrical work in the garden which must be notified to local building control (Wales only).
- A supply to a detached garage, shed or other outbuilding
- A supply to an electric gate or pond pump
- Garden lighting
- A socket-outlet
Before starting any work, you must notify your local building control office and pay the appropriate fee for it to be inspected. Alternatively, an electrician registered with a government approved Part P scheme, such as NICEIC or ELECSA, should carry out the work as they can self-certify and notify the work on your behalf.
Purchase good quality equipment
Always buy outdoor lighting equipment from a reputable retailer and make sure the light fittings (luminaires) are weatherproof. Good light fittings should carry an IP rating, which indicates how well it stands up to external conditions. The same rules apply to light fittings for water features – make sure anything you buy is waterproof. Don’t forget to look for the BEAB Approved Mark and the European Community (CE) safety symbol too.
What to consider when lighting your garden:
- Time spent planning your lighting scheme will enhance your garden’s best features
- Visit home improvement retailers and look at websites for inspiration
- Concentrate on the most attractive features, such as a plant or water feature, and don’t light everything in sight
- Think practically – light up paths and steps for safe access and combine with security lights Think about the controls – there are various options from wall-mounted light switches to hand held remote controls
- Avoid positioning lights so that they shine into a neighbour’s window
- Some outdoor lights can get hot, so place out of reach of small children
- All cables and transformers should be placed out of sight to ensure the lighting scheme is only apparent when lit at night
How to create different effects
Torches can help you plan your lighting and decide which spaces you want lit and whether you want uplighters or downlighters.
These work well-positioned at the end of the garden shining onto the fence and make the space appear larger.
Use these to pick out features such as a tree or place above a table to give you more light when you’re eating.
Put a light in front of a sculptural plant or object to create a dramatic look. The height of the light will make the shadow larger or smaller.
Two lights positioned at opposite ends of a feature will highlight it with a softening effect.
This gives a romantic effect by mounting a light in a tree so the foliage breaks up the light beams.
Position a light at the foot of a wall and it will gently wash over the nearest surface.
I want to install new lights in my garden. What do I need to know?
Due to the added risk posed by detrimental weather the garden is considered a high risk area when carrying out electrical work. It is vital that all work undertaken is carried out in accordance with the current wiring regulations to ensure maximum safety. The risk of injury or death from electric shock is much greater than the risk from using electrical equipment indoors. Speak to your local registered electrician before any work to upgrade your garden commences. They will be able to advise you of the appropriate steps that need to be taken and ensure the work is carried out to the highest standards. They will also be able to take care of the appropriate notification (if required) and certification once the work is completed.
How do I know if my garden is safe for use?
If there is noticeable damage to sockets or lights then it could be a sign that your electrics need checking. If you have any concerns regarding the electrics in your home or garden then you should call a registered electrician.
How can I get my garden checked for electrical safety?
You should contact your local NICEIC or ELECSA registered contractor and ask them to carry out an electrical inspection (sometimes known as a periodic inspection) of the property. Whilst an inspection is more commonly associated with the electrics inside a home, you can ask the registered contractor to have a look at any installations or circuits within the garden or outbuilding of a property. This must be agreed at the onset. On completion of the inspection, you will receive an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) detailing any damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions and anything not in line with the present-day safety standard which might give rise to danger.
How often should this check be carried out?
There is no regulation regarding how often an electrical inspection should be carried out. However, NICEIC and ELECSA recommend that an EICR is carried out every ten years in a privately-owned home. For rented properties this should be every five years or when there is a change of occupancy.