Home > Decorating Your Pond > Lighting Your Pond

Lighting Your Pond

By: Dr Gareth Evans - Updated: 24 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Mains Power Low Voltage Solar Mood

Adding lighting to a pond can transform the evening garden – particularly if there is a fountain or water fall – and instantly double its impact with two distinctly different looks. Extending the appeal of the garden pond into the hours of twilight and darkness is not a difficult thing to do and though like all things it is an option best considered at the outset, before the pond is first built, with modern systems any pond can benefit from some lighting. Strategically placed units can bring out the landscape artist in all of us and there are systems available to suit every pond and every pocket. In some ways, the hardest part is deciding which one to pick.

Combining lighting within the pond with garden lights set around the pond is often the recipe for the best results, enabling architectural features in the rockery or specimen plants to be highlighted and extending the scope of the night-time display. Creative use of coloured filters and gels too can be used imaginatively to enhance the overall look – and some lighting units even include automatic colour changes for extra impact.

Pick The Look

Pond lights come in a variety of types and produce different effects, so it is worth giving some careful thought to what sort of overall look you are aiming to achieve. For gentle, subtle illumination, “mood” lights – either submerged or floating – are probably the best bet. Often sold in sets of two or four, they are far less intense than traditional spotlights and they will usually take filters to change colour, making them ideal for anyone looking for a little understated highlighting.

If a more “punchy” lighting effect is called for, spotlights fit the bill – typically available either singly, or in sets of three or four, often with a set of coloured gels included in the kit. They can be used for dramatic lighting of individual features – cascades, fountains or ornaments – or to illuminate the body of the pond itself with a shaft of intense light.

Finally, for ponds with fountains, the aptly named fountainhead lights can be attached to the water spout to illuminate the water spray in a particularly spectacular way – making an ideal choice if the aim is to provide just one single stand-alone centre-piece in the pond.

Choice of Power

Having settled on the overall effect you are trying to achieve, the only thing which remains is to decide whether to opt for mains, low voltage or solar units. In general, the low voltage systems seem to be the most popular type – principally because they are both quick and easy to install and safe to use. Many different manufacturers offer low voltage lighting appliances – designed to be connected to the mains via the supplied transformer unit, which steps the 240 volt mains down to the 12 or 24 volts needed by the bulbs. With most of the cheaper systems, the transformer will need to be kept indoors, but some of the more expensive ones are weatherproof and can be safely located outside and there is even one model which has a waterproof transformer, allowing it to be concealed in the pond itself.

Although straightforward mains lighting does exist for water features, it is highly unlikely to find its way into the average garden pond – not least because few manufacturers make them and those that do tend to produce units that are designed to suit ponds in municipal parks. There is an obvious and very real danger if submerged mains lighting is not properly installed – and current legislation demands that a qualified electrician should carry out this kind of work – so on balance, mains-powered pond lighting is not really well suited to home use.

Eco-Firendly

In today’s eco-friendly world, solar lights have an obvious appeal and various models are available. The principle is very simple – a photovoltaic panel collects light energy during the day, charging up a set of batteries and when night falls, the batteries drive the lights, typically for around six or eight hours. Although their light is quite muted, the effect can be very atmospheric – and they have the great advantage of being the easiest of all lighting systems to install as well as the cheapest to run.

It should go without saying that whenever water and electricity are going to come into close proximity with each other, if you are in any doubt, consult a qualified electrician; this is definitely one time to be safe rather than sorry!Well chosen lighting can do more to alter a pond than almost anything else – and certainly more quickly. With a little bit of imagination and a willingness to experiment, even the most mundane of daytime ponds can become a dramatic night-time spectacle.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Latest Comments
  • Pond Failure
    Re: Fitting and Filling a Liner
    Hi We had a new butyl lined pond created in our garden approx three years ago. It would be great if it didn’t leak! We had pebbles…
    24 October 2019
  • Liynds
    Re: What Could be the Reason for all the Fish Dying?
    We have a pond in this house a year we had ,had nothing but problems we brought our fish from our other…
    12 October 2019
  • Buddy
    Re: Protecting Your Pond Life From Predators
    Just found my 2-1/2foot sturgeon dead and half eaten in the garden it weighed about 10 pound plus we live in GT…
    12 October 2019
  • Nlleeroy
    Re: Edging Your Pond
    Hi I've got epdm lined pond and will be edging it with clay tiles. The edge laps up and over a berm (highwater point) and will run a 3rd under the…
    3 October 2019
  • mick
    Re: Choosing the Right Water Lily for Your Pond
    Hello, I have a smallish pond with quite a large lily in place could this be the reason why my water level is…
    17 September 2019
  • Cookey
    Re: Managing Plant Overgrowth Within Your Pond
    I help look after a small pond in a garden on the Isle of Wight England . We have various pond plants well…
    16 September 2019
  • Sheryl in Virginia
    Re: Pond Snails in Your Pond
    Should I put snails in my barrel pond in late August or wait till spring? I am in Virginia in U.S. Also what are best ones for here ( I…
    27 August 2019
  • John
    Re: Plant Problems
    I created a garden pond, about two feet deep a couple of years ago. I added a small lily and an oxygenating plant. It has a small solar-powered…
    26 August 2019
  • Tom
    Re: Why Is My Pond Green and Frothy?
    My pool contains approx 700 gallons of water. In it I have a large health lily plant which covers a 3rd of the surface. I…
    15 August 2019
  • Charlongo79
    Re: Plant Problems
    We bought a miniature water lily 3 years ago and for the last two years it has had lovely small leaves and flowers on it. This year however it is…
    13 August 2019