Pond Lighting Ideas to Make Backyard Ponds Shine at Night
Pond lights are an easy way to add night time ambiance to backyard ponds. There are many available koi pond lighting ideas that transform dark and uninviting places into secure settings by illuminating fish, plants, trees, rocks, decks and pathways in an almost magical way.
Safety must always be the first consideration when adding pond lights to your backyard. Water and electricity don’t mix and the consequences could be fatal so I only use solar powered pond lights or low voltage pond lights in the vicinity of my ponds.
Low Voltage Outdoor Lights
One of the most economical ways to make your home safer and to highlight architectural features and landscaping, including backyard ponds, is to install low voltage outdoor lights. Low-voltage electrical systems include a power pack (or transformer) that supplies the electricity. The power pack plugs into a standard outlet and reduces the regular household current (120 volts) to a safe 12 volts. Most power packs have an automatic timer allowing lights to go on and off at preset times. Low voltage lamps connected by cable are the source of light and are available in a variety of brightness levels ranging from 4 watts up to 50 watts halogen. The low voltage cable transmits the electricity and is a weather-resistant, self-sealing, insulated stranded copper wire available in 12-, 14- and 16-gauge sizes. The gauge required for your lighting is determined by the total number of watts drawn by the lamps:
- 16-gauge cable can carry 150 watts
- 14-gauge cable can carry 200 watts
- 12-gauge cable can carry 300 watts
Low voltage outdoor lighting has been around for years and is safe and easy to work with.
Solar Powered Pond Lights
The technology behind outdoor solar lights has improved in recent years and batteries are much more efficient and longer lasting in holding a charge. They can work in all seasons and are available in different wattage’s and colors. A key to using solar powered pond lights is to position the lights for maximum sun exposure. Some solar lights have a separate photocell component that can be placed a distance from the light itself so even a shady area can be lit up. If your garden pond and waterfall is in a location that precludes easy, cost effective access to electricity, solar powered pond lights provide a viable alternative.
Pond Lighting Technologies
There are 2 basic technologies in pond lighting – Halogen and LED. Both will work and there really is no wrong choice. Halogen lights are usually cheaper to purchase, will burn out faster and use more electricity. LED lights may cost more up front, but are more energy efficient, and will last longer. I have only used halogen lights personally, but the cost effectiveness of LED is improving by leaps and bounds and I may switch in the near future.
Types of pond lights
There are essentially 3 general classes of pond lights that can be used to make your pond standout at night. They all can be found in either the halogen or LED form.
Submersible Pond Lights
As the name implies submersible lights go underwater in the koi pond. Much like a pool lights, submersible pond lights are intended to give the water a glowing ambiance and highlight fish and plants. However submersible pond lights will also illuminate “anything” that is in the water. So unless your pond water is exceptionally clear like a pool, submersible lights can make the water appear even more cloudy. For this reason, I prefer lighting the pond itself from above which makes the colorful koi standout at night against an opaque black background. Koi are very beautiful pond animals and seeing them illuminated at night brings out the shine of their scales and the beauty of their coloring.
Where I do find the use of submersible lights to be spectacular is in lighting pond waterfalls and fountains. Submersible pond lights come with different color lenses and can be located behind waterfalls or under fountains to create magnificent night time light shows. Submersible ring lights are especially effective with pond fountains.
Floating Pond Lights
For additional effects in the pond at night, you can add floating pond lights. Floating lights are fun to watch because they bob and move with the current in the pond. There are many different kinds available including special effect lights that change colors gradually. They generally come as floating globes or in the shape of water lilies. Whatever style you choose, I recommend getting solar powered floating pond lights so there are no cords or strings attached.
Landscape lights are the third type of lighting to make your garden pond and waterfall features shine at night. This type of lighting can be used to frame the borders of your pond and to accent certain plants or features such as rocks or trees. If you don’t light your pond waterfall from behind, spot lighting it from the front creates a nice shimmering effect. If you have any paths around your pond or your backyard in general, it’s always a good idea to make sure the path is well lit for safe walking. Like floating and submersible lights, landscape lights are also available as solar lights so no wiring or electricity is needed.
Installing pond lighting is a natural extension of the decision to build the pond in the first place. A lighted pond is certainly beautiful at night and provides a way to enjoy your water garden at all hours. Safety concerns must be paramount and where electrical work is required, unless you are absolutely confident that you have all the requisite knowledge necessary to complete the work, a professional must be called. This concern is greatly alleviated to the extent solar powered pond lights can be used. Prices and availability for low voltage and solar powered pond lights can found at the following links:
Now lets’ put everything together and calculate the Cost to Build a Pond