Pond Lighting – Illuminate Your Water Garden

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Written By Mark Washburn

Mark has 20 years of experience as a professional pond management consultant.

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There are a many things you can add to a water garden to bring color and vitality to it’s appearance but few will have the impact like a well placed display of pond lighting. Add some underwater lighting to a koi pond and your fish will literally shine as they lazily swim along.

Many people truly enjoy spending time around their pond during the day but with proper pond lights in place you can extend your leisure time pondside well into the evening hours as well. Really in terms of designs and layouts, just about anything goes as there are a number of lighting options available.

Pond Lighting Options

In most ponds it’s suggested to use a variety of light placements and types for the best effects. Options to work with include submerged lighting, spotlights, floating light kits, fountain lights, light bars, and solar powered lighting. Not all lighting needs to go in the pond as well and landscaping and waterfall areas can be highlighted. Most kits come with optional colored lens or light diffusers to soften the lighting effects.

Many kit manufacturers are working on systems that will provide more presentation options with increasing colors, transitions, and some degree of programing which will make managing the effects more simple and easy.

Also keep an eye out for LED displays which use light emitting diodes to create illumination. Historically LED’s would give of a blue hue or blue cast that wasn’t consider attractive by many pond people. Recent advances in technology however have improved colors and LED’s use lower voltages than halogen bulbs. It’s important to consider the initial cost and working life of the various bulbs and usually the long term cost of running LED’s over halogens is better, despite the fact that LED’s may cost more upfront.

Planning The Light Layout

Ideally it’s best if you can do some pre-planning on the type of effects you want in your pond. Research presentations by looking through pond catalogs or online resources and try to determine what might look best in your pond and meet your personal tastes. It’s fairly easy to determine by looking what types of lighting are being used, and then it’s just a matter of finding the right components for your layout.

Power availability is useful but due to increased options and quality improvements, solar pond lighting is a viable choice for many installations. Depending on the models, these may not have quite the power of an AC system.

An additional thought that may not be mentioned often enough concerning light placements is to consider safety around the pond. Lighting can provide additional protection from various accidents if it’s used correctly and this is another reason why most pond owners eventually consider adding lights to their pond.

Additional Tools And Tips

We can’t leave the topic of safety without talking a little bit about electricity around the pond. All electrically powered devices, including lighting, must be powered by a line that includes a GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupter. GFCI’s protect you in several ways. First, they shut off the electrical current if a ground fault occurs, and secondly they’ll go off in the event of an overload on the circuit or something shorts out.

To save on costs, it’s suggested to use a timer with your lighting system if possible. This just makes life easier and it will save money in the long run. Some lighting kits are motion activated and these in particular are helpful in regards to pond safety. As odd as it may sound, people have accidentally fallen into a small pond in the dark.

If a pond lighting kit is set up correctly and proper precautions are in place, your pond can be a safe and tranquil gathering place for friends and family. No doubt many of them will remark that the lighting makes your pond stand out in ways that it never did before.

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