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Balcony and terrace lighting – mood lighting

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The right lighting on a balcony not only provides light, it's also pleasing. It lights up your plants at dusk and at night, creating a magical, beautiful atmosphere. Even without using electricity.

Of course, your balcony also delights the senses during the daytime. Different shapes, colours and smells reward your efforts and have a calming effect. But your little garden takes on a different aspect at night. This can't be seen in the dark unless you provide outdoor lighting for the balcony. This emphasises certain features, highlights individual plants or groups of plants and uses lighting to create an effect. Your creativity and sense of fun will know no bounds. There are numerous types of lights for outdoor use to showcase your creative ideas. Some don't even need to run off the mains.

The right lighting for every occasion

But before you go shopping for lights, think about what you want to achieve from the lighting. Because the choice of solution will depend on this.

  • Spotlights highlight one or other individual item on your balcony. You can position them underneath or to one side of plants. When it gets dark, plants that lead a rather shadowy existence in the daytime are under the spotlight.
  • Light garlands and fairy lights in the branches of shrubs or trees in a pot create a wonderful atmosphere with a varied mix of light and shade. They are also good as backlighting and emphasise lines.
  • Candles and charged Chinese lanterns and lanterns produce a warm light. This is cosy and romantic – just right for an intimate summer evening for two.
  • Solar lights use the energy stored in the battery. However, they have a limited capacity. Which means they're usually not very bright.

A light is not just a light

We are already familiar with the different types of bulbs. The solar-powered ones mainly use LEDs. They consume relatively little energy. If you connect them to the mains, they are much brighter and have a larger colour spectrum than the models that run on solar energy. As LEDs are quite small, they can be used flexibly. This is also the case with halogen lamps. However, they consume a lot more energy and get quite hot. This means they shouldn't be placed too close to sensitive plants. This is not a problem with energy-saving lamps. But they frequently go out and their design means they contain mercury. This is ecologically unsound. If this type of bulb burns out, it has to go in the bin.

Consider electricity

If you don't just want to rely on solar lights or similar battery-powered solutions, you will need to provide an easily accessible power supply. This means cables and sockets suitable for outdoor use. They should be waterproof and resist continuous strong sunlight, excessive heat or frost. If you are planning to install a lot of outdoor lighting on the balcony, we recommend seeking expert help. They will know exactly what equipment will meet your requirements as well as those of the home electrical system. This means you won't end up fumbling around in the dark because of a blown fuse.

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Functional lighting for good visibility

Do you just want a bright light for finding your way around on the balcony in the dark, reading or a beer after work with friends at well-lit table? Then you'll need functional lighting. Apart from your creative efforts, the only thing that matters here is good visibility. This highly-focused purpose does not rule out decorative outdoor lighting on the balcony, but it does limit the possibilities. Also, if you overdo the functional light, your balcony will be bathed in harsh light. Which means it won't be homely.

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Lighting to create atmosphere

Everything feels much better when you have cleverly placed spotlights. It gives you a lot more freedom. Effect lighting means you can highlight specific plants, accentuate your horticultural effects and create specific moods, depending on how you feel. Ideally you will use outdoor lighting that can be adjusted by dimming, creates different colours or automatic colour changes and that is easy to control. Either by timers that switch the lighting on and off at pre-set times of day, or by using an app on your Smartphone, which you can link to a smart home system. Of course, this requires the corresponding hardware.

How to illuminate – a few tips

As mentioned at the beginning, there are few limits to your creativity. As a guide and to help you get started, some general tips are useful – regardless of the technique and purpose of the outdoor lighting on your balcony.

  • However beautifully the balcony may glow in the dark, during the day the lights should as invisible as possible. Install them as discreetly as possible and conceal them cleverly in plants or attach them inconspicuously to the balcony rails. Another option is to use unusual lights, which are visually interesting even when switched off and are objects in themselves.
  • Coloured lighting can create interesting effects on colourful flowers or green plants. Just try out different combinations.
  • If you want to highlight individual plants, avoid lighting them from above. It looks better if you have outdoor lighting from below or the side.
  • Using lots of less bright lights creates a more harmonious effect than a few, strong lights. These produce very harsh contrasts. Exception: functional lighting. Here, bright light is required.