How to Choose Spike Lights for your Garden?

Spike lights can have any light head attached as long as those light heads can be securely mounted on a spike. Allowing users to choose between hundreds of design combinations. But the sheer number of spike light choices can be daunting for customers.

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So, to demystify the process of spike light selection. We have put together an easy-to-understand guide on spike lights.

This article will give you the detailed insight necessary for understanding the basics of spike lighting. By the end of this article, you will have a firm grasp of spike light selection.

What is Spike Lights?

Spike lights are light fixtures mounted on long, narrow spikes for easy installation. This type of lighting is limited to soft soil so that the spike can be easily pushed into the ground with little effort.

A key benefit of using spike lights is their flexibility. You can endlessly readjust, reposition or reorient your lights after installation. Spike lights are preferred for landscape and garden lighting as they don’t require a cement base for mounting.

spike light
spike light

How to Choose the Right Spike Light?

In order to choose the best spike light for your garden, you need to consider the following factors.

Material

Your first important decision should be the material choice. Spike lights are inserted into the ground, where they will presumably stay for the rest of their life. Underground the metal spikes will be exposed to water, fertilizer, and pesticides. Over time the spike will degrade and corrode.

The material for the light head does not need to be the same as the material for the spike, as the heads will be above ground at all times.

Spike lighting often uses aluminum or steel spikes. Here is a simple table illustrating the properties of steel and aluminum.

MaterialStrengthCostCorrosion Resistance
AluminumHighLowMedium
Carbon SteelMediumMediumLow
Stainless SteelHighHighHigh

Wattage

The LEDs inside light heads come in various wattages. Higher wattage LEDs produce more light, but they also run hotter. Energy efficiency is not essential for small gardens that will only use a handful of spike lights. But for more extensive gardens, the power cost can creep up.

Spike lights don’t need high wattage LEDs since their primary goal is to light nearby plants and trees. And you can use a separate lighting system for ambient mood lighting in your garden.

Additionally, you can use higher wattage LED spike lights but spread them out around your garden. This way, you will use brighter lights but fewer light fixtures, resulting in the same power draw.

Power Supply

We talked about the wattage of LEDs, but now let’s discuss how you will power these LED spike lights. Spike lighting comes in two types, solar-powered and traditional grid-powered. 

Solar Spike Lighting

Solar spike lights are a great environmentally friendly and cost-effective option. However, solar lights do have an initial installation cost. Solar lights require a separate power setup that will store the energy during the day and dispense it to the spike lights at night. 

Traditional Spike Lighting

Traditional grid-powered spike lights are a lower-cost option. They don’t require additional electrical work to set up, as they can be powered directly from your distribution box. However, they will end up costing you more over time, in the form of electricity bills.

Once you have decided on the type of spike light, you need to select a cabling option, underground or above-ground.

  1. Underground cabling is more costly because it requires weather resistance conduit and additional labor to install. It has a much better, cleaner aesthetic, and you can rest assured no animals or pets will try to chew on the cables.
  2. Above-ground, cabling is cheaper and easier to install. And you won’t notice the cables at nighttime as they will be hidden in the grass and unnoticeable at night.

Beam Angle

The beam angle is a metric used to measure the light spread of a light fixture. Higher beam angles will result in broader light coverage and vice versa.

Wide beam angles are useful when lighting one large subject or many smaller subjects. In the case of garden lighting, wide beam angles are an excellent option for lighting large bushes or flower beds.

Conversely, narrow beam angles are for highlighting and accent lighting a subject. For gardens, narrow beams are helpful in highlighting trees.

You can mix and match beam angles to provide even coverage of your garden. Just make sure your light fixtures are similar in design for a uniform aesthetic. Light fixtures are less noticeable at night, but you will be able to see them clearly during the day.

beam angle comparison
beam angle

IP Rating

IP stands for Ingress Protection, and the IP code is a set of guidelines that define the water and dust resistance of electronics. The IP rating determines how much water or dust particles can enter a device.

It consists of two letters (IP, Ingress Protection) and two digits. The first letter represents the size of the particle that can enter a device. At the same time, the second one describes water resistance.

For IP65-rated lights. The “6” rating means the device is entirely dust-tight, meaning no dust particles can enter it. While the “5” rating means the device is capable of withstanding small water jets.

If you still find the standard confusing, just remember that higher IP ratings are better. Typically, outdoor lights should have a rating of 44 or greater, with IP68 being the ideal rating.

Ease of Maintenance

Maintenance is typically not crucial for light fixtures, but outdoor lighting fixtures have a higher chance of failure. The most common types of failures for spike light fixtures are LED burnout, light head damage, and corrosion.

Spike lights that come as one complete unit with no method of removing the light head from the spike can create maintenance issues. If anything goes wrong, you would have to replace the entire light fixture. This results in additional costs, then necessary. Additionally, if your specific spike light model is discontinued, you may not even have the choice of replacement.

Ideally, you should select a spike light model that comes in two separate parts. And can be joined together using standard screws and bolts.

Ease of Installation

The benefit of spike lighting is its installation flexibility. You can simply pick up the light fixture and push it into the ground. Easy installation is a crucial criterion for larger gardens, where you would be installing multiple light fixtures.

Watch out for the following spike light fixtures.

  1. Cable management. Your lights should have a simple method of cable attachment and management.
  2. The Light head should be easily attached to the shaft with as few steps as possible.
  3. The Spike design should allow you to push it into the ground easily.
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Spike Lighting Customization Options

This section aims to provide you with additional information to help you choose the right spike light. Where the previous section focused on practical factors necessary for spike lighting, this section is all about the design factors that will help you achieve your desired aesthetic design.

Light Head

Light heads are the easiest way to customize your led garden lights. They are the only part of spike light fixtures that are above ground. Spike lights are compatible with almost any type of light head, spotlights, gimbal heads, floodlight heads, etc.

You can also focus on small light heads if you want a minimal design that is barely noticeable and blends into the background. Or you can use a bold design approach and go for a design that truly stands out.

Different light heads have different functionality. Some are designed for spotlights, while others are designed for floodlighting. You can even mix and match light heads for proper garden coverage.

Brightness

Brightness is an excellent way to customize your lighting setup. If you lack ambient lighting, you can use higher brightness LEDs to illuminate your outdoor space fully.

Following are a few methods of utilizing bright spike lights in outdoor lighting setups.

  •  Use multiple light fixtures to illuminate sitting areas in your garden.
  • Point bright spotlight heads towards your garden fence. The reflected light will bring a soft illumination to your garden.
  • Use floodlight heads to illuminate the base of a tree.

Color Temperature

Color temperature describes the subtle hint of blue or yellow hue in the light. LED lights come in various colors, ranging from cool sky colors to warm sunset colors.

Color temperature for LEDs is measured in the unit, Kelvins (K), with 5000K-6000K representing pure white light. Higher kelvin lights will be cooler (bluer), while lower kelvin lights will be warmer (yellower).

Color temperature is essential for mood lighting, and different colors invoke different feelings.

  • Warmer lights are preferred for cozy and comforting lighting
  • Cooler lights are preferred for task-focused lighting

You can also incorporate both warm and cool lights in your garden lighting system.

color temperature scale
color temperature scale

Fixture Design

Finally, the most impactful method of customizing your spike lights is fixture design. A light fixture is an electric device that contains a light source. This includes the actual LED unit as well as the outer housing of the LED.

Light fixtures come in all shapes and sizes, these variations include the LED light bulb size, the light head shape, and the design of the spike base. You can choose a design that best suits your aesthetic style. A popular fixture design involves a minimalist black body. The spikes end up underground, but the mounting brackets for the light head and the light head itself remain above ground. Black is a popular color as it blends in with the landscape and is barely noticeable even in daylight.

You can also go with a colorful design that matches your garden fence, like a copper or bronze look.

Garden Lighting Ideas using Spike Lights

Spike light fixtures have limitless potential in terms of design and customization. Here are a few garden lighting ideas to help you get started.

Hidden Outdoor Lighting

Let’s start with the most straightforward lighting technique. Hide your garden lights behind bushes for a clean under glow look. This style is beneficial for anyone who likes lighting up their garden but is not a fan of large light fixtures in their garden.

This style is also very cost-friendly. Since all your lights will be hidden, you don’t need to spend extra to get some fancy light fixtures.

But this style does have its drawbacks. 

  1. You are limited to spotlights. As all your outdoor light fixtures will be hidden behind bushes, the only direction you can point your lights is upward, using a spotlight.
  2. They have limited installation locations. Your garden lights must be behind a bush or garden ornament to fully take advantage of the hidden light’s aesthetic.

Standalone Solar Garden Lights

Solar lights are the future of landscape lighting. Since that can run on very little power, You can store energy during the day and use it at night. Standalone solar spike lights improve on this concept even more. These outdoor light fixtures are cordless with an inbuilt battery. They don’t need to be connected to a power grid, meaning you can simply stick them in your garden and turn them on when it’s nighttime.

Built-in light sensors are not necessary for solar lights. But for lighting large outdoor spaces, light sensors are a key feature that should not be overlooked.

  • This is cost-effective, as you don’t spend money on cabling, inverters, or batteries. And if you want finer control, you can choose expensive models that come with an automated wiring system.
  •  Any drawback of this lighting style is offset by its ease of use and low cost. However, be mindful of light fixture quality, in addition to the factors mentioned above. Poor quality solar lights have flooded the market, and you should be mindful of such products.

Orb Lighting

Orb lighting uses light diffusers shaped like little spheres. This creates a unique illusion where glowing orbs of pure light illuminate your garden. The best thing about this lighting style is that it can be used with any preexisting light fixtures. Re-installing lights can be a hassle, but here, you can just place a spherical diffuser that can cover your existing garden lights.

This technique of garden lighting is not meant to be hidden. It is there to be proudly displayed in the center of your garden. Orb lights are bright but they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for ambient lights.

There are a few considerations that you need to take when using sphere lights. 

  1. Orb lighting is effective when placed in the center of your outdoor space, as it is a non-directional lighting fixture.
  2. If you are using a spherical diffuser with your existing lights, you may not get the full effect, especially if you are using spotlights.
  3. Orb lights are bright but they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for ambient lights.

Lantern Lights

Gardens feel off with artificial lighting, and you need garden lights that can best mimic natural lighting to be effective. This is where lantern-style lights shine. These lights are designed to mimic the look of a traditional candle or oil lantern. They come with warm LED light bulbs that match the color of a candle flame. The combination of warm LEDs and the lantern shell will have a big difference in your garden space.

Lantern-style garden lights fit perfectly within any garden aesthetics. They are particularly suited to garden path lighting. And yield great results when used in conjunction with string lights or wall lights. Having little lanterns guide guests through your garden is an experience unlike any other.

  • These lanterns do require you to mount them slightly above the ground. Their spikes come with a spacer, so only half of the shaft goes underground.

Conclusion

Spike lights are an excellent choice for garden lighting. They are easy to install, come in all shapes and sizes, and are insanely customizable. When choosing the right spike light, you should consider your garden size, budget, and desired aesthetic.

Practical considerations like material choice, power supply, and water resistance should be your primary concern. Design choices will determine the look of your spike lights in daylight. Balance these factors according to your specifications to get the perfect spike light for your garden.

After reading this article, you should have a better understanding of spike lights. We hope you will use the information from this article when selecting a spike light.

If you are looking for LED lighting manufacturers and suppliers, we recommend checking our RC Lightning. We have an extensive catalog of Indoor and Outdoor lighting solutions. Our popular products include wall lights, string lights, path lights, and underwater lights.

We have no minimum order quantity and offer samples before order placement. To get a customized quote, Contact Us Now!

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