Your pool lights have a major impact on the appearance and functionality of your pool. They enable you to use your pool safely and enjoyably at night, and also highlight your swimming pool as a stunning design feature in your backyard. But how do you create an effective pool lighting design, and which type of pool lights should you choose?
Here we offer our guide to everything you need to know about pool lighting, so you can get it right the first time.
When should you plan your pool lighting?
Planning the lighting is an essential part of the process when you are purchasing a swimming pool. The lighting needs to be installed at the same time as the pool, so it is important to have your lighting design completely planned out before any building work commences.
This is also the ideal time to plan the lighting for the rest of your landscaping, as you will have a clear idea of how the backyard will look once the pool is in place. By planning the rest of the lighting at the same time as your pool lighting, it can all be installed together, saving time and money and giving your backyard a stunning new look once the pool is finished.
It is essential to consult with an experienced electrician when you are planning your pool. They will be able to help you create an effective and safe lighting design, and make sure that your lighting is positioned so it can be wired into the mains. This is a job which has to be done by a licensed professional, to ensure your pool complies with safety regulations.
Which type of pool lights should you choose?
There are three types of pool lights used in New Zealand:
1. Incandescent pool lights
Incandescent lighting is the traditional type of pool lighting which was used for many years. However, it is now considered old-fashioned, as it is expensive and harmful to the environment. A large number of incandescent bulbs are needed to light a swimming pool, so the cost can be extremely high, especially as the bulbs tend to need replacing two or three times a year. This is a job which can be difficult and time-consuming, so it is a lot of hassle for pool owners.
Incandescent lighting also has the unwelcome side effect of making your pool water appear green at night, due to the harsh yellow glow given off by the bulb filaments. This detracts from the appearance of your pool, making it look unclean.
2. Halogen pool lights
Halogen lighting is cheaper and cleaner than incandescent lighting, as halogen bulbs use up to 20 percent less energy. They also last longer, cutting down on time spent maintaining your pool. For these reasons, incandescent bulbs have widely been replaced by halogen in more recent years.
The main disadvantage of halogen lighting is the cost. While halogen bulbs use less energy, saving you money on your household bills, they cost approximately double the price of incandescent bulbs. They also tend to give the same green appearance to your pool water, so they do not particularly improve the aesthetics of your pool at night.
3. LED pool lights
LED lighting is the most modern, efficient and attractive way to light your pool. It is kind to the environment and your budget, as it is highly energy-efficient, converting all of its energy into light instead of producing heat. For this reason, a six-watt LED bulb can produce as much light as a 100-watt halogen bulb, saving you a considerable amount of money on your energy bills. As a result, the vast majority of new swimming pools in New Zealand are now installed with LED pool lights.
LED bulbs also last much longer than any other type of pool lighting, so you do not have to spend so long on pool maintenance. In addition, it gives off a pure light without using a filament, so it does not give your pool water a green appearance, making the pool look cleaner, better maintained and more attractive.
Pool lighting and safety
One of the most important reasons for pool lighting is that it makes your swimming pool safer after dark. This enables you to get more enjoyment out of your pool for longer in the evenings, and also makes sure the pool is a safe environment for children at all times. Your pool should be well-lit enough to be clearly visible at night, as this cuts down on the risk of accidents.
Because of this, the amount of lighting you need will partly be determined by the size and shape of your pool, and partly by the region where you live. In a highly populated city or town, there is plenty of ambient light at night, so your pool will be more visible. However, if you live in a more rural area, you are likely to need more pool lights, as these areas are much darker at night.
You also need to make sure the lights are positioned in a way which makes every area of the pool visible. The pool steps need to be highlighted particularly well, so everyone can climb safely in and out of the pool at night. Curves and dark corners should also be well-lit, as should water features or spa areas, to ensure everyone can swim unobstructed after dark as safely as possible.
Creating an attractive pool lighting design
Your pool lights need to enhance the appearance of your pool, so it is important to create a lighting design which showcases the pool at its best. The pool is usually the central feature of your backyard design, so the lighting needs to highlight the pool, showing off its beauty at night. By making a real focal point of the pool, you make your entire backyard stand out as luxurious and attractive. There might also be some areas of the pool which you particularly want to show off – water features always look spectacular at night with the right lighting.
Once your pool lighting is right, you can then plan complementary lighting for other areas of your backyard, to create a unified design. At the planning stage, you need to think about how you will use your pool and the areas surrounding it, so you can create a practical lighting scheme. For example, if you plan to do a lot of outdoor entertaining, you will want the poolside area to be strategically lit, so everyone can see clearly while still creating some atmosphere.
By creating a beautiful lighting design, you add to the appearance and functionality of your pool and your entire backyard, increasing the enjoyment you get from your pool and adding value to your home.
Colour options for pool lighting
LED technology has revolutionised the ways we can light our swimming pools. Thanks to innovative red, blue and green LED pool lighting systems, you can light your pool in any colour you choose, as these three colours can be combined in different ways to produce every colour on the spectrum. Any time you feel like a change, you can easily adjust the system to light your pool in a different colour.
Many LED systems can also be programmed to create a sequence of colours, so the pool lighting is constantly changing colour. This adds some real personality to your pool design and is ideal for creating the right mood lighting for a pool party.
Even if you choose simple white lighting, the light from LED pool lights is so pure that your pool colour will stay true to its daylight appearance. White lighting can give your pool a classy and stylish look, making your property truly stand out once the sun goes down.
Pool lighting for Little Pools
At the Little Pool Co, we have tried to think of everything to make your pool installation as simple as possible. As Little Pools are designed to be instant solutions which you can plug in and start using straight away, we have ensured they come with everything you need, including LED lighting as standard.
However, we believe that just because a pool is prefabricated, it should still be as customisable as possible, catering for your personal tastes so you can love your pool even more. That is why you have the option of upgrading your pool lighting to a multi-coloured LED system, to make more of a feature out of your Little Pool.
We are also happy to offer advice on landscaping and creating an effective, safe and practical lighting design for your poolside areas. If you would like to find out more about this topic or any of the other customisation options that Little Pools offer, please contact us, and our team will be glad to answer your questions.