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Garden Day

How the correct garden lighting can affect wildlife

Friday 10 May 2024

In the soft glow of a garden light, the beauty of a night-time garden is something quite magical. However, the same lights that highlight the charm of our gardens can sometimes have unintended consequences on the local wildlife. By understanding these impacts and considering thoughtful solutions, garden enthusiasts can enjoy the benefits of outdoor lighting while minimising its negative effects on nature.

The impact of garden lighting on wildlife Garden lights, especially those that are bright or improperly shielded, can profoundly influence the natural surroundings for many creatures. Garden wildlife such as birds, insects, and nocturnal animals like bats and hedgehogs can find these lights disruptive. Excessive artificial lighting may disorient migrating birds, altering their navigation patterns, and similarly affect the natural behaviours of insects and amphibians, including their feeding and mating rituals. The brightness of these lights can also attract insects like moths and beetles, as well as frogs, pulling them away from their usual environments. This not only impacts these creatures but can also unsettle the local ecosystem, influencing the food chains and habitats that rely on these animals.

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The human benefits of garden lighting. Despite these challenges, garden lighting also brings a multitude of benefits to humans, enhancing the functionality and aesthetic appeal of outdoor spaces. Proper lighting can transform a garden into a serene haven for relaxation or a vibrant area for evening social gatherings. Additionally, it enhances safety by illuminating paths and steps to reduce the risk of falls and deterring potential intruders.

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Creating a wildlife-friendly garden
Here are several strategies to ensure that your garden lighting is as wildlife-friendly as possible:

1. Choose warm-coloured lights: Opt for lights with warm colours, preferably with a colour temperature under 3000 Kelvin. These tend to be less disruptive to wildlife than cooler, blue-toned lights, which can more closely mimic daylight.

2. Use motion sensors and timers: Incorporating motion sensors and timers can greatly reduce the amount of time your garden lights are on, lessening their impact on the environment. This way, lights are only on when needed, conserving energy and reducing light pollution.

3. Position lights carefully: Aim lights downwards to focus on specific areas and avoid spilling light into the sky or across a wide area. This focuses the illumination where it's needed and keeps it away from areas where wildlife might be affected.

4. Shield the lights: Using shields on your garden lights can help focus the light downwards and prevent it from spreading horizontally and upwards, where it is more likely to affect wildlife.

5. Maintain dark areas: Preserve some sections of your garden in darkness to provide safe havens for wildlife. These dark refuges can help ensure that there are spaces where animals can exist undisturbed.

6. Opt for solar lights: Solar-powered lights are an environmentally friendly option that reduces reliance on non-renewable energy sources. They also tend to emit softer light, which is less likely to disrupt wildlife.

By adopting these practices, garden lovers can create a harmonious balance between enjoying their beautifully lit outdoor spaces and preserving the natural rhythms of the local wildlife. In doing so, we illuminate our respect for the delicate ecosystems around us, fostering a deeper connection between our personal spaces and the wider natural world.


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