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Low Voltage Garden Lighting - Colour Temperatures & Kelvin Scale

Low Voltage Garden Lighting - Colour Temperatures & Kelvin Scale

We hope you have read our previous blog discussing 'watt on earth' lumens are!  Hopefully it was helpful.

Here we describe another side to lighting.  Lighting is measured in terms of temperature (Kelvin Scale) and that can impact your garden lighting design.

Haven't you heard? LED lights are cool!

Actually, most of them are a 'warm white', but whether they are 'warm white' or 'cool white' they will make your garden look awesome in the evening at dusk and at night.  

They'll also not leave you feeling guilty at the energy usage or expense due to their extremely low electricity consumption!

Firstly, the basic principles of light temperature. 

Kelvin Scale ThumbThe Kelvin Scale?........Who and What?

The Kelvin Scale (K), was named after the Belfast born engineer and physicist William Lord Kelvin (1824–1907).  In this context it's used to reference the colour characteristics of light, measured in terms of temperature.

Low Voltage Garden Lighting - Kelvin Scale

As a baseline comparison, sunlight is about 5500 K at noon, when the sun is directly above the earth.

At sunrise and sunset, sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere and is filtered more.  As a result we experience the deep red appearance and as it rises through to yellow....any further you shouldn't be looking directly at the sun!

How We Reference Light in everyday terms

All light sources have varying characteristics, from the 'warming' red glow of a fire to the 'ice cold' LED blue.

The glow of a candle flame as an example will help define the theory.

The hottest part of the flame is blue in colour, gradually shifting to white, yellow and ultimately through to red.

Red has always been referred to as a warming colour but in fact it is one of the coolest colours in the spectrum, at around 800 deg C to 1,000 deg C.

The classic 'cool blue' would be approximately 6,000 deg C.   That's not cold at all!

Consider the effects the LED colour will have in your garden or outdoor lighting.

There are no rules to's simply personal preference!

Some people like a 'warmer' light whilst others like a 'cooler' light.  It's bizarre that what we interpret as 'cool' light is actually a higher temperature than 'warm' light!

Setting aside differences in personal preference there are some design tips you can consider.

'Warm white', will add a more traditional, relaxed feel to your garden lighting, enhancing earth tones and colours. Warm white is a colour typically associated with lighting in your lounge or bedroom.

'Cool white' sources tend to demand more attention, compliment the more contemporary garden with a cleaner palette of whites or metallic elements. Known to increase concentration 'cool white' is commonly seen in commercial spaces or areas in the home like your kitchen or utility area.

To help illustrate, the example below shows two Deimos wall lights with different light sources.

Instantly you can sense a feel of warmth and tone from the warm white light source on the left. Use to create a calming, intimate atmosphere around your patio or decking.  This type of light enhances and deepens organic colours so is good for uplighting natural brickwork and plants.

The Deimos wall light on the right, with a cool white light source included, provides a more crisp, fresh white that will look great, for example, against rendered walls. Try using a cool white to demand more attention to the more prominent features in your garden.

Deimos wall lights, warm white vs white LED


Our Design Tip:  We like to keep our design to one type of light in one area rather than 'mixing and matching'.  In reality, it doesn't matter and try different lighting to gain different impacts and effects!

Looking for more design information? please see our webpage 'Lighting Design For Low Voltage Lighting - It's Easy!!'

Hopefully this brief explanation has helped. Please feel free to contact us with your design queries.


Thank you for reading our blog....from the team at

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