A comfortable ambiance exists in many
gardens, but this becomes more difficult to maintain once darkness
falls. Most pathway and garden lighting is good for finding your
way around, but an outdoor party requires better ambient lighting,
especially for guests managing food and drink. Floodlights positioned
on the house and fences often produce glaring light; acceptable
for working, but not conducive to a pleasant, relaxing environment.
It was the search for a comfortably lit night-time garden party
that led our homeowners to this design. By using five lamps across
the length of the garden, each of low wattage (25-40 watts is
recommended) and diffused through a 14" lucite globe, the
garden is comfortably lit from above with no glare in anyone's
The Suspended Globe Lights seen
below were designed to meet existing electrical codes without
the need for an electrical contractor's license other than to
provide the 110 volt electrical circuit with a GFI circuit breaker.
The light string used was purchased off-the-shelf with Underwriter's
Laboratories approval untouched and the product unmodified.
The light fixtures and cabling are an
exterior-grade construction lighting string. The globes are suspended
around this, and everything is attached to the vinyl covered
steel messenger cable which supports the entire installation.
For ease of maintenance, the messenger cable can be lowered and
raised from a ratchet windlass on the pole supporting the back
end of the light string. The pole in this example is a 4"
X 4" 3/16" thick square steel tube. Directly below
are two views of the light system (above from the house deck,
and below from the rear of the yard.). Although neither photograph
shows them, the string is actually 5 lamps, not the 4 seen.
Below left, the lights have been lowered
for maintenance (bulb replacement, globe cleaning). The lower
right photo shows how the globe assembly simply surrounds the
UL approved outdoor light string. Note that the native yellow
of the construction light string has been covered with weather-resistant
gray electrical tape to make the cable less conspicuous from
The steel support post (overall length
21') can be seen below left with a small "tent" welded
on at the top to help protect the pulley for the messenger cable.
Below right is the ratcheted windlass under a small roof used
for raising and lowering the light string. The post was cleaned,
sanded, primed, and painted its full length prior to being set
in concrete to protect it from corrosion. The final finish is
2 coats of oil-base satin enamel colored "spruce green"
to help it blend in with the garden.