A swimming pool is a wonderful design feature that can elevate the value of your home. More importantly, it’s a venue for partaking in fun family bonding sessions. It’s also a great place for entertaining family and friends, whether it be for a barbecue or an all-out pool party. On an individual level, having a swimming pool also means endless opportunities for relaxation or hours of full-body exercise.
To best enjoy your pool, you need to have the reassurance that you can use it any time of the day or night. This means selecting the best lighting elements for your pool area.
Getting the lighting done right can mean a number of essential and incidental benefits for you. Read on to find out what these are, and get the advice you need to get your pool lighting choices and design sorted out.
Advantages of Pool Lighting
Installing pool lighting offers advantages that can impact both the safety and aesthetics of your pool. Below are some of the benefits of good pool lighting:
- Enhances safety in the pool area by improving night-time visibility, especially if there are children and pets in the household
- Improves safety in neighbouring sections (such as the entire yard) where the light can spill over
- Extends the duration of pool use well into the evening and even till dawn time
- Adds a sense of drama or a mysterious vibe to the pool area
- Creates a magical poolside ambience as lighting is reflected onto the surface of the water
- Positively affects the mood depending on the selected lighting colours
- Helps define architectural and design elements such as pergolas, gazebos, fire pits, walls and decks
- Highlights water features such as waterfalls, ponds, spas, fountains, and bubblers
You can set the tone for your poolside sanctuary through the strategic use of lighting. By making use of the right selection of swimming pool lighting elements, you can turn an ordinary pool area and backyard into a magical and relaxing corner in your home exterior.
You can use mood-enhancing lighting to make the place more dramatic or festive. If you’re someone who delights in entertaining, you can change up the lighting and décor depending on the holiday. You can also use lighting to complement special celebrations such as birthdays and engagements.
Different types of pool lights
Thanks to innovation in the field of lighting technology, people today can choose from a wide variety of lighting options. For swimming pools, there are two main types of lighting that are usually considered. However, cost considerations, as well as energy efficiency, always remain top-of-mind when it comes to choosing the best pool lighting elements.
Traditionally, incandescent bulbs were used for many decades in households and home exteriors. However, we now know that they use too much energy and have a short lifespan leading to high energy bills and more waste. More energy-efficient fluorescent light bulbs came later, and have since taken over incandescent light bulbs in terms of popularity.
For pools, however, two relatively newer lighting options have proven popular:
1. Halogen lights
When halogen bulbs came into the picture, they eventually replaced incandescent light bulbs as standard pool lighting. Compared to incandescent lights, halogens were more energy-efficient, durable, and environment-friendly.
The downside, however, is that they are more expensive, costing twice as much as fluorescent bulbs. And although they are more durable than incandescent lights, they still require regular replacement, with an average lifespan of 2,000 to 4,000 hours. These factors, then, have made them a less-than-desirable swimming pool lighting option.
2. LED lights
Light-emitting diode or LED lighting has impacted the world of lighting, way beyond swimming pool lighting, of course. LED light bulbs are budget-friendly, have the longest life spans (can be more than twice that of compact fluorescent lights or CFLs), and are highly energy efficient.
When compared to a 100-watt halogen bulb, a LED light can produce the same amount of light (measured in lumens) while using only six watts of electricity. LED lights can feel cool to the touch even when they are turned on because they are covered with heat sinks that displace the heat. They do not contain mercury so they are clean, and are also cold-tolerant.
Like CFLs, LEDs can be fitted with energy-saving features such as dimmers and sensors. This makes them a great choice for both indoor and outdoor lighting. Since they have long lifespans (an average of 50,000 hours), they also require less maintenance and fewer replacements. This is precisely why LED pool lights have become a true crowd favourite and the best pool lights for new swimming pools in Australia.
Other advantages of using LED lights
We already mentioned that LEDs are energy efficient, have a long lifespan, and are cost-effective in the long term. However, there are more benefits to using LEDs for your pool:
- They come in a multitude of colours: You can set the mood poolside and make the area look more inviting with the clever use of multi-coloured LED light bulbs. You can also light up pool area events with coloured lights that complement event themes. For example, you could choose green, gold and red for Christmas, green and gold for Australia Day, and your favourite colours for your birthday.
- Some LED lights can be paired with apps and customise: Aptly referred to as smart bulbs, they can be dimmed, scheduled (on and off), and controlled remotely using your smartphone, with some even coming in colour-changing options. Examples of these include the iLumi Color Tunable LED Smartbulbs, Insteon LED Bulb, and Philips Hue Lux LED. There are also LEDs that feature snap-on filters for quick colour changes.
- They are a great pool and home safety feature: LED pool lights have a higher frequency. This means that the light they emit is perceived as brighter and bluer by the human eye than incandescent light. This means that you can get your pool area well-lit with only a few LED lights. However, to avoid the blinding effect of LEDs when you are walking from a darker area to a well-lit section of the house, consider lighting up nearby sections of your property, not just the pool area.
- They can complement your property aesthetics: Since there are a variety of design options to choose from, you can select LED lights to complement the overall look of your property; in this case, the pool and backyard area. Of course, the fact that they come in a rainbow of colours adds to their ability to beautify places where they are properly used.
LED pool lights – an easy and practical choice
As mentioned earlier, smart bulbs that are programmable can be scheduled to turn on or off at set times. This further enhances the energy efficiency of LED light bulbs as they turn on and off as and when they are needed. No more forgetting to turn them off when morning comes!
Smart bulb lighting systems can also be integrated into home automation technology. They can be controlled remotely through your smart home system. So, for example, during the holiday season or for an upcoming poolside birthday party, you can program them to “twinkle” at a set time at night, and what colours to use, so the moment you get home, you are met with festive, fun lighting right away.
How to determine the number of pool lights you need
In order to find out exactly how many lights you need for the swimming pool section of your home, you need to take the following into account:
- The swimming pool shape and size
- The current, available lighting in the area around your pool
- The colour and aesthetics you want to achieve for your pool area
A large pool naturally would require more lights than a modestly-sized one. If your place is located in a wooded or rural area with less ambient light sources, you should consider getting more lights installed in your property, not just the pool area. This will help reduce the incidence of accidents, especially if you have young kids and pets as well as elderly family members.
The shape of the pool is also an essential consideration so that, whatever the shape, you can ensure all sections remain well-lit. The same goes for when you have a spa section and shower area. Be sure to put extra lighting near footpaths and steps for added pool safety.
If there are certain architectural elements or water features that you wish to highlight in your pool area, make sure they get adequate lighting after dark so they get the attention they deserve.
Pool light placement
Even before the swimming pool is built, a pool lighting design should already be set for implementation. This design must consider the pool size, shape, landscaping around the pool as well as specific design elements in the area.
Lighting for inside the pool
There are a number of submerged or below-the-ground pool lights to choose from as they come in a wide variety of colours and features.
- Flush-Mounted Underwater LED Pool Lights – These lights are flush with the pool wall when installed. They should ideally be among your first lighting considerations as they are the easiest to install while pool construction is ongoing.
- Surface-Mounted Underwater LED Pool Lights – These lights stick out beyond the pool wall. A great pool lighting option, they can even be added to those pools which have already been completed.
- Submersible LED Lights – These pool light types are a perfect choice for pool owners who like taking the DIY route. They do not require any installation as all you need to do is to allow them to simply sink to the bottom of the pool. This way, they can illuminate the surface area of the water.
Lighting for the area around the pool
Once you’re all done with your main pool lighting, you can start imagining how you want your backyard or pool landscape to look at night. Of course, colour, brightness, shape and the number of lights are all important factors to consider. Some poolside favourites are:
- Pool Garden Lighting – You can integrate this type of lighting into your pool landscape as well as the pavement. These include barn lights, pathway lights, step lights, spike lights, string lights, bollard lights, lantern lights, and deck lights.
- LED Flood Lighting – To bring a yard to life, you can make use of floodlights for illuminating large sections of your outdoor space.
- Feature Lighting – Use feature lighting to highlight key design features in the pool area. You can be more creative by changing pool light colours remotely to make your pool and yard space more vibrant and attractive. Use spotlights to emphasise the beauty of garden statues, individual plants, and architectural design elements.
Whatever lighting elements you think you might like in your pool area, it’s a great idea to speak to a trusted licenced electrician during the planning phase of your swimming pool project. They can best advise you on what lighting elements will work best with the pool design and the best pool lights for you. They might also have some ideas to help you achieve the visual impact you’re aiming for.
Light up your pool right
The beneficial effects of getting the right lighting system installed with your pool are undeniable. Aside from addressing obvious safety concerns, the right lighting elements can lead to enjoyable nightly swimming sessions, and make your pool area a true visual delight.
So before deciding on a lighting system, be sure to get the input of your pool consultant or pool builder, as well as the electrician who will be working on installing the system for you. This way, you’ll get the best lighting elements that can withstand the test of time, and light up and beautify your swimming pool for a long time.
If you need help with your swimming pool requirements, you can always give us a call at Natural Pools. We’re always ready to help and give you valuable tips to ensure you get the pool of your dreams.