Light It Up
Adding lighting to outdoor ponds and water features gives owners a way to spice up their creations, enhance nighttime enjoyment of their pond, highlight waterfalls and other key features, and illuminate walkways for safety.
Recent developments in technology give pond owners unlimited options in underwater, floating and terrestrial lights, which retailers can use to increase sales and profits.
For many years, underwater pond lighting consisted of sealed halogen fixtures with clip-on colored lenses that were available individually, such as Oase’s Lunaqua and Savio Radiance single lights, or in multiple sets like TetraPond’s Triple Light Set or Alpine’s Power Beam kits.
This technology, however, is giving way to more versatile, maintenance-free and energy-efficient LED lights. Options include plain white diodes from companies like Aquascape, or red, blue and white combinations by Alpine Corporation, Sunpark Electronic Corp. and many others, which can be programmed to change colors automatically or set on a desired color. Most come with photocells that turn the lights on automatically as darkness falls and off at sunrise. Most can be used in or out of the water.
Sizes range from miniature single LEDs for whiskey barrels and other small applications, to tens or even hundreds of diodes per fixture for larger ponds. Underwater lights can be placed beneath waterfalls, bridges or fountains to create stunning displays, or simply tucked between rocks or put in strategic locations around the pond to highlight plants, statuary or other key features.
For those not satisfied with standard underwater lighting, floating globes and spheres can add that extra touch. Powered by either conventional low-voltage transformers or integrated solar panels that recharge NiMH batteries, these lights can be set among lilypads or even staked along walkways or in flower beds.
Smart Solar’s Chameleon Smart Globe, for example, can be placed in water, but also comes with a garden stake, a pedestal for use on any flat surface, and can be set on fixed red, green or blue, or programmed to cycle through the entire color spectrum. All solar-powered lights must be placed in full sunlight to properly recharge their power sources. The number of hours the light remains on at night will be a function of how many hours of direct sunlight they receive during the day.
Illuminating a fountain can create sensational effects at night, and manufacturers are incorporating lighting into fountain heads for quick and easy installation. Cobalt Aquatics, for example, offers 8 or 12 LED lighted fountain heads available in white, blue or color-changing models that are compatible with their Cobalt Fontana Professional pumps, or adaptable to any standard one-half inch or 1 inch fittings, respectively.
Alpine manufactures an easy-to-install illuminated floating fountain that includes an adjustable flow pump, flotation ring with 48 ever-changing red, white and blue LEDs, as well as tether and anchor.
Pond lighting does not have to be confined to the water. Several companies now offer illuminated artificial flowers that can be used to light paths or placed around pond perimeters. Toland Home and Garden offers their Blue Solar Art Glass flower kit, while Alpine Corporation has a more affordable silk Solar-Powered LED Rose Garden Light, available in red, white and yellow. Poly-resin tulips and several other solar-powered flowers are also available.
Another option is accent lights encased in artificial rocks that can be placed around a water feature or in flower beds for added enhancement. These are available in halogen and LED formats, and come with or without removable colored lenses for added effect. Halogens are powered by low-voltage transformers, while many LED units have built-in solar panels. Integrated photocells turn them on at night and off during daylight hours.
Creating an effective display is essential to generating interest and subsequent pond-lighting sales. Retailers who are fortunate enough to have an indoor water feature should make sure they include one or more working pond lights in the display. In lieu of a working water feature, consider choosing a darker area in the store for a dry display; and set up a powered low voltage light system. Use rockwork, driftwood or artificial plants, and even fake fish to maximize the effect.