Window Lights are wonderful way to greet visitors to your house at Christmas, and here Andy Taylor reviews Konstsmide's contemporary and traditional range of Candlesticks, Welcome Lights and Silhouettes.
Whether contemporary or traditional, Outdoor Christmas Lighting adds a magical dimension to everyone's celebrations. With modern technology, Nathan James Dodd suggests that there's a huge choice of lighting and brilliant effects to satisfy even the most vivid imagination.
Whether the aim is to impress the neighbours or you just want to brighten the winter darkness with colourful lights, you'll have no trouble in satisfying your creative zeal.
For many years we were satisfied with rather lack lustre static displays, but then along came game changing LEDs, revitalising Outdoor Christmas and Party String Lights with intense light, vivid colour and mesmerising movement.
Now you have sets such as Premier Multi-Action Supabrights. Up to 960 tiny bright LEDs in an array of colours can be static or chase, flash and dance around the outside of your house and garden.
They have the added advantage of being energy efficient as do the same company’s Multi-Action String Lites, sets of warm and ice white lights with no less than eight functions that can be sensor or remote controlled.
Yet another Christmas lighting innovation are Cluster Lights with as many as 2000 white micro LEDs on individual strands that come off a main cable, forming a tinsel-like caterpillar. They are also multi-functional to create a beautiful atmospheric effect.
One of the best ways of creating a display is with Konstsmide 24v Low Voltage Extendable LED Christmas Lights, a very versatile method that is robustly constructed with heavyweight cabling and weatherproof connectors.
As the system operates on only 24volts, it's very safe to use and simple to set up. 100 metres of lights containing long lasting, energy efficient LEDs can be powered from a starter set. With low energy costs, you can afford a splendid display with many different effects that fully reflect your creativity.
Leading manufacturers Konstsmide and Premier both have an impressive range of outdoor Christmas lights and illuminated garden ornaments, and the most iconic at this time of the year is Festoon Lighting.
So traditional, these colourful classically shaped bulbs remain extremely popular year after year, especially now that they have been updated using energy efficient LEDs instead of wasteful filaments.
Ideal to decorate a porch, attach to guttering, drape over a tree or line the path to your front door, Konstsmide's multi-coloured Outdoor Christmas Lights bring with them memories of yesteryear. Although they use far less energy than before, their vividness is certainly not diminished, in fact just the opposite.
Premier's low voltage Frosted Balls are multi-functional with eight different modes. Both their and Konstsmide's hanging lanterns are redolent of a Dickensian Christmas and illuminate dark winter evenings with nostalgia.
Clear LED bulbs are offered by Lumineo, a high quality lighting manufacturer in the Netherlands and Konstsmide, the lights are connected by black cable which is easily concealed.
If connecting to mains power is difficult or impossible, don’t forget that battery and solar powered lighting sets are also available. One example would be Premier’s LED Battery Time Lights, with three AA batteries powering 200 LEDs.
Icicle lights are another great example of contemporary lighting that has been achieved through new technology.
Sets of 50 icicles of various lengths spread over 16ft can be used as part of the extendable light system, together with any other compatible lighting and this goes to show the system's versatility.
Multi-action snow tubes and icicles, such as Premier Snowing Shower Lights provide fascinating light and movement that is almost hypnotic.
The same company's low voltage Snowing Icicle LED Christmas Supabrights have multiple colour variations and a speed controller. Multi-Action Nite Lites Snowing Icicles have warm white, ice white and multi-coloured LEDs that can be controlled by a light sensor or remotely to fade, slow glow, twinkle, flash or a combination of these effects.
Of the multitude of other lighting effects that are available, Light nets look fabulous wherever they are used, either as curtains of bright dots of light or placed over shrubs and trees in the garden.
What of Christmas Characters and Figures? Iconic personalities such as Santa Claus, Snowmen together with the animals that we associate with this festive time of the year – polar bears, reindeer and penguins.
Internal LEDs illuminate Christmas Silhouette Lights and are favourites with children. There are cheerful snowmen with blue buttons and carrot noses in a number of poses, posting cards, ringing bells, ski-ing and sweeping snow.
Father Christmas is pictured driving a steam train full of presents, with a sack on his back or just waving at passers-by. Reindeer look particularly elegant in ice white acrylic, their sparkling filigree bodies pictured prancing, grazing and at rest.
From opposite ends of the earth, polar bears and penguins can also play a part in your Christmas display, with delightful depictions that will enchant all your guests. Although there's no guarantee he'll take any notice, other novelty items include a 'Santa Stop Here' sign.
To line your path, why not use Solar Powered LED Star Pathway Lights blue, multi-coloured or white, each bunch is laden with stars and can shine brilliantly even where mains power isn't possible.
Beautifully ethereal in a variety of sizes and styles, Konstsmide Twig Trees have grown enormously in popularity over the years. They shimmer in the darkness and with the delicate tracery of frosted branches that is simple as well as stunning.
In the frosty garden, the Konstsmide Outdoor Illuminated Christmas Tree simply spikes into the ground and its bright clean light shines intensely through the night. Flowering Japanese cherry trees, some erect others bent over like bonsai, feature twigs and branches that glint with gorgeous coloured blossoms.
Resembling a glittering firework against the black sky, the illuminated white twig tree has a sprinkling of white fairy lights. Weeping willows are elegantly stunning and the Birch Tree Grove from Lumineo is starkly striking covered in warm white LEDs.
Finally, even the most traditional wreaths and garlands that decorate front doors throughout the country haven’t escaped a makeover. They have been given impetus with mains or battery powered LEDs illuminating the pine cones, foliage and berries.
Nathan James Dodd
With high winds increasingly affecting most parts of Britain, many people are likely to be contacting their insurance companies regarding damage caused to sheds, greenhouses, fences and other garden property. Robert Hall explains how GardenSite can help with an insurance quote and claim.
With gardens becoming smaller, neighbours closer and roads busier, we all suffer from different types of noise pollution. But, as Andy Taylor reports, Forest have now come up with a new kind of fencing that minimizes this nuisance.
Although gardening activity in February may not be so frenetic as during the summer months, there's still plenty to be done and Spring is just around the corner. Nathan James Dodd suggests the jobs you should be tackling in the garden this month.
Dan Everton helps you look after your pond during the February with some tips on the precautions you can take to avoid the water freezing over, and advice on keeping fish at this time of the year.