Illumination Street is an annual competition that takes place each December. The competition hopes to inspire families to get creative with decorations and lighting in their front gardens in the run up to Christmas.
It’s a fun way to indulge in the nation’s passion for lighting up their properties during the festive season—and will bring some welcome Christmas cheer to neighbourhoods across the country.
Illumination Street is pioneered by horticulture expert and TV gardener, David Domoney, who is working in partnership with UK garden centres to launch the 2020 campaign for festive front gardens.
The competition winners will be announced on December 22 and there is £5,000 worth of prizes up for grabs in a range of categories including Best Community Display and Best Children’s Display. To enter the competition visit the Illumination Street website to register your home—and if you need some inspiration, here’s a few ideas to help you plan your décor:
Pre-lit holly garlands will spruce up fences and gates. We love this 3m garland which will create a real statement in your front garden. Pre-lit with 40 warm white LED lights, it is suitable for outdoor use and easy to install.
Top tip: Allow the garland to drape a little between the fence posts and add ribbons or baubles that coordinate with the rest of your decorations to tie your theme together.
Get seasonal with Santa
The pandemic has meant that even Santa has had to social-distance this year, meaning little ones haven’t had the chance to meet The Big Man in the run up to Christmas. But there are many garden ornaments featuring Father Christmas that will bring excitement to any children who walk past your property.
Aldi’s online shop has a 1.8m inflatable ‘Santa In The Chimney’ in which Father Christmas moves up and down the chimney! The kit includes all the guide ropes to keep it secure and has a 10m cable and a timer so it’s easy to set up.
For a more whimsical Santa, Whitestores are offering a pair of 72cm tall Santa statues that will impress your neighbours. With their white beards and post-box red coats they’ll provide a jolly welcome when placed either side of your front door.
Of course, wherever Santa goes, his reindeer are never far behind. This stunning LED stag is large enough to form the show-stopping centrepiece of your Christmas garden, with 240 bright white lights to illuminate it as darkness falls.
Get the glow
Let your imagination run wild and festoon your front garden with fairy lights. More is most definitely more when it comes to Christmas illuminations as this house in Germany proves. The owner and his family spend three months each year installing over 500,000 bulbs! Replicate the look with minimum hassle by investing in a ‘Curtain Light’ which covers the front of your home with up to 2000 bulbs that can be operated from a single plug.
The sheet of lighting can also be draped over a large tree, or wrapped around porch pillars, to create a sparkling Christmas welcome to your home.
For a more subtle take on lighting, icicle lights have been very popular in recent years and create a real wow factor when hung from the eaves of your house. Choose from warm or bright white – and look for a set of lights that has both static and flashing options to add interest to your garden design.
Make sure you choose Christmas lights that are designed for outdoor use and can withstand winter weather conditions. And always test your lights before you string them around your house or garden—it’s much easier to find a blown bulb before you’ve spent your time putting them in place.
The finishing touch…
For the final welcoming touch to your winter wonderland, add a Christmas wreath to your front door. There are styles to suit every home—from a traditional holly and berry wreath to a modern take on the festive wreath with white foliage, LEDS and silver glitter.
You can also get the kids involved by taking them for a muddy winter walk to gather pinecones, evergreen and berries to decorate your homemade decoration.
Get inspiration from National Trust gardens
The gardens of National Trust property Belton House, near Grantham, have been transformed for the festive season. Belton House is inviting families to visit their magical after-dark trail where giant luminescent candles light the way to a shimmering meadow of light.
Giant baubles and snowflakes can be found in the woodland, where trees are decorated with ribbons of changing colours. The whole experience is enhanced by a soundtrack of festive classics and will give you plenty of inspiration for your own Christmas garden decorations.
Other National Trust Properties are hosting ‘Ignite’— a trail of light, lanterns, fantasy and fire. Visitors are asked to ‘expect the unexpected’ as they wander through an after-dark, family friendly wonderland.
For a list of Ignite venues, visit the National Trust website. The venues have detailed their latest Covid-19 details, including no groups larger the 6 people and the wearing of face covers in indoor areas, or where social distancing is not possible. All venues are asking visitors to pre-book tickets in advance.
Register your Christmas garden creations.
If all this has inspired you to take part in Illumination Street, then register online at their website. Remember, judges are not looking for the biggest and most expensive displays. The competition is all about finding innovative ways in which your home can bring merriment to the community, even in the smallest of gardens or rockeries.