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Garden Lighting Idea: This Ikea Pendant Lamp Survives the SoCal Elements

On a recent rainy day trip to Ikea, our local furniture maze, we took a wrong turn and ended up in the indoor lighting department, where we noticed the store is still carrying the Foto Pendant Lamp. That’s when we realized: This indoor pendant lamp has been the only outdoor light that hasn’t yet tripped out a breaker over the past five years.

That’s right, it’s an indoor light. We purchased our 15-inch aluminum Foto lamp five years ago for $29 dollars as the most economical and modern solution at the time. Today this lamp is essential to the look of our garden — if you grow it, flaunt it, even at night! — and remains a rare option for outdoor illumination. Plus, it continues to weather the occasion storm here in Southern California. It’s sturdy, it’s industrial and it’s stylish without ever trying to steal the (ahem) spotlight.

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When we examine the construction of this lamp, it appears weatherproof from the top. As a test, we sprayed over the top of the lamp (while it was unplugged) with a garden hose for a few minutes and not a drop of water came through the electrical connection to underside of the lamp. We’ve only seen some minor oxidation on the aluminum body over the past five years, and that can be easily polished away with an aluminum polish.

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The cord penetration through the top of the lamp seems to have a watertight seal at the top. The top portion is removed above.

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The Foto Pendant lamp comes in three sizes. The 10-inch and 15-inch versions have conveniently long 15.5-feet cords. Suprisingly, the 20-inch diameter lamp has only a 6-foot cord.

Truth be told, and, we imagine, for liability purposes, IKEA does not market the lamp for outdoor use nor does it necessarily meet IP code for weather resistance. We have the Foto pendant lamp plugged into a dry outdoor receptacle with a functioning ground-fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) to reduce the risk of shock in case of water intrusion.

For our installation, we hung the lamp from a cable spanning from the house to our schefflera (umbrella) tree. We zip-tied the cord along the cable to the GFCI protected outlet.

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The lamp takes a standard bulb.

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When we search “modern outdoor pendant lamp” on Amazon or Google we can’t find a basic modern outdoor pendant lamp at a better value. How are you lighting your garden this spring?  —TH

Our saucer-like pendant lamp illuminates our succulent table at night.

Our saucer-like pendant lamp illuminates our succulent table at night.

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