As homeowners, we work hard to select unique plants, trees, shrubs and flowers that make the outsides of our homes and landscaping beautiful and welcoming, but there is one aspect of landscaping that is often overlooked. When night falls, without properly chosen and placed landscape lighting, the beautifully planned and placed landscape design literally disappears. Make the most of your investment with landscape lighting that adds to the beauty of your evening curb appeal.
1. Don’t settle for Sparsely Placed Solar Lights
While many people consider putting a few solar lights along the walkway ‘landscape lighting,’ in reality, it is much more than that. It is the creation of a mood and atmosphere in your yard at night. With various combinations of lighting types and styles, you can turn your daytime yard into something magical at night. Landscape lighting combines the practicality of outdoor lighting with the beauty of landscaping.
2. Determine How Your Outdoor Space Will Be Used Before Beginning Your Design
Before you create your landscape lighting design, start with the outcome you are looking for when lighting your space. Is your goal to illuminate pathways and patios to prevent slip or falls when walking up to your home or are you looking to light up your backyard space for weekend entertaining? Maybe you’re hoping to highlight architectural features of your home so they can be seen from the street in the dim light of the evening. Or perhaps you’re adding landscape lighting less for aesthetic appeal and more for increasing your home’s security. Making goals for your landscape lighting helps you think outside of the box with your lighting design but also ensures you have all of your basic elements covered.
3. Make sure you have your Basics Covered
When determining your landscape lighting objectives, the following elements of your yard should be considered as “must-haves” to highlight in your lighting design.
4. Use LED Landscape Lighting for Extreme Long Life
The two most popular selections of lighting types for landscapes are halogen and LED. While halogen lights used to be the go-to source for landscape lighting, the versatility and durability of LEDs are quickly making them the number one choice.
If you’re wanting to do something unique with your landscape lighting, LEDs are the perfect choice.They have a flexibility that is not found in any other light source. They can be can be dimmed or brightened depending on your taste. This gives you the ability to create complex lighting effects and extra layers of subtlety.
5. Use a Combination of Overall, Task or Accent Lighting for Visual Interest and Variety
When considering what lighting to purchase for your project design, you have the option to illuminate your entire landscape (overall lighting), use lighting for a specific functional purpose (task lighting) or using lighting to accentuate an architectural element or object (accent lighting) – typically with spotlights or floodlights. Using multiple tactics within your lawn will create a “fuller” feel.
6. Position Your Landscape Lighting at Night
When positioning your landscape lighting during the day, you don’t get a full understanding of how your trees, shrubs, bushes and other yard elements cast shadows. You also run the risk of misplacing a light and shining light into a window or door of your home, for example, when the intent was for a softer highlight of your homes exterior.
7. Avoid Outdoor Light Pollution
Light pollution can ruin the effect of your landscape lighting project and typically happen in the following ways:
A good practice to avoid outdoor light pollution is to consider using lighting shields or glare guards.
8. Set Your Landscape Lighting to Timers
If you are like most busy homeowners, the last thing you want to do is spend valuable time remembering to turn your landscape lighting on at night and off in the morning. By setting your lighting to timers or dimmers, your home looks beautiful 24 hours a day with minimal effort on your part.
9. Select Lighting Wattage that Accents vs. Overwhelms Your Space
Selecting the appropriate lighting wattage for your project can have a dramatic effect on the outcome of your landscape lighting. Avoid high-wattage bulbs that create a harsh lighting feel and opt for lower wattage bulbs for a more elegant appeal.
10. Determine if you want Down-lighting, Up-lighting or Cross-lighting for a Gentle, Dramatic or Bold Feel