There is a lot to landscape lighting than putting lights on your walkway. Proper landscape lighting improves the appearance while strengthening security around your home. However, you need to balance the mood and atmosphere by using the appropriate light. This is why it is advisable to have a professional design your landscape lighting. It is also fine to design your lighting concept yourself as long as you follow some simple rules.
Whether you want to get a professional or do it yourself, you need to install lights in the right way to get that perfect balance. Keep reading to learn the Dos and Don’ts when it comes to landscape lighting.
What to Do
- Vary the light intensity on different parts of your property. Using the same light everywhere makes your landscape appear flat. Different textures bring out your landscape features well. If you want to illuminate your patio without leaving a glare effect, you can light trees and boulders.
- Consider using shadow together with lights. This juxtaposition of light and shadow can help you create the right atmosphere and can highlight the texture of your landscape fixtures. Having shadows near the fence or pool helps add depth to flat surfaces.
- Use enough light fixtures to get the best effects. While you might try to save some money on lights, you might end up affecting your overall look. If you want to save money, you can do the installation in phases, with the first area of focus being your house. Doing this will save on money and help you achieve your desired look.
- When you use light on trees, focus on the trunk as well. Focusing the light on the canopy can give the tree a ghostly appearance, which is not good unless it’s Halloween.
- Use LED energy-efficient lights. Nowadays, there are LED lights that provide the same warm and soft lights as halogen bulbs.
- Focus on lighting the immediate area around the house before you start looking at outdoor lighting fixtures. The house is the most crucial area of your property, and you need to ensure it has enough light. It also helps highlight the walls and other architectural features of the house.
- If you want to focus on a particular fixture or aspect of your property, you can use multiple layers of light, instead of using spotlights directly. This way, you will create a more dramatic effect.
What Not to Do
- Do not focus the light on trees, patios, and walkways alone, as this will isolate them. No one wants to see darkness when they try to relax outside. If your compound is like this, you can place lights on the landscape edges to remedy this. Using landscape lighting will help ground all parts of your patio and give your element depth.
- Do not use the same lighting on pathways and staircases. Pathways do not create shadows, but staircases will, especially if they aren’t properly lighted. If you place the lights on the top part of the staircase, you will create a shadow at the bottom, and the shadow will make it hard to see what is at the bottom of the stairs. If you have narrow stairs, you can use one light on each riser. If your staircase is wider, you might need more lights.
- Do not put too many lights around one fixture. Doing so will take the focus from the fixture to the lights. Also, do not use sensor lights as security lights as they encourage trespassers. You are better off using bright lights all the time. If a trespasser wants to go into someone’s property, they are likely to go to the compound that has dull lights.
- Do not use bullet lights everywhere. Bullet lights have the same effect as spotlights and are best for corners. However, soft lights could be perfect for a facade.
- Do not be stingy when lighting landscape features. You can create harsh lights when you use one light to illuminate statues and water features. You are better off using two low-intensity lights to prevent overshadowing.
- Do not use solar lights unless you live in a very sunny area. Solar lights are not consistent as they depend on the weather. The quality of solar lighting fixtures is also lacking. If you are energy and environmentally conscious, you can use low-voltage LED lights.
- Do not pool outdoor lights. You should avoid placing lighting fixtures too close to each other. You can overlap lights on stairways as it will help provide enough lighting.
Tips on Outdoor Lighting
Here are some helpful tips for landscape lighting beginners who want to DIY.
- It is better to install underground wiring in your compound after planting. Ensure you bury the wires at least 6 inches under the surface, and do not put wires in your garden. Burying the wires will prevent you from accidentally chopping the wires off when digging.
- You need to upgrade your outdoor lights from traditional halogen lights to LED lights. The fixtures can remain as you will simply be replacing the bulbs. LED lights last longer and will give the same warmth as halogen lights.
- If you are unsure how the lights will look in your landscape, you can experiment using clamp lights. There are software programs available to help you test your lighting design effects. You can put in your landscape design and lighting choices. It is best to use clamp lights at night to see the results. Remember to pay attention to stairs and pathways for safety reasons.
Starting a landscape project is fun as you get to try new things. Experiment as much as possible until you achieve perfection. Now you know what to do and not to do when it comes to landscape lighting. If you are new to landscape lighting, you can consider hiring a professional. If you have more experience, you can feel more confident doing it yourself. The sky is the limit when it comes to creating your perfect landscape. All you need to do is know what you want and go for it.