It’s common for people to go overboard with landscape lighting. The most important thing to remember when installing the lighting is that a little can go a long way. Before you get started, I suggest looking around your yard at night to help you plan how you want your spaces to look. Here are some tips to help you with your landscape lighting purchase and installation.
Purchasing the Lights
Lighting is seen completely differently during the night than during the day. There are two factors to consider when choosing your lighting: intensity and color. To determine the color of the lightbulb, check it’s packaging for the number between 1800 kelvins (reddish tone) and 7500 kelvins (blueish tone).
You’ll then need to choose between the following 3 layer options: task, accent, or overall. Task is used for paths and other specific purposes, accents are used as spotlights, and overall light will illuminate an entire room or space.
Incandescent bulbs, halogen bulbs, fluorescents, and LED are all suitable for outdoor fixtures. I highly recommend LED bulbs. While they are more expensive, the cost is worth it for the bulb’s extended life and low energy consumption. The other bulb options can emit pleasing light and color range, but typically have shorter lives and consume much more energy.
When selecting which fixtures to use for your landscape lighting, ensure that the fixtures are rated for “UL wet protection” use. There’s a variety of fixture options, including sconces, chandeliers, ceiling fans, lamps, and wall fixtures.
The final decision you’ll have is choosing how to power your landscape lighting. You’ll have the option of integrating lights into your home’s wiring system or installing solar landscape lighting.
Installing Landscape Lighting
Installing outdoor lighting is very different than indoor lighting. There are lots of things to consider in order to install landscape lighting successfully.
While you won’t have to worry about reflection being an issue for outdoor lighting, you will have to be cautious about avoiding glare. You don’t want your lighting source is too big or bright. Be sensitive to direct versus indirect light. Direct landscape lighting will brighten the object it is directed at and little of it’s surroundings, whereas indirect light creates a soft wash by reflecting on the surrounding surfaces.
Pay close attention to the areas that require lighting the most. Areas that are “musts” for lighting are those that provide a welcoming and secure area of illumination and help highlight the best features of your home. Here are some examples of areas that require landscape lighting:
- Driveway (low voltage lighting is best)
- Steps (the risers or the treats can be lit for safety)
- Paths (avoid glare with downlights or try individually lit pavers)
- Entries (you can place the lights on each side of a door or overhead)
- Decks and patios (try illuminating a specific task area, such as the cooking area, railings, or seats)
- Architectural features (Highlight a wall by washing or grazing it using a wide beam of light aimed from a few feet a way to create a wall wash and create highlights and shadows
- Gazebos and pergolas (these are beautiful and deserve to be highlighted!)
Avoid Outdoor Light Pollution
Outdoor light pollution due to too much light or lighting that is not properly installed, washes out the stars, creates glare, and ruins the look of your landscape lighting. To avoid this, be sure to check your lighting frequently at night to ensure they are positioned and aimed carefully. Also, use fixtures that have reflectors and shields in order to concentrate the light in the correct spot. Lower wattage lights can also help because they won’t be as harsh as higher wattage bulbs. Using timers, controls, motion sensors, and dimmers can help you control the light by only turning them on when needed and/or enabling you to turn them down when necessary.
Holiday lighting filters and colour changing filters are a popular type of landscape lighting used all year long. Custom LED lighting colors can be created for outdoor holiday displays, team spirit themes, company colors, or special events. Consider using the Luxor ZDC lighting system from FX Luminaire. It provides zoning and dimming, and the ability to provide a spectrum of 30,000 different colors! The color fixtures can be mixed with white lights, the controller is compatible with a variety of LED fixtures, and can be controlled using the app!
How can I help?
I hope these tips can help you with your DIY landscape lighting projects. Contact us if you have any questions or need any help. I’m always happy to offer my professional knowledge, guidance, and support. Be sure to also check out our other tips, video tutorials, and our high quality products.