Basic Guide To Landscape Lighting Like A Pro
Done the right way, outdoor landscape lighting can accentuate focal points and hide eyesores. It can also enhance your home’s safety and security and create a warm, inviting atmosphere for outdoor entertaining. However, although landscape lighting provides so many benefits for your home, it is often either overlooked or underdone. Here are some tips to help you plan and execute your landscape lighting like an expert so that you can fully appreciate the beauty of your home’s exterior and benefit from proper outdoor lighting.
Determine the Purpose of Your Landscape Lighting
Before you start investing in any landscape lighting fixtures, you need to ask yourself what your purposes are for adding illumination in your backyard. One might be to set a relaxing ambience during the evening. Another purpose would be to increase security in shadowy areas in your garden. You might also want to emphasize certain features of your backyard, such as a water fountain or pond.
Create a Sketch of Your Yard
Once you have determined your reasons for adding landscape lighting, the next thing you will need to do is sketch your yard. In your sketch, include all, buildings, trees and shrubs, benches, decorations, and existing lights in your garden. All of these items will either reflect light or absorb it. Approximate the height of each of these objects, particularly the foliage.
Match the Purpose of Landscape Lighting with the Objects in Your Backyard
Go back to the reasons you’ve defined and match these to specific locations in your backyard. A relaxing outdoor space can be achieved by hiding landscape light fixtures under the shrubs. You can also illuminate a bench along the path by installing a pole type lamp behind it. If you have a water fountain, you can enhance this with a spotlight.
Decide How Much Effort You Want to Invest in this Project
The easiest landscape lighting project would involve solar lighting, without any cords to be hidden. Just remember to position them where the photovoltaic cells in the lighting fixtures receive sufficient sunlight during the day to produce enough illumination at night. Low-voltage landscape lighting would only require an outdoor receptacle and a transformer which will convert the 120 volts coming from the household line to 12 volts to operate your landscape lights. The landscape lighting that will require the greatest amount of effort to install is 120-volt lighting as the wiring for this type of garden lights need to be buried 18 inches deep or encased in a conduit to protect it from water. For this, you will need the assistance of a licensed electrician to install the electrical components.
Set a Budget and Purchase the Lights
It helps to be aware of your options and their respective costs. The least expensive option for you would be solar lights, because they depend solely on sunlight and an inbuilt photovoltaic device to operate. There are no installation costs or operating these will be much cheaper, too. Low-voltage landscape lighting cost around $30 to $300 per light and can easily be installed by any do-it-yourselfer. The most expensive would be high-voltage landscape lighting at $100 and up per light plus the cost of labor, as you will need to hire an electrical contractor to install the wiring.
Set Up the Lighting
Installing a single bright light that would shine directly on the object you wish to highlight will create harsh shadows. Consider using a few landscape light fixtures with lower intensity bulbs instead and position these at several angles and distances. Install landscape lights that create soft spots of light along garden paths and space them at equal distances. Blue tinted lights will help you achieve a moonlight-type feel in your garden landscape.
By spending some time to carefully plan for your landscape lighting, you can save time and money for installing and operating your outdoor lighting.