Outdoor lighting is just as important as interior lighting. It can turn ordinary into extraordinary by adding depth and highlighting the best points of the landscape. It can add an air of luxury to your home and a lower price than redesigning the entire garden.
It also lights the walkways and gardens aiding people in their navigation through the garden at night and it helps deter the bad guys. Once you decide to install lighting outside, see it as an extension of your home. The lighting you choose should be approved for outdoor use and remember that you will need the power to supply the light. It should be a warm glow that invites guests to feel relaxed, not something that makes them feel like they are under interrogation at the police department.
1 – When Fail to Plan, You Plan to Fail (Benjamin Franklin)
Plan, Plan, Plan then check your plan and plan again. The way you approach interior lighting is the same way you approach architectural exterior lighting. Keeping in mind wiring, placement of lights, focus area and future plans. You may decide to extend an area of the garden or redesign it sometime in the future. If you don’t plan correctly, you will double the work and the cost when you expand. Don’t try to complete the project all at one stage. When you lay out your plan do it in stages that you complete one at a time. This will ensure you don’t overlook something or have to re-do anything.
2 –It’s Not the Big Top at the Circus
Light is beautiful and necessary and helpful to all mankind. However, mankind does not like to be awakened at midnight by a glaring light shining through their window into their face. Likewise, you don’t want to light your garden like a football stadium. Too much lighting impairs visibility of the night sky as well as anyone standing just outside the perimeter you set up. It is also one instance when the light isn’t mood enhancing. Bright lights in the dark make people uncomfortable and anxious. The atmosphere takes on a harsh “noisy” tone. If you want your guests to leave early, flip on all the lights. They will have no problem finding their way out.
3 – Opting for Low-Grade Fixtures
You can get away with cutting a few corners on some types of projects, but lighting for the exterior of your home should not be one of them. Inexpensive doesn’t always mean poor quality. However if you choose substandard lighting now, you will be replacing it a few years from now. This is not a project you want to do over again because your light system went out leaving you in the dark. It is important to know what the standards are for outdoor lighting and make sure the manufacturer’s product has passed the benchmark tests. Inquire about technical assistance and the warranty. A good manufacturer will stand behind their product. Fixtures should be waterproof and withstand the elements, including humidity, rain, and snow.
4 – Not Keeping Up With the Times
A good lighting plan will include programmable features such as timers. With the technology available today, automated systems and motion sensors will save you time and money. Timers allow you to program the lights to turn on at sunset and off at sunrise. Motion lights light up the area when movement is detected then turn off again after a specified period of time-saving on energy. Most lighting systems today come with remote controls or smartphone applications that will let you control the light when you are away, or just too lazy to get up off the couch.
5 – Not Quite Bright Enough
We’ve talked about how NOT to light up your home and garden, but don’t go under a board and use too little either. Your finished design should not make your home look like the haunted house on Halloween gloomy and spooky and filled with ghosts. The beam of light should extend to the top of an object, not just halfway. The spread of light should not be too weak to light up the entire focus area. Many batteries powered and cheap solar powered lights are underpowered and they appear dim. Regardless of how good your plan is, if the lights aren’t bright enough to showcase your landscape, then all your hard work will be hidden in the dark.