When done right, landscape lighting can brighten your home's exterior while making it safer for your family to host a backyard barbeque. You don't need to spend a lot of money or hire a professional to make your yard stand out for outdoor living, even after the sun goes down.
When it comes to highlighting your home's architecture, making your property safer, and drawing attention to your beautiful lawn after dark, here are a few exterior lighting dos and don'ts to remember.
Do Begin by Lighting Your Home and Garage
The priciest, largest, and most noticeable structure on your property is your home. The second is typically the garage. Focus most of your budget and lighting on your house and garage. Start by installing lights at each door. Next, install uplights and point them toward the walls and any architectural details, including the arch above the front door or the ornate shutters on the attic window.
Light the walkways going to your home and garage. Avoid installing the fixtures in a straight line or using uplighting. Instead, choose overhead lights, which shine lights down on the sidewalk, making it easier for you and guests to watch for tripping hazards.
Finally, light your trees and other points of interest on your property, such as a backyard gazebo or small fountain. Illuminate smaller, out-of-the-way spots around the perimeter of your house, garage, garden, and lawn. This will highlight less-noticeable, beautiful areas on your property and create fewer hiding spots for trespassers.
Don't Rely on Completely on Solar Lights
Solar lights are a popular option because they allow you to illuminate your walkway or draw interest to your garden without breaking the bank or relying on electricity. Unfortunately, solar lights are unreliable, especially during the fall and winter when there is less sunlight.
Using a combination of solar lighting and electric lighting allows you to save money on your utility bills while ensuring you have lights when you need them. Invest in LED, or light-emitting diode, outdoor fixtures and bulbs. According to the United States Department of Energy, LED bulbs use 75 percent less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs.
LED bulbs also produce far less heat than traditional light bulbs, do not contain any potentially-dangerous chemicals commonly found in some light bulbs, including mercury and fluorescent, and will operate no matter what the temperature.
Do Keep It Simple
Adequately lighting your walkway and drawing attention to detail on your home's exterior will make your property look beautiful at night. When it comes to creating a beautifully illuminated exterior, less is often more. Avoid pointing several lights on the same spot on your home, lighting up every inch of your walkway, and pointing a flood light at every tree.
In addition to needlessly driving up your energy bill, shining too much lighting at your home, trees, and garage will make any imperfections noticeable, rather than highlighting the beautiful features on your property.
Don't Start Without a Plan
Before you start shoving fixtures into the ground or installing post lamps along the path to the garage, create a simple plan. Draw a simple sketch of your property and the best place to install fixtures. For example, if you have a two-story home, stagger the lights to ensure some are illuminating the first floor, and others the second floor.
Once you have a rough idea, mark the area where you're planning on placing the lights on your property. If they don't look right, take this opportunity to rethink your plan. It might take some trial and error, but you will create a plan that will work for your property.
Creating an immaculately lit property doesn't require a lot of money or professional expertise. Remember that safety comes first and to choose LED bulbs to save money on your electric bills.
When I was young, I loved helping my mother in the garden. Our yard was filled with plants and flowers that she kept in immaculate condition. Once I was an adult and bought my first home, I learned that there was much more to landscaping a yard than I ever imagined! After a little trial and error planting a few flowers in my yard that died quickly, I realized the technology that is available to aspiring gardeners makes trial and error a thing of the past. After I found out what my "hardiness zone" was, I realized I was planting flowers made for much cooler climates, and I played around with software that let me design my yard very easily! I learned a lot throughout the experience, so I thought I would share my tips with everyone who needs them. Come back often to check out my new tips!