8 Tips for Outdoor Lighting Success

Creating a breathtaking outdoor lighting scheme is an admirable goal, but one that takes a lot of planning and work. With these helpful tips, however, you can illuminate the path to a charming and functional landscape lighting design.

Start With Basics

Entry lights and garage lights should be your first point of focus. Lighting walkways and entry points to your home not only makes sense, but also adds to the safety and functionality of your home.

Pick Accent Spots

Next, choose favorite areas of your yard that you'd like to illuminate with accent lighting, such as a stately tree or a yard sculpture. Remember to keep a narrow list, because accenting too much of your yard will overwhelm what you really want to stand out.

Consider Function

Knowing how you use outdoor spaces will help you plan your outdoor lighting scheme. If your family often eats dinner on the back patio, or a walkway to your home is particularly trafficked, you'll want to account for this in your lighting design.

Choose Simple Style

It's usually a good idea to stick to one kind of fixture for down lighting and accent lighting. Combining styles will detract from the lighting itself and draw too much attention to the fixtures, creating a "busy" effect that can overwhelm the eye.

Join Forces

Make the most out of your outdoor lighting possibilities by assembling a crack team of professionals. A landscaper can help you with design layout and take care of the hands-on yard work, while a good electrician can lay out a wiring diagram and handle all of your electrical needs.

If you choose to do your electrical work solo, be sure to take your time and install the lighting devices correctly. It will mean a longer life for your light fixtures and less maintenance down the road.

Avoid Over-Lighting

Use spotlights sparingly in your landscape lighting scheme, and keep bulb wattage low to avoid an institutional or "penitentiary" feel. Think of emulating a bright moonlit night, rather than the middle of the day.

Plan for Switches

Keep in mind the points of entry inside your home, like the garage and front door, and plan for light switches there. Also, install a control switch in the master bedroom for safety and convenience.

Install a Timer Device

Realistically, no one will be admiring your masterful landscape lighting at two AM. Give your neighbors and your electric bill a rest by installing timers to control your landscape lighting cycle.

Now that you have some basic ideas, get started on designing your own outdoor paradise!

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