What Should I Consider When Buying Landscape Lighting?

Ken Black

Landscape lighting may be one of the most overlooked features by homeowners when it comes to landscaping a private residence. However, very few features will provide as much of a dramatic difference as landscape lighting. However, there are some things to consider when looking at these lights.

Landscape lighting is often used to highlight walkways.
Landscape lighting is often used to highlight walkways.

First, consider how much of an area you want lit. Landscape lighting can be very striking when used in certain situations. However, if overused, it may become too overwhelming and not highlight appropriate features. Many choose to showcase just a few of the major elements of the garden or yard. This can not can create a more effective visual, it may also save some money.

Spot lighting can be used to highlight outdoor landscaping at night.
Spot lighting can be used to highlight outdoor landscaping at night.

Landscape lighting could also be used to highlight walkways. This has the obvious benefit of helping people stay on a designated path. At the same time, it can add a very appealing atmosphere through the middle of a yard or garden. Most landscape designers will say using landscape lighting for walks and stairs are a must.

Depending on the bush, tree, or boulder being highlighted there are several lighting effects to choose from. Uplighting use landscape lighting fixtures shining from the bottom up. Downlighting does the exact opposite. Spot lighting is used to create a central focus point for the viewer. Backlighting will make a silhouette of the item by putting the light behind the object being featured. Crosslighting can add more detail to features by directing light at them from multiple angles.

Also, amateur landscapers should be sure not to overdo the lighting. Often, the temptation is to make the lights too bright. This can actually wash out features and lead to a diminished depth and level of detail. Thus, this outdoor lighting can effectively accomplish what the darkness already has -- a masking of the features.

Another thing to consider with landscape lighting is where the power source will come from. Popular choices for yard lights and garden lights are solar-powered lights. These help eliminate the need for complicated outdoor electrical wiring. Also, it provides a cheap way to light the area. However, solar-powered lights may provide only an hour or two of light depending on the brand and may not adequately illuminate to the desired level.

No matter what type of landscape lighting you choose, it is also important to consider, especially in warmer climates, that the lights may attract a fair amount of bugs. This is why some homeowners choose not to light areas too close to a home or use bright lights around walkways. Others will employ the use of a bug zapper to help control insects around their lighted areas.

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