Outdoor Lighting Planning Guide

Outdoor Lighting Planning Guide

Designing a landscape lighting scheme is a creative project for a homeowner and professional electrician to collaborate on. This is an opportunity to highlight the interesting architectural features of your house, to illuminate your gardens, and create a warm outdoor space for hosting parties and adding a welcoming glow to your neighborhood at night.

You will want to consider how much light is appropriate, where the light should shine, and whether a sustainable power source (like the sun) would be a good choice for you. This is an area we love to research, plan, and customize, for the possibilities are as vast as your imagination.

Placement

Outdoor lighting can be subtle and strategic. That’s because our eyes require less light outside in the dark to detect shadow, shape, and pattern. And aesthetically speaking, you don’t want your house lit up like Times Square — the neighbors might find that a bit unsettling. Take a walk around your property to see where lights should go. The path from the driveway to your doorstep, for example, is a very good place to start. Throwing a spot on your front door is a dramatic choice. If your backyard has a gathering spot, around the deck or patio, perhaps, you may want to add a few accent lights there as well. Less is more when it comes to making your nighttime landscape shine.

Power Source

Too many outdoor lamps waste energy and money and add unwanted light to the sky; you don’t want to compete with the stars. To begin with, lights on the porch or over the garage may be incorporated into your indoor wiring. Next, consider what type of bulbs you need. Low wattage ones work well outside. For the tone, there is quality and color. Light can be warm or blueish-white. There are incandescent, halogen, and LED bulbs. The latter last far longer than their conventional counterparts and are becoming much more cost-effective. They also cast the warmest glow. For controlling your light, install dimmers, or even better, motion sensors that turn on only as necessary. Lights that are too bright cause glare, and actually make it more difficult to see. Low voltage outdoor fixtures are common, because they are safe to touch and therefore can be run above ground or buried in a shallow trench.

Solar

Solar-powered lighting is a definite buzzword these days, but be conscious of your environment before making this choice. If you live somewhere that gets limited sun, you won’t have the juice to light up the night. Solar lighting certainly saves energy, and sparingly used, can work well in certain contexts. It does cast a cooler light, which is not as inviting. But there are many other ways to make your outdoor lighting economical and eco-friendly. Talk to your lighting professional about layered lighting and separately zoned lights on timers.

Come down and talk to us at Eric Krise Electric about your ideas for outdoor lighting. We are happy to walk you through the process and find ways to make your home glow, inside and out.

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