Residential Outdoor and Landscape Lighting

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Investing in proper landscape lighting for your home and yard is an important step in perfecting your outdoor space. It is important to define for yourself what the optimal lighting for your needs. This will depend on many factors including your family size, location, and logistical needs. Some of these things will be a matter a preference, and for some, you’ll want to consult a local landscaper to help install standard lighting for safety or vision. Lighting is an often an overlooked service provided by many great landscaping companies.  In this entry, we will go over the important methods the pros use when lighting residential properties that can help you handle your landscape lighting challenges.

If you are considering handling the lighting around your landscape yourself, it is wise to consider both effort and budget in preparation. Determining how much effort you can or want to expend will greatly affect your options. Another major limiting factor is going to be budget. Lighting is a fairly standard industry, and typically you will get what you pay for, more investment will yield more durable longer lasting lights.  High effort lighting should be handled by a professional. Its standard practice that anything equal to or over 120-volt lighting must use a conduit under 18 inches of earth and, in many places can only be done by a licensed electrician. Lower voltage lighting more widely available at the retail level requires much more manageable efforts in installation.

You should always start with a clear definition of purpose when it comes to your lighting needs in your yard. To get a reasonably solid idea of what you might need you can ask yourself a few simple things. Are there any shadowy areas you need to be illuminated? Are there any poorly lit paths around the home? Is your lighting clearly defining the boundaries of your land? These and some other key points of interest will help solidify the definition of what you need. One simple trick is to just draw out a simple diagram so you can play with placement and radius. Visual cues are great tools for planning projects even on a small scale.

Next, you’ll be deciding on where your lighting will go. Matching reasons and goals with locations is the next step. Be sure to consider height as well as angle when determining your positions. For lighting, placement is typically the primary focus of attention. The best placement enlightens a selected area fully without sacrificing much in the way of logistics for tending the lights for maintenance.

An example is placing light fixtures that illuminate a path directly in landscaping beds versus in your bare grassy lawn. This not only makes it easy to mow but also provides the brightest cover to the area of most concern. More complicated applications of placement involve compensating for low hanging branches of property trees in key areas. Lighting can also be used for security by lighting hard to reach places at night. The biggest thing to watch out for is putting fast vegetating plants near light sources as they tend to grow quickly in the direction of the light source potentially disrupting a natural growth cycle.

Lighting is often the final touch on a great outdoor space. Choose warm lighting for lounging areas and bright lighting for paths and concealed areas. Lighting will set the mood and tone of your home and can accent the rest of your landscaping in tremendous ways.

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