Installing the right landscape lighting can have a powerful impact on your home’s curb appeal and overall appearance. They say you only get one chance at a first impression, and the impact of landscape lighting on your home will give you a definite positive first impression.
Your landscape lighting spotlights the focal points in your yard that you want to accentuate, and subtly draws the eyes away from the areas that are less visually pleasing. Additionally, landscape lighting serves as a security feature, as burglars are less likely to approach a home that is well-lit. If you want to set up a nice outdoor lighting design, you’ve come to the right place. Here are a few tips to get you started:
Three Tips to Achieve an Awesome Landscape Lighting Design
- Design your outdoor lighting based on the canvas you’re starting with.
Unless your outdoor lighting is solar powered and completely unattached to your home’s wiring, you’ll need to factor the availability of outlets into your outdoor lighting design. If your home is newly built, it is probably set up for outdoor lighting, since this is a popular modern home design. However, if you have an older home, you’ll either need to bring in an electrician to install outdoor electrical outlets (Never attempt an electrical change by yourself — the power that runs through our walls is more than enough to kill you. Not to mention, if you do it wrong, you risk burning your whole house down. Don’t do it.) or design your outdoor lighting based on where you can access electricity.
- Choose the star of your show.
The value of your exterior lighting isn’t just the lighting itself, but the subject that you are illuminating. The first rule of landscaping in general is to identify a focal point in the yard, and design the rest of the space to point to or compliment that feature. Your outdoor lighting should be one aspect of building your landscape around a focal point.
While we’re on the subject of designing your outdoor lighting, you should not only approach your design as what you want to highlight, but also what aspects of your exterior you want to underplay. If you have an unusual home design that you don’t find attractive, use your lighting design to draw the eye away from the flaws.
- Make the most of your lighting options.
Unlike any other fixtures in your landscape, lighting is a diverse and fluid “substance” that can be bright or dim, broad or narrow. In general, your lighting options include:
- Flood Lights. These types of lights are used for illuminating a broad area. If you want to light your entire front porch or garden, you’d use a flood light.
- Path Lights. As the name suggests, path lights are used to light up foot paths. Most exterior lights are installed from above, to cast the light downwards on the area being illuminated, while path lights are installed on the ground to cast light horizontally or upwards. In addition to to alternative placement, path lights are very commonly solar powered, removing the need for an electrical outlet.
- Spotlights. Spotlights are designed to illuminate one aspect of your landscape, rather than the entire landscape like flood lights, or sections of the ground, as with path lights. If you have a feature in your yard that is particularly stunning, such as tree or a fountain or statue, using a spotlight is the way to go with it.
There is no “one size fits all” solution with outdoor lighting. The best lighting options depend wholly on the setup of your yard and your goals. Most likely, you’ll want to use a combination of flood lights in the commonly used areas that you want general brightness, path lights on the walkways that lead to those common areas, and spotlights in the areas outside of your flood light zone, that you want to illuminate.
A good landscape lighting design is a work of art. If it is executed well, it adds a lot of value to your home’s exterior appearance and curb appeal. We hope our list of tips helps you get started with your outdoor lighting design. If you still feel overwhelmed by the project you might benefit from a consultation with an outdoor lighting design professional.