Read these 14 Outdoor Lighting Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Lawn tips and hundreds of other topics.
Automatic timers and remote controls can make your outdoor lighting system very convenient. Timers automatically turn on outdoor lighting at a given time, and remote controls allow you to turn the lights on from inside or outside your home. Remote controls run on batteries and use FM frequencies.
Wall mounted lighting can define the perimeter of the space being lit. If you have a rough-hewn wood, stone or brick wall on a patio or deck, the play of light and shadow will be especially nice on those textured surfaces.
Background lighting can highlight walls or fences to cast interesting shadows.
Lights set in or on the ground that shine upward re, appropriately called “uplights”. If aimed upward against a tree, shrub, or statue they can create a dramatic silhouette effect. They can also illuminate the underside of foliage, accentuating texture and exaggerating light. Be sure they are directed away from where people walk or sit.
Downlights are those mounted on tree trunks, hung on tree limbs or attached to buildings. Aimed downward from a tree will create a moonlight affect. They can also create elongated shadows of foliage and with some planning as to angles, even ordinary plantings can be dramatic focal points.
Outdoor lights can provide valuable protection for the homeowner against break-ins and can increase safety. Use infrared motion detectors (IMDs) to turn on outdoor lights. They are programmed to react to the body heat of humans and, when any motion is detected in a monitored area, they will turn on. They will not be triggered by animals passing in the night. Infrared motion detectors sense motion up to 70 feet away and should be installed above the ground in a tree or near the roof to cover a broader area.
Path and area lighting can be used to illuminate paths, driveways and steps for safety and security. Downlights can illuminate an entryway creating a subtle mood, and at the same time, offer security without the glare. Ground flood lights when used along paths, driveways and stairs can light the way for pedestrian traffic.
Dramatic outdoor lighting can alter your entire perception of your garden. Evergreens that are low-keyed backdrops during the spring and summer become important elements when lighting draws attention to their foliage. Shrubs that become bare in winter might be a daytime eyesore but at nightime a delight!
You can choose from a wide variety of year round outdoor lighting systems that can blend in naturally with your landscape. They are available in either standard 120-volt household currant or low voltage, 12-volt currant. You can highlight your yards best features by using different light styles, such as flood lights, tiered lights and decorative shaded lights.
Low voltage outdoor lighting is considered safe and easy to install even for the inexperienced do-it-your-selfers. Because the amperage and voltage are both so low, there is no risk of electrical shock to humans or animals. They are said to be so safe that you can even connect the light fixtures to the power cable with the transformer/control box turned on in order to verify a positive connection.
You should make a sketch of your garden which includes paths, walls or fences you may have. Let your landscape and it's best features determine your layout. Decide where you want each light, considering the mood you want to create, security and safety.
Consult your local nursery or garden centre for ideas.
For larger projects, you may want to consider hiring a landscape "expert" to customize and install your outdoor lighting system.
Accent and spotlighting can be directed at focal points such as trees, shrubs, or favorite flowers. Though color is not a major feature on night-lit landscapes, strong spotlighting of a lively rhododendrom or azalea border while in full bloom can make them captivating focal points.
Low voltage lighting systems are easy to install because cables don't have to be spliced, buried or encased in a conduit, and there is no risk of electrical shock. They consume less energy and light fixtures clip on anywhere along the length of the cable. If you don't like the effect you've created after installation, simply reroute the cable and move the fixtures.