You are probably spending more time outdoors relaxing and hosting barbecues this summer. Do not cut your outdoor fun short when the sun goes down. With proper landscape lighting, you can illuminate your backyard to extend the time you spend outdoors. Landscaping lighting highlights your home’s architectural features and draws attention to the backyard trees and plantings. However, landscape lighting is created differently, so you must dedicate time to choosing the right light fixtures for your outdoor living space to meet your backyard needs and create ambiance. Read on for seven landscape lighting tips to help you make the most of your backyard this summer.
Before you start purchasing, you should familiarize yourself with the various types of landscape lighting to pick light fixtures tailored to your backyard. Below are the different types of landscape lighting:
- Inground lighting: These are light fixtures installed into the ground. They are commonly used to illuminate driveways and pathways.
- Floodlights: Floodlights cast light over a general area such as the lot or driveway. They are excellent for overall visibility and safety.
- Spotlights: These light fittings cast light over specific points. You could use the spotlight to highlight landscaping features or architectural detail.
- Hardscape lights: They highlight handrails, stone features, benches, an outdoor cookhouse, steps, and retaining walls.
- Projection lights: They create interesting and playful patterns on the ground or walls.
- Strip lights: These light fixtures cast light on spots under the barbecue grills, along the patio or deck and in-built seats, illuminate the steps, and backlight the flowerbeds.
- Bollard lights: Used to illuminate driveways and paths
- Step and deck lights: These are light fixtures added directly into the decking or backyard hardscape. They create safe passages to a dark deck and stairs and can be used as accents to architectural features. Step and deck lights can also light up your entertainment area and cast light down a stone wall.
- Mirror lighting: Mirror light fixtures add a dream-like water scene to your backyard by illuminating your water feature’s background areas and then reflecting your outdoor space off the water.
If your outdoor lighting is poorly installed or you pick lighting fixtures with excessive light, you could create unwanted landscaping light pollution. This results in washing out the star’s view from the backyard, the outdoor light shining into the home’s interior, and blinding glare, not to mention spiking the energy expenses. Here are ways to prevent light pollution from your outdoor lighting fittings:
- Shield the bulbs: Invest in lighting fixtures fitted with shielding and reflectors to focus light on the areas you want it.
- Carefully aim the light: Install lights during the night and inspect the light’s position regularly
- Reduce wattage: Avoid purchasing light fixtures with higher wattage as they often produce harsh light that does not improve your home’s aesthetics or security. Instead, opt for low voltage deck lights to provide the backyard with sufficient illumination.
- Control the landscape lighting: Invest in separately zoned light fixtures with motion sensors, controls, dimmers, and timers to ensure you only switch the lights on when necessary.
Along with creating ambiance, your landscape lighting is crucial to securing your home. Ascertain that every entry point, including the pathways, retaining walls, steep slopes, and trails, are sufficiently illuminated. Be sure to mount wall lanterns on every side of your garage doors or add a single light fixture above to increase your outdoor space security. You could also add accent lights on dark corners to add beauty to your backyard and keep intruders at bay.
It is essential to consider a light fixtures’ IP ratings before purchasing to pick fittings that suit outdoor lighting needs. The Ingress Protection (IP) shows how well the lighting fixture can withstand external conditions such as moisture and penetration of solid materials like dust.
Light fixtures often have IP ratings with two numbers. The first number shows the landscaping light fixtures’ degree of protection against solids like fine soil and dust particles. Consider investing in fittings rated six, the highest IP ratings, to ascertain total safety from solid objects.
The second number on a light fixture’s IP ratings indicates the water ingress protection. While fittings with a rating of six will effectively withstand heavy rainfall, it is best to purchase a light fixture with a rating of eight, especially if you install the lighting in a low area where it is likely to get submerged for an extended period.
To inform your outdoor lighting choices, you should establish the type of atmosphere you want to create. Do you want to create an intimate, romantic, and warm backyard, or are you looking to add depth, excitement, drama, or safety to the outdoor space? Be sure to review your home’s overall architecture to determine the look and feel you want to bring out. Regardless of your choice, ensure the landscaping lighting adds a seamless flow between your home’s interior, plantings, and hard materials. Not sure about the type of landscape lighting that will bring out the feel and look you want to create? Consult a professional contractor.
With the recent rise in the cost of living, you should consider investing in landscaping lighting fixtures that enable you to cut the electricity expenses. LEDs are not only energy-efficient. They are also long-lasting, have low heat output, and need little or no maintenance, resulting in more cost savings. Consider picking yellow LED light fixtures over white fittings as they are more relaxing and do not drain your backyard’s tone and texture.
Like every other home improvement project, it is best to work with a reasonable budget to make informed choices. To ensure that you maximize the use of your outdoor space once the sun goes down and develop a luminous backyard vista, invest at least 5% of the total outdoor space design budget for your landscape lighting requirements.
Lighting your landscape does not have to be time-consuming, expensive, and complicated. After all, your eyes do not need a lot of light to distinguish shadows and patterns when outside, so a little can go a long way. Know the different types of landscape lighting, purchase LEDs, establish the atmosphere you want to create, understand the IP ratings, and set a reasonable budget to invest in landscape lighting that helps you enjoy your backyard in the dark.