As winter descends and the nights draw in, it’s a great time of year to assess your current outdoor lighting set up and whether or not it is meeting your needs.
Outdoor lighting isn’t just important for safety and security reasons – it’s also a great way to show off your garden by night. If you spend a lot of time working on it to ensure that it looks its best, then it would be a shame not to showcase it, so if you’re not yet doing so, then now is the perfect time to start illuminating your trees and other favourite features.
Before getting to work on overhauling or installing your outdoor lighting, there are two things to consider. First of all, think about what kind of lights would be the best fit for your project and where they should be located. If you want to highlight a particular feature of your garden, for example, then choosing outdoor spotlights can be helpful, while if you’re looking illuminate the entire outdoor area, then you’ll want to opt for floodlights instead.
Next, you’ll need to determine the amount of money that you are willing to spend on this project so that you know what you’re working with. Money might be no object, but there might be other things you’d prefer to send your money on – like a luxury getaway in the new year!
After you’ve done both of these things, you’re ready to get down to business, so to help you get started, we’ve compiled a few useful tips for installing outdoor lighting to make the process seamless and stress free.
What do you want to accomplish?
When it comes to your outdoor lighting, aesthetics are important, and the way in which you choose to illuminate your space will impact upon the impression you make to outsiders and guests.
Decide which features of your home you want to emphasize. Are you more focused on safety or on creating a specific aesthetic? The good news is, you can easily achieve both – but you’ll need to be clear on your desired result first.
If you want to add some depth to your garden, you might want to look into something similar to the plinth lights that are available at www.simplelighting.co.uk/indoor-lighting/plinth-lights. In most cases, the outdoor lighting you install will be clearly visible from the inside of your house, so it’s best to invest in softer and more delicate choices that won’t impact upon the indoor ambience.
If security is a key concern and you want to discourage people from entering your property uninvited, motion detector lights – also known as security lights – are a savvy investment. The more expensive models are equipped with cameras, which make them look pretty threatening to potential burglars – and will ensure that you feel safe when you’re at home, as well as protecting your property from intruders when you’re not.
Choose the right lights for your home
Once you’ve determined your key requirements, it’s time to have some fun. There are three main kinds that you can choose from; solar landscape lights are the most environmentally friendly of them all, and probably the easiest to install too, since they don’t require wiring in. Keep in mind that if you want them to properly work at night, they have to stand in full sunlight throughout the day, so don’t place them anywhere they might be blocked by trees or shadows.
The alternative kinds of outdoor lights include line-voltage, LED, and low-voltage landscape lights. Low-voltage and LED lights can be plugged into any outdoor GFCI outlet, whereas line-voltage lights need a conduit and an electrical junction box.
Remember that if you don’t feel comfortable with modifying electrical installations, hiring a professional electrician to do it for you is always a viable option. They have both the skills and the experience to do it all quickly and effectively for a reasonable price – without the stress of doing it yourself.
Check for underground utilities
Keep in mind that digging before locating underground utilities has the potential to result in casualties – and thousands of pounds in property damage, too. On top of that, you might have to deal with a large fine.
Before you start any of the excavation required for installing your lights, make sure that they won’t be placed over any underground utilities, such as pipelines or power lines reserved for the distribution of electricity in your area.
The bottom line
Outdoor lighting might seem a little complicated to put in place, but armed with the right knowledge, it can be simple and stress free. If in doubt, match the kind of lights that you choose with your skill level and experience, with solar lights being the easiest to install of all.
Their locations should be a result of careful planning, so if you aren’t exactly sure where to put them, grab a torch and head outside to investigate. Use your torch to illuminate different parts of the exterior area to see what kind of light placement will produce the most satisfying results, and work backwards from there.
All in all, installing landscape and security lights is one of the easiest projects when it comes to home renovations – but if you’re unsure then don’t be afraid to call on the professionals.