If you’re interested in backyard lighting ideas or in learning more about the kinds of options and warnings you should know about when you start working on the lighting for your yard, read this article to learn more.
Where should you place your landscaping lights?
This is probably one of the first questions you’ll have when approaching an outdoor lighting plan. The general rule with any kind of lighting is that you want to make sure it’s either 1) illuminating a dark area that needs to be visible or 2) it’s shining onto a point of interest to which you’re hoping to draw attention.
With this in mind, you should consider your landscaping’s layout and features when planning out your lighting. Following that first rule of landscape lighting, look at your yard during the night and find any areas that you feel need additional illumination. This might be corners or edges of the yard or open spaces where the light from your home just doesn’t quite reach. These are areas where you could consider including some additional lighting in order to keep things well-lit.
Next, you can consider the aesthetic side of things. Are there any prominent features of your landscaping that you would like to highlight (literally) with some additional light fixtures? This could mean something as simple as a pathway or a tree or something more elaborate like a water feature.
Whatever you have in your yard, the lighting in your outdoor space will feel more purposeful and planned if you make sure to install it in places that light up already-present features of the landscaping. This also gives your landscape design a chance to look its best no matter the time of day or night.
What are the different types of lights used in a landscape or to light garden at night?
Once you’ve decided on the locations where you’d like to install new lighting fixtures, the next step will be to pick which kind of lights go where.
There are lots of different options when it comes to the type of lighting fixtures that you can use in your landscaping. For example, path lights (or pathway lighting) can be used to outline walkways in your yard, while deck lights can illuminate outdoor decks or patios from above.
Security lighting is another option that you could include, either as permanent light sources or motion-activated lights that can help deter intruders. Similarly, flood lights can be used to light up large areas of your yard. On the other hand, wall lights or soffit lighting can be used on your home’s exterior to illuminate the area just around it and make the home stand out more at night.
Accents lights can be placed almost anywhere and will give you the option to light up areas of interest in your yard or garden. For a more subtle approach, you can try fairy lights or string lights hung across your fence or even overhead in key parts of the yard.
Should you do your own landscape lighting installation?
Like many home and yard improvement projects, setting up landscape lighting can be done professionally or as a DIY exercise. Which one is right for you?
First, you should consider what kinds of lighting you want to include. It will be important to know if you want solar-powered ground lights, post lights or security lights that shine downwards, or a system of lights that are connected to your home or to a generator. Different types of lights require different skill sets; lights on posts may be simple and use a stake driven into the ground, or they may require a concrete base if they are larger and more complex.
The same thing goes for ground lights, which can be solar-powered on-site (meaning that they won’t need wiring and are simple to install), but can also be physically linked to an external power source, which will require at least some basic understanding of how wiring works and how to handle and install it safely.
Simply put, you will need to decide for yourself if the lighting that you want to install is within your skill set. If you feel confident about getting it done right and safely, go for it! If you have any doubts about the best way or the safest way to do things that you want, you will probably be better off hiring a professional lighting service or at least starting out with some deeper research into how exactly you can do things on your own.
How much does landscape lighting cost?
The cost can vary greatly. Landscape lighting design is an area with many possible approaches and goals, and the cost will depend on how much lighting you are using, what kind of lighting, and whether you are designing and installing the systems on your own or hiring professionals to help you. Generally, when working with a professional service, you might expect an average cost to be around $2500-$5000.
On the other hand, a simpler installation done on your own might be much cheaper. The simplest landscape lighting to install on your own is probably ground lights which are installed using a stake into the ground and which power themselves through small solar panels attached to their top. These lights can be quite cheap, with the simplest running only around $15 to $30 dollars each. Of course, there are also more durable options for more money, ranging anywhere from $50-$100 for smaller ones up to around $500 for lamppost-style lights.
All of these can be fairly easy to install, usually just needing a small stake driven into the ground, which means they can be placed almost anywhere in your yard. They’re also simple to maintain since there’s no need to replace their batteries or power source as long as they get sufficient sunlight.
The only common downside to these lights is that some are less durable because of their cheap manufacturing. This can be seen in some of the cheaper versions of free-standing, solar-powered landscape lights. Some of the cheaper versions of these lights are liable to break down after only a few weeks or months outdoors, especially in difficult weather conditions that they might not be built to withstand.
So, you might be able to save money right away if these options work for your landscape, but the ongoing need for replacement lights can become annoying and costly with time if you continually buy the cheapest options or if your yard is in an environment that doesn’t work well for them.
Does landscape lighting require maintenance?
The upfront costs aren’t the only ones when it comes to these sorts of projects. The next thing to ask yourself is, “Will I need to pay or do anything for maintenance?”
With solar-powered lights, the only consistent maintenance will be making sure that the panels are open to sunlight. This could include cleaning them off now and again, especially if they’ve been snowed on or covered in leaves in the chillier months of the year; it could also mean moving the lights slightly when the sun shifts its position in the sky throughout the seasons.
With lights that are connected to an external power source, the maintenance required will be a bit different. While you may occasionally have to replace broken or burned-out bulbs, wired lighting will not require the same attention as solar panels. On the other hand, with bad weather (such as severe rain or snow storms), wired lighting systems can be vulnerable to damage which could require more extensive repairs or replacements. As long as the initial installation is done well and your location avoids severe weather events for the most part, the need for this kind of maintenance should also stay fairly rare.
Want an environmentally friendly lighting option?
If you are hoping to work with landscape lighting that is cheaper to operate and more environmentally friendly, LED lights are a good option. These lights use only a fraction of the power that traditional bulbs require, making them cost less money and requiring less energy usage.
Are LED landscape lights worth it?
Ye!. LED lights are generally inexpensive and will last longer, save energy, and be just as bright as traditional bulbs. As long as they’re being used in a lighting fixture that’s designed to be outdoors, LED lights can be a great option for your landscaping for many reasons.
So, if you’re looking into LED lights, they’re almost always going to be worth it; however, make sure that if you’re looking at solar-powered ones, you get some that are of at least a decent quality if you don’t want to find yourself replacing the cheap ones frequently.
What dangers should I be aware of with outdoor landscape lighting?
With some kinds of lighting, overheating is a possible danger, especially if the lights are left on for too long at once. Traditional non-LED lights can run very hot over time, and this can lead to fire hazards if the bulbs are too close to flammable material. It can also lead to minor or serious burns if anyone happens to touch the hot bulbs. To avoid the likelihood of this danger, use LED bulbs that don’t get as hot, and/or make sure that your lights do not get left on for too long—for instance, make sure they are turned off during the day, at the very least.
As with any electrical appliances, there is a risk of electric shock if the lights or their wiring are handled improperly. Landscape lighting which is installed with a connection to a generator or to your home’s power supply (or even plugged into an external outlet) has a higher chance of this, so make sure you have the needed experience with wiring and follow all safety precautions before jumping into setting up a system like this on your own.
Water damage is another possible danger of using outdoor landscape lighting or of using any kind of electrical device outdoors in wet or rainy weather. Some of the risks can be mitigated through careful handling of any wires and connection points to make sure that they remain unexposed to the elements as much as possible.
To avoid many of these dangers, or at least make them less likely, waterproof LED lights are an excellent option. They will help you avoid the dangers of overheating because LEDs don’t get nearly as hot as traditional light bulbs. The waterproof side of things will, of course, help avoid the possibility of water damage. Furthermore, since LED lights use less energy, they are less dangerous when it comes to shock risk.
Another key thing to remember is the importance of using outdoor-rated wiring and cords. If you’re using an indoor extension cord outside, for example, you’ll risk running into the same kinds of dangers.
How can JellyFish Lighting help me?
When you want professional landscape illumination, contact JellyFish Lighting. Our permanent track lighting comes with millions of pre-set colors and dozens of patterns. With our mobile app, it’s as simple as tapping the pattern you like and enjoying the outcome. No more scampering up the ladder every time you need amazing lights! We’ll take care of it so you can get back to your amazing events.