When it comes to lighting your garden, you have two options – you can call a professional, or you can do it yourself. If you prefer the latter, you should be familiar with several garden lighting concepts. By learning from the mistakes of others, you can make your garden more secure and more beautiful.
1.) Not having a plan
The first mistake may seem obvious, but many homeowners fail to set their lighting goals ahead. Lay out the features of your garden by using pen and paper. Look out of every window in the house and do the same from the every angle from the street. Draw all lighting fixtures you will use. You will need lights along the path leading to the front door and along the driveway. You will also need lights for the patio, or the deck. Find the focal points of the area you want to highlight. The focal point can be a tree, a flower bed, or a garden statue.
2.) Not knowing how lights work
In a recent chat with the guys who own and operate Superlight, I learned that ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting are essential not only for indoor spaces, but for the outdoor ones, as well. Ambient lighting provides soft light from every direction and is ideal for path lights along the walkway and the driveway. For this purpose, choose non-glaring low-voltage fixtures and avoid placing them in a straight line.
In contrast, task lighting provides light for doing certain activities. Wall-mounted fixtures and lamps can be used for the deck and the patio. Finally, accent lighting directs the light at the specific object. For this purpose, you can use string, or rope lights to highlight a flower bed and spotlights for accentuating trees and objects in the garden. Focus the spotlight away from the windows and neighbors.
3.) Choosing the wrong color temperature
Landscape lighting is specific when it comes to color temperature. If you opt for cool color temperature resulting in bluish and bright lighting, your garden will look unnatural. That is the reason why warmer tones are used for outdoor lighting, the one mimicking the campfire and incandescent light bulbs. Warmer tones look more natural, soothing and relaxing.
4.) Skimping on dimmers and other controls
Not only do dimmers and other controls help you create better atmosphere and change the mood of the space, but they can also save the energy. There are four basic outdoor control options. The first one is a motion-activated sensor usually used for the security lighting, the driveway and the pathway lighting. You can also consider sunlight-activated sensors shutting off lights during a day. Time clock and astronomical time clock sensors switch off lights by predicting sunrise and sunset times. Hand-held lighting control devices are also practical.
5.) Not investing in LED lights
Apart from a variety of dimmable features we concluded are crucial for landscape lighting, LED lights have other benefits, as well. LED lights use 80% less energy and can last 50 times longer than incandescent light bulbs. As they do not contain filaments, they do not shatter. In addition, LEDs are more solid than their incandescent counterparts making them ideal for harsh outdoor conditions. The small size of LED lights allows them to fit any lighting fixture.
The bottom line is that you should have a plan and pay attention to key concepts. Next, you can be creative and play around with different lighting options. For example, you can create special effects by filtering string lights through the canopy of the tree.
Featured img: John Mills of Flickr, CC BY 2.0, no changes made.
Pic #2, Lee Ruk of Flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0, no changes made.
Pic #3, 0033 Installation 7 of Flickr, CC BY-ND 2.0, no changes made.