There are many good reasons to install landscape lighting in your garden. In this post we’ll look at guiding your path, safety, enjoying the outdoors, beauty and even home value.
Summary: There are many good reasons to install landscape lighting in your garden. In this article we will look at guiding your path, safety, enjoying the outdoors, beauty and even home value. Let’s get started…
#1 To See Where You Are Going
Guiding your path is without doubt the most important reason to install garden lighting in your home landscape outdoors.
In fact, “important” is not a strong enough word. Lighting of all thoroughfares (if you will excuse the fancy name for the network of walks, pathways and driveways around your garden and home) is essential.
To walk up an unfamiliar, unlighted front walk in the black of a cloudy night is one of the most frustrating, annoying and even frightening things to many. Check out “Spill lighting” which is very effective.
It is not only difficult to see where you are going, but you are constantly wondering what booby traps are lying in wait for you. You do not dare to rush ahead, yet inching is little better.
This is an experience we have all had. Yet the number of such “darkened” walks – not to mention paths, steps and driveways – is untold. It is a wonder there are not more skinned shins, torn nylons, broken legs and even face plants.
More on Planning Walkways, Paths and Driveways Here
#2 To Discourage Prowlers
People bent on robbery or mischief of any kind do not like light. It only makes common sense that if your garden grounds are illuminated, there is less likelihood that anyone will try to break into your home. Even if they do try, there is a likelihood that somebody in the house or surrounding neighborhood will see them.
Outdoor lighting, then, is a real protection.
#3 To Enjoy More Living Outdoors
Nothing is more peaceful and relaxing than sitting on a dark terrace or lawn, watching the stars and talking quietly to someone you like. But how many nights during the summer can you or do you want to do that? Not many.
Some nights you want to lie in a hammock and read. Some nights you want to go for a swim in the backyard pool. Some nights you want to cook out on the BBQ.
Occasionally you want to entertain on the patio or get a little extra garden work done. You need light to do those things.
Outdoor lighting not only lengthens the time you can enjoy the evening coolness of your garden and terrace, but it also expands your living space.
Or, saying it another way, it enriches your life in many ways and turns a small home into a larger one during warm weather.
#4 To Make Picture Windows As Charming At Night As By Day
Unless you cover windows with expensive draperies, they become an eyesore when you are sitting indoors at night.
The view that they admit during the day fades with the setting sun, in its place appears a big rectangle of inky, shiny black. It is a cold, depressing sight that spoils the decoration of the room.
Yet it is so easy to avoid this. All you have to do is install a few lights outdoors so that they illuminate the landscaped garden lighting trees, palms and shrubs. Immediately the glass loses its impenetrable, mirror-like blackness and becomes transparent again.
#5 To Beautify Your Garden
It is foolish to limit enjoyment of your garden to daytime only. For one thing, there are only a few members of the family home during the day to look at it. And the amount of time that they can devote to this pleasant pastime is short.
I don’t think that the average lighted garden is as pretty as a garden in daytime. (It takes a genuine lighting expert to improve on nature.) But it is prettier than a garden enveloped in darkness.
So what could be more sensible than to light your garden for the sake of making it attractive both night and day?
#6 To Increase Home Value
Of course it takes something more than a routine lighting job to do this. But like any other good architectural or landscape feature, superlative lighting definitely does increase a home’s value – often out of all proportion to the cost of the installation.
It takes a house out of the run-of-the-mill class, and can make it a showplace.
#7 To Flatter Yourself And Friends
Admittedly, few people can justify outdoor lighting for this reason alone. But those who entertain outdoors in a lavish way can. Let a gentleman from Texas speak:
“We went to a big evening garden wedding recently, most of the ladies were wearing fancy new gowns. But not a soul could see them.
The only lights in the garden were a few spots that seemed to be aimed directly into your eyes. Naturally the female guests were a bit unhappy. Maybe the bride felt that she didn’t show off too well, either.” In a well lighted garden, this would not happen.
If you agree that these are good reasons for lighting your home outdoors, why don’t you take action? The job is not difficult. There are very few hard-and-fast rules to observe. And if you need advice or assistance, it is easy to come by.
The DIY Yourself Approach
If you are going the DIY route and installing garden lighting yourself, the first step is to get clear in your mind what you want to light. The next step is to decide what kind of lighting fixtures you will need.
Then, to help clarify your thinking, make a sketch of the area to be lighted and indicate on the “lighting plan” the approximate positions of the lighting fixtures and the wiring circuits (if required) serving them.
The fourth step is actually to experiment in the garden with the placement of lights. Use portable lamps and extension cords. Do not install anything permanent yet.
Finally, when you are satisfied with the effect you have achieved, install the lights and any required wiring. This makes for a safer, neater installation. Check out this lighting tutorial from thriftydecorchick.com.
Those Who Need Assistance
Talk with local lighting companies in your area. There are usually a few who you can turn to if you need help, along with getting advice from lighting experts at garden centers like Home Depot and Lowe’s.
Calling The Landscape Illuminator or Illuminating Engineers
If you can afford it, outdoor lighting professionals can take your garden landscape and “paint with light.”
These professionals make outdoor lighting their business. There is no good description for their talents: “landscape illuminator”, “illuminating engineer” or “lighting engineer” to name a few.
In any case, these people are to outdoor lighting what an architect is to home design or a decorator is to interior design.
They not only know so many in’s and out’s of outdoor garden lighting but also, when to use solar lighting, low-voltage, malibu and all the other many types of fixtures.
On top of that, many are also good landscape designers and have a high degree of artistic ability. Naturally, such talent does not come cheap.
Neither is such talent likely to accept a small assignment. But if you want the best in lighting and you do not want to lift a finger to get it, these are the ones for the job.
Landscape architects may also be of assistance – but by no means all of them. So find out something about the person you are interested in before you hire him. He will charge a fee.
Lighting dealers may sell more than garden lighting and fixtures, some are excellent “outdoor lighting designers” and stand ready to assist you. But don’t expect very much from the average dealer.
And remember that, if you do locate an expert, it is only fair for you to reward them for their help by buying from them the equipment you need.