While driving around your neighbourhood, do you ever wish you had the same beautiful outdoor lighting scheme and landscaping as that one perfect looking house on the corner? Outlining an outdoor lighting plan can be a gruelling task, especially if you have zero knowledge of exterior design and landscaping. However, it does not mean that you cannot do it! Even if you have no prior experience, with a bit of research and some pointers of dos and don’ts, you’ll be able to craft a spectacular setup that will earn you the badge as the most gorgeous-looking home in town!
A well-thought outdoor lighting arrangement will not only enhance the façade of your home, but it will also improve its security. Remember, while it’s delightful to get those luxurious wall lights, you also need to make sure that each fitting is practical and functional. With proper exterior illumination, you’ll be able to improve the safety of everyone in your home, including your family and guests. However, before you go all out, illuminating every part of your backyard, keep in mind that it is a home that you’re lighting and not a prison keeping people from escaping!
So, before you get started with your exterior makeover, go through these common outdoor lighting mistakes. Knowing the stumbling blocks beforehand will help you dodge the bullet and ensure a phenomenal outcome!
Common Outdoor Lighting Mistakes and How to Avoid Them
Mistake #1: Not having a lighting plan
Without a proper plan, everything will be chaotic. You’ll go over your budget, end up with mismatched light fixtures, not have enough materials to work with and wind up with a puzzling mess that is hard to untangle. Whether you have a detailed or straightforward lighting plan, having a blueprint that will guide you through the process can assure you that you’re going in the right direction.
If you cannot sketch a detailed framework, have a professional map it out. If you’re working with a small budget, make a layout that has room for expansion. Take a look at your space and note the areas that need ample illumination and those that are okay with soft lights. From there, draw up a plan that you can complete in stages. It can include the diagrams of the electrical lines, the light elements you’ll need, the positioning of the fittings and others. Also, you can add your future outdoor lighting needs, so you’ll be prepared once you’re ready to add the final touches!
Mistake #2: Adding unnecessary super bright lights
Yes, outdoor lighting helps in preventing bad people from breaking into your property. However, blasting several fixtures with whacking brightness that ends up blazing through your neighbours’ windows is not a wise move! You’re not lighting a monument, so keep it low key but enough to ward off people with ill intentions. Plus, using hundreds or thousands of watts will only cost you more without gaining anything in return! You might even end up getting a few glares and hear grumbles from neighbours when you go out for a walk.
At night, you only need subtle brightness to safeguard your surroundings and beautify your façade. If your top concern is security, add motion sensors with your lights and point them towards your driveway or walkway. Your goal is to startle unwelcome guests, not blind your friends! Also, you may not be aware, but some communities have ordinances to protect the evening sky view. So, look for fittings designed to minimise ambient lighting being directed upward.
Mistake #3: Not getting the correct angles
Mindlessly positioning your lights will only do harm to your landscaping. Remember that when there’s light, there’s shadow. You might end up covering your water fountain with shadows instead of highlighting its innate beauty.
To help you get a better assessment, call a friend or neighbour and let them evaluate your lighting. Take a few steps back and check the overall look of your home from across the street. If the fixtures are more prominent or your friend comments more on that than the lighting setup, you need to make some changes. Tweak the angles and change the positioning until you get the right balance. It’s expected that you’ll go through several trials and errors before you achieve the right formula. Anyways, not everyone is a professional landscaper and designer!
Pro Tip: Coloured lights work best in accentuating landscaping features. They’re not as bright as your typical white lights, and you’ll have the freedom to play around with colours and create shadows.
Mistake #4: Settling for cheap floodlights
No matter how tempted you are to buy a low quality, cheap floodlight, resist with all your might! Yes, it will be easier on your budget, but they won’t last long. Outdoor lighting needs to be durable and able to withstand harsh weather conditions and constant changes in the climate. If you buy fixtures that have questionable quality, then there’s a high chance that you’ll have to replace them regularly. Initially, it would seem that you’re getting it cheap, but in the long run (with frequent replacement), you’ll end up paying more!
So, get your lights from a trusted manufacturer offering an extended warranty and look for fixtures made for the outdoors (IP44 rated at least). Make sure that it’s waterproof and constructed from materials that prevent rusting or tarnishing.
Mistake #5: Not getting the correct controls
When drafting your plan, you also need to consider how you would control your lights. Some people tend to overlook this step, but you must identify it from the early stages of your planning. Installing automated controls will make your life easier and will help you save on your electrical cost. You see, if you don’t have this type of control, you’ll have to access your sockets or switches all the time and manually operate your lights. However, installing timers and sensors takes that hassle off your shoulders and helps you regulate your power consumption. Set your lights to turn on at dusk and turn off at sunrise or just set them to come on for a few hours in the evening and turn off before you go to bed.
Now that you know all the missteps that will lead you to a horrible outdoor lighting setup, it’s time to devise your plan and avoid all these loopholes. So, if you’re looking for premium-quality outdoor lights, you can check out our website, Simple Lighting! We have a wide range of deck lights, good quality floodlights, garden lights and wall lights that you should not miss out on!