How to Plan Landscape Lighting

If you've put a lot of effort into making your yard attractive, you don't want all your hard work to go to waste at night just because it's too dark to see! Adding lighting to your yard is a great way of enhancing the look of your yard after dark. Your yard will become a wonderful place to relax at night, as well as a more attractive area for evening entertaining. Does this Spark an idea?

Instructions Pre-planning

Decide what you want out of your landscape lighting-do you want to simply illuminate steps and pathways for safety reasons, or are you looking to create spectacular lighting effects in your garden? Think about what kind of mood you want to create in your yard-do you want to go for a dramatic effect, or something more subdued and relaxed? Wait for a moonless night, then grab a flashlight and walk around your yard. Use the flashlight to test out your ideas for where you want to add lights.


Use Lighting Effects to Create a Mood

Illuminate dark paths and walkways with small low-wattage lights-these should be placed closely enough together that the pools of light overlap. For comfortable mood lighting you can create shadows on walls and fences by placing lights in front of trees or other features such as sculptures. Use accent lights under trees or near walls to create highlight effects and create dramatic down-lighting that mimics moonlight by placing halogen spotlights in tree branches.

Some Additional Things to Consider...

The best time to install landscape lighting is when you're actually landscaping your yard and gardens - it can be more expensive to wire yard lights in a finished garden. Try to limit the number of focal points you create in your yard-don't add so many lights that they end up competing with each other. Less is definitely more. Use low-voltage lights where possible - these are much safer for use around children and pets. Lights with rotating heads are great for landscape illuminating-you can rotate the lamp heads at different angles to create a variety of effects. Check out local building codes when you're planning your lighting scheme-you may need a permit before starting outdoor electrical work. If you're adding lighting to a new garden, try to think long - term about how the lighting will look when the garden has matured-otherwise you may end up creating lighting effects that you didn't intend.