Installing lights in your backyard is a great way to enhance the look of your yard while maximizing your home’s security, safety and functionality. But before you head to the home improvement store and pick up just any type of lighting, there are certain things you need to consider so you can get exactly the look you have in mind.
1. Do you have a source of electricity nearby?
If you are installing any type of lights other than solar powered, you will need a source of electricity, either to power the lights themselves or the transformer if you are using landscape lighting. A ground fault circuit interrupter outlet should be located in a convenient place in relation to the transformer to avoid using extension cords that can ultimately become a tripping or lawnmower hazard.
2. Are you looking for your backyard lighting to solve a security concern?
If you want the security of backyard lighting but don’t want your yard lit up like an airport landing strip throughout the night, choose lights that come with built-in motion sensors. Be sure to calibrate them properly if you live in a wooded area or else every stray cat or raccoon will end up turning on the lights every time they pass through.
3. Are you looking to highlight certain trees or flower beds?
Highlighting trees with lights can be both tranquil and impressive. To accomplish this, you will need exterior, weather-resistant spot lights. However, the heat from spot lights could hurt flowers that may be too close to the bulbs, and the spot light may be overkill for ground level plants.
4. Do you want to highlight a certain piece of lawn decoration, like a statue or fountain?
Remember when you were little and you used to scare your friends by holding a flashlight under your chin? That’s the same effect you will get by illuminating a statue from underneath. You can get a better appreciation for the piece if you shed light on it from above, rather than from below. For best lighting a piece of lawn art, a trio of lights works best so every angle can be illuminated.
5. Are you looking to add accent lights to your patio?
Low wattage accent lights can add a gorgeous allure to your patio and they won’t be obtrusive. Choose solar landscape lights or electric lights of seven watts or lower for this type of application.
6. Can you use solar lights instead of electric?
Where applicable, you should try to use solar lighting. It won’t add a cent to your electric bill and it’s one way you can live a greener lifestyle. But be sure that the sun can make direct contact with the solar cells or it won't be worth it.