Due to the significant impact outdoor lighting has on a home, there are several factors to consider before investing.
Landscape lighting will showcase the exterior of your home, but also make it safer for you and your family to navigate the outdoor spaces. When used creatively, outdoor lighting can create a signature ambiance and showcase the unique characteristics of your home.
This explains why many homeowners consider outdoor lighting a lifestyle investment that pays for itself as a selling feature that enhances the value of their property.
Let’s look at what you need to know for planning outdoor lighting that is right for your landscape.
Plan For The Current and Future Landscape Design
When choosing the type of outdoor lighting for your home, you should always have in mind what future improvements you could potentially make. If there are no anticipated landscape design changes, you’ll at least want to consider how to later accommodate the growth of ornamental trees and shrubs.
If you plan to eventually make future hardscape improvements, such as adding a new patio, you can take a number of proactive steps to make lighting those additions easier and less expensive.
- Bury 1 1/4″ PVC sleeves to avoid later digging through established root systems
- Install lighting transformers with ample power needed for future improvements
- Plan current and future lighting so that their effects complement each other
Experienced lighting designers know understand Oklahoma winters provide opportunities for stunning displays. Frosted or snow-covered surfaces will glisten from every source of lighting, especially the soft glow from path lights.
One of the charming winter lighting opportunities is when rainfall or wet snow freezes. Frozen droplets that hang from path lights, tree branches, and ornamental grasses twinkle as winter winds blow. These are a few ways to plan for this.
- Uplight or downlight the outer branches of ornamental trees
- Postpone ornamental grasses pruning until spring
- Choose substantial path lights that will stand above the snowfall
- Consider uplighting the trunks of shade trees
#1. Evaluate Natural and Neighboring Light Influences
One of the most important decisions you must make—and also the hardest—is where exactly to put your outdoor lighting. Start by first looking at your combined outdoor spaces. How big or how small is the area? Are you planning to light the entirety of your space or just parts of it?
Evaluate neighboring light sources. This includes moonlight, as well as the impact of light emitted from street lights and nearby houses. In urban or suburban areas, these light sources may be significant and should inform your decisions for landscape lighting effects.
In a neighborhood with many nearby homes, you have to vary lighting fixture types and intensities more for aesthetic effects than for security. Therefore, your outdoor lighting should focus on dramatic effects such as shadows, focal points, and the home’s architectural features.
#2. Prioritize Activities with Intentional Lighting Effects
Consider the purpose of landscape lighting to achieve desired outcomes.
- Light spaces where you plan to gather and entertain guests
- Illuminate blind spots for safety purposes
- Illuminate walkways and access points to the home
- Highlight unique characteristics of the home or property
By finding the purpose of the lighting, you can determine the location and the type of light fixture you should use. For example, there are multiple lighting fixture types for the respective lighting outcomes. For example, there are abundant path light styles from which to choose. You will discover the light they deliver varies. It turns out the only way to decide for sure is to test them on-site. Most suppliers will have samples available for this purpose.
If you are fortunate to have landscaping that is relatively mature, evaluate how you can light these plantings and take advantage of the dramatic effects of their shadows. You will discover there are many ways to light objects, but usually one or two ways that make them unique. The point is that anyone can spotlight an object, but a creative mind figures out if uplighting, downlighting, or indirect lighting that grazes the object is best for its location and the ambient light.
#3. Establish Year-Round Safety and Security
Your outdoor lighting should illuminate a safe pathway towards your house’s main entrance and all other entry points. This includes your driveway and garage.
Safety considerations are vital for any landscape, especially when features such as pools, ponds, fire pits, and outdoor grills are involved. There should be lighting that alerts people to what’s ahead so that they do not turn a corner and discover the unexpected.
When used incorrectly, lighting may create ‘hot spots’ that can become safety hazards. This occurs when bright lights are near eye level, like a setting sun which makes driving a challenge. Sometimes the best way to solve the problem is to evaluate the effects of the lighting from all angles.
If you consider all this before investing in outdoor landscape lighting, you will find that what you choose will be the most effective for your property and the season in which you will use it the most. Don’t waste your time or money investing in lighting that doesn’t make sense for your property.
Proactive Landscaping: Helping Oklahoma Homeowners Enjoy Outdoor Living
Our top priority is creating living spaces that are right for you. We pride ourselves on working with you from concept to construction to create the right landscape for your needs. Contact us today for a free consultation to explore your next landscaping project.