The right landscape lighting enhances the beauty of your surroundings and increases your home’s value. It won’t only highlight your property’s best features; it can also improve your home security. However, not all landscape lighting are created the same. Experts from Washington Outdoor Lighting can help you choose which options best suit your specific needs.
Before you start browsing catalogs or going to home improvement stores, there are essential factors you should take into consideration. Below are some of them:
When choosing landscape lighting, you’ll need to come up with a realistic budget. Refrain from whipping out your credit card if you haven’t finalized your budget yet. A budget will help guide your choices later on. After all, you don’t want to spend more than you can afford.
- Lighting Quality And Grade
If you think purchasing lighting kits is the best decision, better think twice. Most kits are subpar and easily fade, break, and degrade. The lights are also not as effective as the manufacturers claim. Check the quality and grade of your preferred landscape lighting if you don’t want to end up wasting your time and money. If you’re looking for quality options that are easy on the pocket, check out Washington Outdoor Lighting Youtube Channel for more information.
There are two primary options when looking at what type of lighting bulbs for your landscape lighting needs. While most people prefer halogen bulbs, others choose more energy-efficient LEDs.
- Halogen Bulbs – These are cheaper compared to other bulbs. However, they don’t last long and tend to be hotter, making them ideal for walkways. Although these bulbs only last about 2000 to 5000 hours, they can provide adequate light in any landscape. Some of them are also made to be energy-efficient to help you enjoy reduced energy costs.
- LED Bulbs – These can be more expensive upfront, but they’ll help you save more in the long run because of their long lifespan. Usually, LED bulbs last for 40,000 to 50,000 hours, which is equivalent to a decade of bulb life. They’re also more energy efficient, requiring less electricity compared to halogen bulbs. The only downside of LED bulbs is that they can be damaged easily.
- Reliability And Performance
When lighting up your garden, remember that the best landscape lighting is known for its superior performance in terms of reliability and consistency. It must have multiple beam angles, high efficiency optics, full-definition, no color separation, no hot spots, not sharp edges, and so on. Other than performance, they should have a good water resistance rating to withstand any harsh climate conditions year-round.
- Transformer Considerations
You need to invest in quality transformers for your landscape lighting. There are several considerations when picking a transformer. One of these is the wattage. You should know the number of lights that can be safely added to your transformer. With this, you’ll be able to extend the life of your transformer.
Another thing to consider when choosing a transformer is its capability. There are transformers that run on a timer while some operate on a light-sensing photocell. Depending on the unit you choose, you may program your landscape lighting to turn off or on, or fade at particular times.
- Types Of Landscape Lighting
There are various types of landscape lighting you should get familiar with when you’re checking out your options. Some of these include the following:
- Inground Lighting – A well light or an inground light is usually a circle-shaped fixture, which is installed into the ground directly and often used for illuminating driveways and walkways. Inground lights increase the visibility and sophistication of your yard’s features. They also help create atmosphere and drama with up-light effects, illuminating entire structures such as trees. Moreover, it silhouettes the fixtures around your landscape.
- Floodlights or Spotlights – The only difference between a floodlight and spotlight is the beam spread. Basically, spotlights project a narrow or concentrated beam of light that’s around 45 degrees. It’s much easier to adjust and aim so if you want to highlight display points like landscape features and architectural details, the best choice is a spotlight.
On the other hand, floodlights have a wider beam spread, which can be up to 120 degrees. If you want to cast light over general areas like a lot or driveway, use floodlights. It’s perfect for overall visibility and safety.
- Path Lighting – One of the types of landscape lighting is path lighting, which is a basic fixture suited for outdoors. Like with posts lights that create light markers, path lights are smaller and shorter. These lights can easily boost your curb appeal and make your paths much safer.
- Outdoor Post Lights – Bollard lights or post lights help accent the pathways to your house and set a good ambient tone without overpowering the floodlight’s brightness. Tall posts are good for illuminating driveways and long stretches of space. Shorter post lights work better for small alcoves and paths.
- Color – Like indoor lighting, you don’t want the lighting fixture’s color to clash with your walls. Rather, the lights should complement the look of your landscape and exterior walls. Good lighting fixture suppliers can help you create a landscape with complementing and attractive lighting installations. Like perfectly timed and landscaping lawn care, the best lighting fixture can improve your curb appeal.
- Power Source – When choosing landscape lighting, you need to consider how you’ll power your outdoor lights. There are numerous options to choose from. One is solar outdoor lighting and the other is low voltage LED. If your budget is tight, try solar lighting. It’s an inexpensive option since the lights are less pricey and easier to install. However, solar lights may not provide enough light for larger spaces. They also typically don’t last the entire night.
If you have enough room in your budget, go with a low voltage LED. They can be expensive, but these lighting fixtures last the longest. You can also use a low voltage transformer to power them.
Every lighting fixture comes with a UL rating that’s based on its ability to withstand the elements. UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories, which is a product safety certification company which tests the products to ensure that they meet the standard safety requirements. UL ratings help buyers determine if the lighting fixture is safe for indoor or outdoor use.
When deciding on the best landscape lighting for you, it’s crucial that you know what you’re buying. A fixture that is damp rated can be used in covered outdoor areas, such as the lighting you use for your covered porch. The fixture may be exposed to dampness. On the other hand, wet rated lighting fixtures can be exposed to the elements. You can safely use them outside and they’re also suitable for uncovered outdoor areas.
Is your property classic and elegant? Is it contemporary or minimalist? If you’re not sure about what style of lighting goes best with your home’s architecture, try out the following:
- Bronze – It’s a popular finish for outdoor lights and suits most architectural design styles.
- Transitional – These outdoor lighting fixtures are perfect if you prefer traditional lights. They’re also suitable for different architectural styles.
- Contemporary – This type of landscape lighting style looks minimalistic and streamlined, often featuring geometric touches. They’re also available in creative and unique designs.
- Traditional – These lights have ornate designs with elegant touches like flourishes and curving hooks. You’ll find traditional landscape lighting like the craftsman and colonial styles which are inspired by classic architecture.
- State And Local Regulations
When choosing landscape lighting, make sure to read up on the state and local regulations for installing landscape lighting fixtures. Some states may require lighting fixtures that are Dark Sky certified or energy efficient to lessen light pollution. There might also be specific local legal restrictions or guidelines you need to follow. Research about these requirements before making your choice.
Another essential aspect to consider is the type of material your lighting fixture is made of. Some of the usual types of materials used in manufacturing lighting fixture are stainless steel, copper, brass, aluminum, and plastic. When choosing which option best suits your home, think about the weather patterns and general humidity level in your area, your landscaping or gardening habits, and your long-term expectations.
Here are some of the features of the top lighting fixture materials in the market today:
- Aluminum – It’s a low-quality metal that won’t last long term in any outdoor terrain. Although there are finishes that may be added to reduce the corrosion level, they’ll have to be reapplied regularly. If aluminum is marine coated or powder coated, it extends the fixture’s lifespan to about 3.5 years. It’s another way to enjoy savings upfront but not in the long run. If you’re living near the coastline, it’s best to avoid aluminum fixtures as the salt may increase the speed of corrosion.
- Plastic – It’s the cheapest and least durable option. It’s easily prone to weather damage and warping, especially when they’re placed in uncovered area. Typically, plastic lighting fixtures last only for a few years, which means you’d have to spend more money to replace your bulbs and fixtures.
- Copper – It’s a high-quality metal worthy considering when you’re choosing landscape lighting options because of its high corrosion resistance. It’s also a good choice if you’re living near coastal areas or in salty environments.
The only downside is copper turns green over time because of the weather. But it does offer protection from rust and corrosion. Often, copper is used for coating others metals like brass to provide added protection. Another consideration to remember is that machined copper costs more but offers better quality than the stamped or rolled variants. If you’re looking for strong and long-lasting lighting fixtures, it’s definitely worth a try.
- Stainless Steel – If you’re planning to buy stainless steel lighting fixtures, make sure to get those with an electropolish finish to avoid discoloration from the weather. Moreover, read up on the steel’s grade because some are prone to corrosion.
Grade 316 stainless steel tend to be more resistant to corrosion. However, such fixtures might not be suitable if you’re living near the coast or around highly humid areas. Moreover, stainless steel fixtures require constant cleaning and maintenance to reduce discoloration or corrosion and to keep their shiny look.
- Bronze – It’s another strong metal. If you prefer this for your landscape lighting, you should take note that there are limited styles available because it’s difficult to sand cast bronze. In addition, bronze is durable and has a higher corrosion resistance compared to brass.
- Brass – It’s a quality metal, which may hold up in most weather conditions. In the long run, however, it may turn green like copper, but it lasts for more years because of its high corrosion resistance. It’s also a hard metal that’s more expensive, but also more durable compared to your other options. They’re the better choice if you’re looking for long-term savings. Just make sure to choose brass fixtures that have zinc content, as zinc improves the fixture’s ductility and strength.
- Hiring A Landscape Lighting Expert
One of the best decisions you’ll make when you’re planning to install landscape lighting is hiring lighting experts to assist you. With their knowledge and expertise on landscape lighting, they can suggestions or recommendations to ensure the best possible outcomes for your home.
Choose experts who have been in the industry for years and have worked with many clients before. In this way, you are more confident you’re in the right hands and you won’t get steered into the wrong direction.
Choosing landscape lighting may be confusing and challenging, especially if you’re surrounded by a lot of amazing options. However, by keeping the considerations above in mind, you’ll sure to get the lighting options that meet your unique needs or preferences.
Just take note that the best landscape lighting is not always the most expensive one, but the one that’s made with quality in mind. Moreover, it’s a good idea to get the assistance of experts who have knowledge and experience in landscape lighting to get the most out of your investment.