Landscape lighting installation – DIY or hire a Pro
Installing landscape lighting is a task that could be done by you or by a professional. I have to recommend you to hire a pro for creating such project, but before start looking for one, you can take a look at the basic points and decide if you could manage it. Landscape lighting installation is an easy task if you follow a simple check list.
1 .Evaluate the landscape
First of all you should carefully inspect the landscape and the surroundings as well as the area that you are planning to illuminate. You can make a simple drawing with the shape of the area, points of interest, pathways or any other specific place that will need light.
If you are familiar with the modern 3D landscape software you can even create realistic preview of the project including relief-mapping, lights and shadows. There is free lighting simulation software available from DIALux where you can create a project and see the result when using specific landscape lights.
Here you can see a video with what can be done by using Dialux software.
I’m not going in to details about that, because it is a completely different story and can get plenty of information on the web about using the software.
While making your research on the landscape, think of what you want to express and what impression you would like to achieve to your guests or anyone who will be visiting your garden, mini park or backyard and surprise them with well established landscape lighting installation.
2. Decide where to install the lighting
You should consider the general landscape lighting as it will be the main lighting for your outdoor area. It is good to place marking lights at the perimeter of your land field.
- Border lines and corners – are a perfect spot for landscape lighting installation. They will give the place a completed vision.
- Pathways – illuminating pathways is a must. It is not only visually appealing, but it will make the pathway safe and secure.
- Flower beds – flowers are beautiful and you can enrich their colors with properly installed lights pointing in the colorful petals.
- Trees – if you have an impressive pine or cypress you can add some dramatic effect to it and make the garden much more interesting.
- Ponds or Rockery ( Rock gardens ) – those areas are always attracting our attention, so it is good to illuminate with style.
3. Choose the right landscape lighting
There are plenty of different landscape lights available on the market. The first thing to consider is always the design. Choose visual and aesthetic perfection to make the outdoor experience more appealing. Don’t forget that there are specific types of lighting for every task:
- Spotlights – perfect for directing the light towards single garden object – tree, bush, sculpture, architectural accent
- Flood lights – use them when you need more light or for illuminating big open areas
- Path lights – as the name tells, it is your choice when it comes to pathway lighting. They distribute the light near the ground without blinding anyone who is walking,
4. Think about energy consumption
Nowadays it is popular to build landscape lighting installation that is environment friendly, energy-saving and produced by green technology. Opt for LED landscape lights – the lowest possible energy consumption, long life and maintenance free.
The only downside of the LED lights is their price which compared to the traditional incandescent bulbs and ESL is fairly high. So choose carefully and make calculations about what are the expected costs of power used compared to the initial investment in landscape lighting.
Solar powered lights are perfect choice, when it comes to energy saving technology, but be careful as most of these products are creating just a glow or a dim light instead of powerful lighting.
5. Controlling your landscape lighting installation
- Manual switch –the cheapest option, but you will have to manually switch on and off the lights
- Timer switch – you can set the timer to turn on the lights at exact hour, for example at some time in the evening, and turn them off in the morning.
- Photocell switch – it’s an automatic solution which will turn on the lights when it gets dark and vice versa turn them off when the light outside is enough.
6. Maintenance the landscape lighting
Do not underestimate the maintenance costs of your landscape lighting installation. Depending on the number of installed lights you can get significant addition to your electricity bill. It’s good to check the power consumption in the first several months in order to adjust acceptable levels.
Weather conditions can significantly decrease the performance of your landscape lighting – water will create corrosion, wind will make a layer of dust and dirt over the lights, sun will speed up the aging of all plastic materials, etc.
You will need to take care of your landscape lighting in order to maintain its perfect condition.