In temperate months, people are naturally more inclined to move their lifestyle and activities outside. Whether it’s dinner on the deck or a Labor Day BBQ, you’ll need to consider some type of lighting options. Landscape lighting is an inexpensive way to give your home an inviting look. Before going to the home improvement store, however, here’s some advice for choosing the right landscape lighting for your needs.
LED Lights vs. Incandescent Lights
The incandescent light bulb isn’t dead…they’ve just become more energy-efficient, and a lot more expensive. LED lights are the more popular choice of bulbs for many reasons, mainly because they have a longer life, are more ecologically-friendly and operate well in extreme temperatures.
LED lights have a life of about 40,000 hours, equivalent to 20 years, while incandescent or halogen bulbs last only about 2 years on average.
LED lights are also energy-efficient, using 1 to 11 watts on average while incandescent bulbs use 20 to 60 watts.
When purchasing a set of LED landscape lights, always choose a manufacturer that offers the best warranty for your money. Some companies offer lifetime warranties and though you will pay more at the outset, if something should go wrong with the fixture, the company will replace it for just the cost of shipping it back to them. Two of these manufacturers offering lifetime warrantees are Cast Lighting and Aurora Lighting.
However, if you already have outdoor fixtures that still work, you might be able to find replacement LED bulbs instead of replacing the whole fixture. We have found that it is more cost effective to replace a bulb than an entire fixture.
Common Mistakes to Avoid
Sometimes home owners try to incorporate every single form of outside light into their landscape. Landscape lights are meant to add ambiance along with some extra lighting, not to make your home spotlighted for all the neighbors to see. Start with one form of outdoor lighting, get it installed and then determine if you need more.
- When installing path lights, it’s important that you DON’T overdo it. You want to create an inviting pathway to your home, not land airplanes.
- Use indirect lighting when possible to avoid getting that glare in your guests faces. No one wants to feel like they are being interrogated at a get-together.
- Not every tree needs a light fixture. To create a nice up light, try to use a light that will be hidden from view. Another way to create drama is using a “moonlight” at the top of the tree.
Know When to Call an Electrician
Low voltage lighting can be a DYI installation and offers more choices of fixture designs. Line voltage lights are often used in commercial or public settings but they can give you more options in terms of wattage. Low voltage lighting is less expensive because there is no need to bury lines as deep as with line voltage and the wire is less expensive than line voltage wire.