You’ve poured your own patio, replaced your gutters, and— wait, what?—now you want to install outdoor lighting? While we commend your Do-It-Yourself, can-do attitude, we’d like to caution you before you get too invested. Some tasks are better left to professionals, and that applies to outdoor lighting.
When you see outdoor lighting fixtures in the store, you may think, “How hard can it be?” There are several possible answers to that question. If you go with the wrong one, you will have spent too much money on poor-quality fixtures. If you set them up in your yard, you will have spent time and money for meager results. Why do we assume this to be true? Unless you are a trained outdoor lighting designer, you probably will not achieve professional results. That may be alright with you. But if you want the best outcome with high-quality lights and effective lighting placement, please call Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Naples.
If you are still determined to install your own outdoor lighting, we want to help you to the extent that we can. We offer these tips, the DOs and DON’Ts of Naples outdoor lighting, so you can get better results. You see, we don’t just install light fixtures in your yard. We are professional lighting designers, and we custom design a lighting plan for each client’s property. That’s why our lighting installations are so good.
Naples Outdoor Lighting DOs
DO CHOOSE THE BEST FIXTURES
When purchasing outdoor lighting fixtures, stick with LED lights and make your selections based on quality rather than price. Why LED? Today’s LED technology uses 80% less energy than previous lighting systems, so it won’t make much of a dent in your electricity bill. Also, LED lights last much longer. You probably won’t have to change them out for a good 5-10 years.
Why spend more for better quality? We have seen the carcasses of inexpensive lighting fixtures in our clients’ yards when they call us in to “fix” their outdoor lighting. Plastic lights break easily and rarely last a year. If you purchase powder-coated aluminum fixtures, they will last longer than plastic, but the powder coating chips off. High-quality copper or brass lights are much more satisfactory over time. Even if you have to use fewer, because of the cost, you’ll be glad you bought the good stuff.
DO RANK YOUR PRIORITIES
Where to start? You’ll get better results if you start with the largest thing first: your house. Your goal is to highlight the walls with a wash of light to bring out architectural features. Focus on the areas between windows, the porch columns and any unique features. If you have dark corners around your house, make sure at least some light touches these areas to increase security at your home.
Next, illuminate your most beautiful or impressive trees, and from there move to statues, then shrubs and flowers. Shining a single spotlight on a statue is a giveaway that you’re a novice. The most effective technique for illuminating a statue is to position several lights at different angles so the statue is illuminated from several sides. The result is the creation of layers and silhouettes for depth. You’ll achieve a three-dimensional effect, and by using several lights, you call less attention to the lights themselves and more to the beauty of the statue.
DO CHOOSE THE BEST LIGHTING DIRECTION
When you’re providing light for people to navigate pathways, walkways and steps, your best results will come from down lighting. Like it sounds, you want the light to shine down from above for optimum visibility and safety.
Naples Outdoor Lighting DON’Ts
DON’T DO IT YOURSELF
If we haven’t talked you out of it yet, keep reading. If we have, jump down to our phone number and give Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Naples a call.
DON’T OVERLOOK YOUR HOME’S SECOND STORY
If you have a two-story home, the upper level presents great opportunities for architectural lighting. The roofline, overhangs, dormers, peaks and any unique features of your home should not be left out of the picture. Your lawn will benefit as well with the ambient glow from above.
DON’T ARRANGE PATH LIGHTING IN A STRAIGHT LINE
This is a common mistake by homeowners. The effect you want is not what the lights themselves look like but what the lights do to your yard, or in this case, your paths. You probably don’t want them to look like an airport runway. Try to stagger the path lights, with trial and error, to achieve the most effective illumination along the path.
DON’T USE TOO MUCH LIGHT
Landscape lighting is one place where less is more. Subtle lighting is the most effective, and there’s no need to disturb your neighbors with excess light.
DON’T IGNORE DARK SPACES
You may need to purchase several small accent lights to bring creepy corners out of darkness. Save these for last until you see the results of the higher priority lighting. Illuminating any remaining small, dark areas can have a beautiful effect while erasing those hiding places for intruders.
DON’T PUT ALL YOUR LIGHTS ON ONE SWITCH
If you can, design your lighting in multiple zones so you don’t have to choose between “all or nothing” each night. You’ll want to use much of your outdoor lighting every night, but create some zones that you can turn off and on independently. Specifically, you might want to illuminate outdoor living areas like decks and patios only when you plan to use them.
DON’T CHOOSE SOLAR OUTDOOR LIGHTING
While we are fans of solar power for some applications, outdoor lighting is not one. Solar lights are not made well. The lights physically don’t last very long, they don’t get bright enough and they fade too quickly. Worse, they don’t cast illumination over your architecture, trees, statues, bushes, and flowers. They simply serve as individual points of light—and not very good ones. Instead of saving the environment, solar outdoor lights only increase the amount of non-biodegradable plastics in our landfill.
Let the Professionals Show You How it’s Done
When outdoor lighting is designed and installed artfully, it can transform your home each evening. For the most effective visual impact, place your property in the hands of an outdoor lighting professional. However, if you’re determined to do it yourself, we hope you find these DOs and DON’Ts helpful. If at any point you change your mind, just give us a call.
We love beautiful outdoor lighting, no matter who designs and installs it. If outdoor lighting just seems too much to tackle alone, call today to schedule a design consultation for Naples outdoor lighting. 239-263-9975