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Beginners Guide to Landscape Lighting

Having a solid plan regarding landscape lighting is more important than you might imagine. Properly illuminating areas in your yard and your home during the night not only provides a fantastic view of your house, but it can also deter potential vandals or burglars.

If you're not sure where to start, you're in the right place! Here is our handy landscape lighting guide for beginners.

Best places for lights

Where you place landscape lighting depends on the lighting method you use:

  • Highlighting: At the foot of a feature.
  • Path-lighting: Stagger and illuminate the whole path, including levels or anything in the way.
  • Silhouetting: Place towards a wall that's close, behind a feature.
  • Accenting: In a hidden position, have angled down or up with a narrow beam.
  • Shadowing: Put at the base of a feature, so it is facing a wall.
  • Moonlighting: Angle down from high in a tree, using a large soft fixture.
  • Washing: Place at an indirect angle to shrubs or a wall.
  • Down-lighting: Have fixed in a trellis, eave, or hardscape and make sure the light is bright.
  • Up-lighting: Like with washing, have it close to the base light but more direct.
Landscape Lighting
Landscape Lighting
Landscape Lighting

Types of light options

You want to pick the low-voltage landscape lighting best suited to meet your needs. Or you could try mixing in a variety of light options for full illumination of your outdoor space.

  • Post cap lights: These brighten up the top of your deck post. They are suitable for decoration and add safety.
  • Path lights: Use these for lining any hard-to-see areas in your yard, flowerbed, or walkway. They add an outdoor ambiance and provide safety as well.
  • Well lights: Place these at tree bases or for lighting flowerbeds.
  • Deck lights: These improve safety when walking up or down the deck stairs or on the deck at night.
  • Floodlights and spotlights: Use these lights for highlighting any visual interests in a garden, shrubs, and trees.

General tips and best practices for DIYers

Since most outdoor lighting is low-voltage, you don't need electrical experience to install. For a DIY landscape lighting projects, the only tool you need is a wire stripper. Here are some safe and secure tips:

  • Even though LED lights are more common these days, you don't have to rip out any old halogen fixtures. You can still enjoy the benefits of LEDs with retrofit bulbs. Replace the halogen bulbs with ones that are the same base type and have the same wattage.
  • After planting, then you should install underground wiring, so you don't risk accidentally cutting it with a shovel.
  • Get rid of factory-installed connectors because standard connectors will work buried underground for only a short while before they corrode and fail. Make splice connections with gel-filled wire connectors, which are specially made for the outdoors.
  • Don't focus lights directly onto a patio. What works well is indirect lighting, by illuminating trees, boulders and other objects around the space.
  • You don't want to overlap pools of light. Make sure you don't mount fixtures too close to one another.

The right landscape lighting can transform your home. If you have any questions or want to have fixtures installed professionally, contact the team at MetroGreenscape, Inc. who provide custom services for the Charlotte area.