Ultimate Outdoor Lighting Guide
From experience designing outdoor landscape lighting for over 20 years, we know the do\’s and don\’ts.
Did you know?
Improving your outdoor lighting can increase the perceived value of your home by 15-20%. That alone qualifies as a good reason to make sure your outdoor lighting looks great. We\’ll cover all of the regrets homeowners have and the reason you should plan out your lighting before making these costly mistakes.
If you follow the following advice you will be able to have a landscape you\’re proud of with lighting to back it up.
material – Choose polymer resin vs. metal
When choosing outdoor furniture, most consumers take time to make sure they\’re picking products that are durable and will last in the weather where they live. For some reason, these same people will choose their light fixtures based on price.
Metal fixtures in general are susceptible to rust and corrosion. They\’re most common because the companies that sell them only want them to last a certain number of years before you need to replace them (buy more!). The reason our company was created was because our founder couldn\’t find durable light fixtures and was tired of replacing the expensive metal fixtures in his yard.
The leading online landscape lighting company Volt even has a guide on how to scrub your fixtures. They know their lights are prone to hard deposit build up. Calcium and magnesium builds up on the fixtures leaving surface stains and eventually corrosion. They even suggest using a special cleaning solution (don\’t believe me? Look here). Scrubbing your lights on your hands and knees every couple of months doesn\’t work? No worries, because this website recommends \”you may be wise to break out the big guns. You can use something like SLR or Lime-A-Way\”.
I\’m not saying you shouldn\’t maintain your light fixtures by cleaning them, but you shouldn\’t have to every couple of months for them to look like new. Once a year take a rag and rub some Lime-A-Way? Sure. But the fixtures shouldn\’t need cleaning every month or couple of months. These metal fixtures need constant maintenance for them to last.
The other day at a trade show we had multiple customers come up to tell us they\’ve had our lights installed for 10+ years and they look as good as new. Hearing that never gets old.
BULBS – Bright LED bulbs with 600+ lumens
This mistake might seem obvious, but making sure the bulbs in your light fixtures are bright and durable is important and often overlooked. If you have the nicest fixture in the world but a cheap bulb, you won\’t be happy with the result. You don\’t need to spend a lot of money to get a good bulb. Our bulbs come with our fixtures and have a 3-Year warranty.
The same can be said about a cheap fixture and good bulb. You might be able to get away with buying other products cheap, but landscape lights are not one of those products.
If you\’re replacing existing lighting, installing low voltage (12V) lights is a piece of cake. Just disconnect the wiring from your old fixture and connect to the wiring coming from the new fixture. When designing a new landscape lighting system, I recommend going with low voltage. Most people think high voltage (120V) will make their lights brighter, but our low voltage bulbs are around the same lumens as our high voltage bulbs.
You\’ll need a licensed electrician for a high voltage installation. As for low voltage, just make sure your wiring isn\’t exposed to any element that could cause a short (break in the wire). A low voltage transformer, wire, wire nuts, and light fixtures is all you need to get fully setup and without the need to pay for someone to come install it.
What we\’ve covered
There isn\’t a lot to making sure you\’re covered for years to come with landscape lighting, but for some reason people keep making the same mistakes.
- Buy polymer-based fixtures (ours are made of a high impact polymer resin)
- Make sure your bulbs are durable & bright
- Go low voltage