Outdoor Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

November 10, 2011

Portland Outdoor LightingThere are multiple benefits to adding outdoor lighting to your home’s landscape design. For instance, a well-lit yard deters would-be burglars. On the other end of the social spectrum, guests feel more welcome and safe when your home’s exterior is brightened with outdoor lighting.

Unfortunately, homeowners often stumble in the execution of their outdoor lighting ideas. Below, we’ll take a look at three of the most common outdoor lighting mistakes people make in their landscape design and explain how Portland and Hillsboro landscaping enthusiasts can best use outdoor lights.

Mistake #1: Not putting in any outdoor lighting.

If you’ve spent buckets of dough and countless hours of labor on your landscaping, failing to install outdoor lighting is a big mistake. From Portland to Hillsboro, landscaping looks its most dramatic at night, so you’re missing out by not acting on your outdoor lighting ideas.

Moreover, lack of outdoor lighting can leave your home lagging behind in the market. In the winter, especially, most potential buyers get their first impression of an available property at night. Without outdoor lighting, your home could seem cold, unsafe or just plain unappealing. If done well, adding outdoor lighting to your landscape design increases curb appeal and resale value.

Mistake #2: Drawing too much attention to the fixture rather than the landscaping feature.

When you step back to evaluate your outdoor lighting from the curb, the overall focus should be on your property’s most beautiful trees, shrubs and architectural features. Too often, homeowners install outdoor lighting in such a way that viewers notice the lighting fixtures rather than being struck by the landscaping design.

Understanding different methods of exterior lighting can make your outdoor lighting ideas a success. For instance, if you want to draw the viewer’s eye to that gorgeous Bloodgood Japanese Maple in your front yard, up-lighting is a good option. (Up lights, also called accent lights, are special spotlights that shine up from the ground to illuminate attractive landscaping features.) Once you’re done installing an exterior light, take a step back and check whether your eye naturally notices the fixture first. If so, adjust its placement so passersby will instead marvel at the plant you’re showcasing.

Mistake #3: Placing too many lights in one place.

Moderation is wise in all things – including outdoor lighting. Aim for an evenly distributed array of outdoor lights. For instance, to avoid making your pathway look like a landing strip, stagger lights so they are not located directly across from one other. Likewise, placing too many lights in one area of your yard will divide your space in a lopsided way. It’s better to scatter different light fixtures throughout your property, to light the entire “canvas” of your yard.

By avoiding these common blunders, homeowners can complement their homes with outdoor lighting.