Outdoor Lighting Tips for Portland, Oregon by Lee Glasscock, Landscape East & West
Outdoor lighting may not be the first thing that springs to mind when you think about landscape design. However, without proper landscape lighting you’ll only be able to enjoy the beauty of your yard during daylight hours – and here in the Pacific Northwest, those hours are mighty short in the winter months. The evening and night time garden has its own enchanting appeal that is completely lost without proper lighting. Landscape lighting beckons the viewer outdoors. But enhanced enjoyment is only the first of many benefits of lighting your garden.
Lighting for your landscape also creates a striking look from the curb – one of the first thing homebuyers notice. With excellent lighting, your home will have more curb appeal, as well as being the envy of the neighborhood.
Additionally, a well-lit yard is a safe yard. Stairs and uneven pathways can be dangerous without lights, and would-be burglars are less likely to target your home if its grounds are well lit.
If these benefits appeal to you, we recommend beginning the lighting process by asking yourself, or contacting an outdoor lighting specialist, to identify the features you hope to accent. Architectural details will look even more magnificent if lit with uplights (those that are pointed up to highlight a tree, archway or other landscape feature). Pathways and outdoor living areas should generally be lit to draw out visitors and boost safety. Downlights are ideal for these purposes; these lights point downward to illuminate features at or near ground level, such as ponds and paths.
FAQs about Lighting Landscapes
How much does good landscape lighting cost? A general rule for installed landscape lighting is to expect to pay between $200 and $300 per fixture. This cost includes the fixture, the wiring, the transformer, and the labor to install. For the Do It Yourself home owner, there are some less expensive options at the local big box retailers for low voltage lighting or solar lighting. However, in our years of experience in landscape and design we’ve met many homeowners who were disappointed with the durability and output of the cheaper options especially the solar lighting.
Why do you use LED lights, don’t they look terrible? These aren’t the too-bright, too-white LEDs of just five years ago. Modern LEDs are softer in tone and capable of providing gorgeous, natural-looking light. Moreover, LEDs are extremely efficient so the impact on your power bill will be much less and much of the ongoing cost associated with changing bulbs will be eliminated. The average life span of LEDs is 40,000 hours, which should give you 18 to 20 years of run time from a single bulb. No more running to the store to change them.
Here at Landscape East & West, we also retrofit your existing lighting with drop-in LED lights. This option is a great alternative to full fixture replacement and gives the homeowner all the same benefits. We work with each customer to create a custom lighting scheme for his or her unique yard. And, to save you money and guarantee consistent, accurate lighting, we can install astronomical timers, which turn landscape lighting on and off according to the precise sunrise and sunset times for your location. If you’re thinking about revamping your home’s exterior lighting schema, give us a call.
Contributing author Lee Glasscock is a Design & Sales Associate at Landscape East & West, Portland, Oregon’s landscaping professionals. Lee specializes in outdoor lighting design and can customize a plan that will complement any landscaping.