DIY Outdoor Home Lighting
Thanks to technology, new materials, and better workmanship, outdoor lighting has changed dramatically over the years. Today, you will find multiple solutions for illuminating your outdoor living space regardless of the desired aesthetics or ambience. Because of the wide array of choices, you could create a formal, elegant space, which would be ideal for entertaining friends, a more relaxed and casual area for enjoying time with family, or use outdoor lighting to make your own oasis.
Many years ago, outdoor home lighting was relatively good but now, an entirely new world of possibilities has opened. As an example, if you had a large outdoor area complete with kitchen and perhaps a bar, choosing pole and ground recessed lighting would enhance the beauty but also functionality of the space. Guests could sit around while enjoying other’s company with the perfect amount of illumination creating the ideal atmosphere. To add to the look, you might consider outdoor lighting fixtures designed with brushed nickel, copper, or pewter, which are simply stunning materials.
Now on the other end of the spectrum, if you have children and want to make a place outdoors where they could play into the early evening hours while staying safe, flood lighting and walkway lighting would be the ideal choice. Again, the goal would be choosing outdoor lighting that offers the right amount of illumination to keep the kids protected and secure but also lighting that would make the backyard fun. In this case, flood lighting would serve the purpose of keeping the play area bright while walkway lighting would make it possible for them to see steps and stairs clearly. Of course, for something whimsical, string lighting comes in a huge selection of designs and colors.
Although spending time with friends and family is enough reason to consider new outdoor lighting, remember that you could accomplish any goal. For instance, if you have a uniquely shaped tree, a blooming flower garden, or a special seating area with a water feature, the type of outdoor lighting needed would be slightly different. In this case, you would have the opportunity to choose from many different lighting solutions but also use appealing techniques. Outdoor lighting is now designed for backlighting, uplighting, downlighting, and more. In fact, some manufacturing companies make outdoor lighting so when properly installed, it casts the perfect light and shadow to resemble the moon cascading over the property.
The great thing about buying outdoor lighting in today’s market is that you have a multitude of possibilities not only for the actual fixture or system, but also specific to companies and resources for buying. Although local brick and mortar companies typically offer a nice selection, the greatest choice of outdoor lighting, as well as the most cost efficient designs can be found online. Being able to look at lighting choices from manufacturers and design companies all over the world makes it possible for you to create your outdoor space anyway wanted while not spending a fortune.
Remember, outdoor lighting is not just for decks, patios, walkways, and seating areas. If wanted, you could choose from some amazing designs of lighting fixtures specifically designed for a pool or Jacuzzi area. In fact, along with lights that would create ambience around the pool/Jacuzzi, lighting options are available to be submersed in the water. As you can imagine, adding floating lights that change color or lights that float beneath the water in addition to outdoor lighting in the area where people would sit and/or mingle would be magical. The bottom line is that outdoor lighting sold today is amazing. As a result, people are now spending more money to create the perfect outdoor area and getting to enjoy it longer due to the perfect illumination.
Cost of Outdoor Home Lighting
When it comes to outdoor lighting, you will find literally any style, material, design, size, and cost imaginable. Although you could hire a professional to install a complete lighting system for $10,000, you could also purchase solar staked lights from your local home improvement store for $40. Because there is such a broad range of design options but also costs, the possibilities for outdoor lighting are tremendous.
The first step would be to determine the amount of money you want to spend. Because outdoor lighting runs the gamut for price, you would have an abundance of options no matter what the budget. Even so, it would important to establish the amount you can spend so you have a better idea of direction to go. From there, you get to start the fun process of shopping.
Of course, in addition to the cost of buying outdoor lighting, you need to consider the cost of operation. Depending on how elaborate the system but also the type of bulbs used, illuminating an outdoor area could become quite expensive. In fact, when setting your budget for the true cost of outdoor lighting, the purchase price should be secondary to the cost of operation. However, remember that because of new technology and materials, many lighting systems that were at one time expensive to run are now much more affordable.
Think of cost for operating outdoor lighting this way. To power up five, 100-watt light bulbs, starting at dusk and running them until dawn for a full year would cost $150 or more. Since most lighting systems used outdoors use more wattage than that, you can see that this could be a very expensive venture. For this reason, many people will choose low voltage or solar powered lights.
The low voltage are designed to use less energy so you still get the level of illumination wanted and beautifully designed outdoor lighting fixtures but at less money. Since these outdoor lighting systems must be wired, you would need to consider the cost of a contractor or landscaper completing the installation although some systems are designed with relatively easy installation that you could do on your own. Then for solar powered lights, special grids collect energy from the sun so when night comes, light is produced. These outdoor lighting fixtures also come in wonderful options so you would not be sacrificing on quality or appearance with either choice.
Another great way of reducing the cost for outdoor lighting would be going with a system that can be programmed or one that uses sensors. That way, the lighting system would only come on based on the time you determine or whenever it measures movement. Often, sensor lights are used for security since the lights would remain off until a person or animal were to set the motion sensor to on at which time the light would come on. Then with programmed outdoor lighting, instead of illumination as soon as it starts to get dark, you could set the timer for 10:00 pm, turning off at 4:00 am, saving significant money.
Low Voltage Outdoor Lighting
If you’re looking for outdoor lighting for your home, it’s likely that you can’t find a simple and straightforward way to do it these days. Between the choice of solar or LED or freestanding or any other choice, it seems the industry is trying to make this complicated. Well look no further for an all-inclusive guide to the advantages of low voltage outdoor lighting.
Low voltage lighting in your landscaping is a relatively new idea, but with the recent environmental movement it is becoming more and more popular. Low voltage lighting uses a 12-volt current and is safe and easy to install by yourself. Some systems you can buy will already have a light clamped to the power cable, others will not and you’ll have to do that on your own. Whichever system you get, be sure that the teeth of the clamp cut through the insulation on the wire or the light will fail to work properly. If you have to affix the lights yourself, then once this is done you merely attach the stake and thread the wires through it to the main power source.
Any low voltage outdoor lighting system you get will have a transformer with it. You can use this to schedule the times during the day you want your yard to be lit. Most will have four, six, and eight hour settings. Some of the more sophisticated systems will have a photocell built in, so it can detect on its own whether it’s night or day. This is nice if you’re away from home a lot, as your lights will essentially work themselves.
Low voltage systems come in cable-powered and solar-powered systems. Keep in mind the solar powered are more expensive and may not be as reliable since they require eight full hours of direct sunlight. Most systems come with 50 feet of cable but additions are always available if you need it. Low voltage lighting is a great way to ass lighting to your landscape without the added cost.
Back in the good old days the most extensive pool lighting setup was the bulb in the deep end of the pool. Other than that no other light of landscaping was seen as necessary.
But times have changed. Today having the pool isn’t enough. Homeowners want to have a nice looking pool area that not only looks great but also can be used any time of the day or night either for entertaining or personal enjoyment. Today your options for outdoor lighting around your pool are as limitless as lighting fixtures in your living room.
Lighting around the pool area is an important yet often overlooked feature. Underwater and area lighting should be present to provide the greatest degree of safety. For the underwater lighting you can still get the incandescent or halogen lights that have been used for years but an increasingly popular option if fiber optic lighting.
Since there is no electricity with fiber optics they are incredibly safe for use around water. Maintenance tends to be very easy as well and the lights will be highly customizable. Let’s say you’re having a poolside party and want to jazz up the pool lighting to match the decorations.
You can get a color wheel to add to the light source so that you can quickly change the color of the fiber optics, it just takes a quick change of a snap-on lens. You can make the pool even snazzier by adding a fiber optic strip bordering the pool to make it look even sharper.
If you still choose an incandescent or halogen bulb be aware of its placement. The biggest problem with these lights is the glare off the water. If that glare is reflecting right into your bedroom window, which will be very inconvenient. If there’s no way to avoid this problem, you can install a dimmer to minimize it. But if there is any option that prevents the glare, you should take it.
Outdoor deck lighting has changed a lot over the last few decades. No more do you have to put up a bulb and screw it in to turn it on every night. No longer do you have to hope to get the seat where you won’t get blinded by the glare. You can use the wide variety of lighting fixtures to add beauty, ambiance, and security to your deck. Use this space to entertain your friends and provide security to your home.
Nearly all deck lighting comes in low-voltage systems, which emanates the soft light that is perfect for a patio or deck. These systems come in a kit with everything you need to that you can set it up yourself quite easily. However, if you live somewhere with a lot of light there is solar powered lighting as well. These have no wires, so are even easier to install. If you want to install a hot tub or pool on your deck, solar powered lighting is the safest around water.
You can find lighting that you can mount on the wall next to your desk or put in the ground around the deck area. This will depend on what sort of aura you want to create. More direct lighting will be better for security purposes but may be a little too direct for an entertainment setting. Putting the light around your deck makes for a softer light and if better for entertaining, but you may want to consider a secondary light source for security. A motion sensor system would be perfect for this, but can be disabled for the times you don’t need to use it.
One method of lighting a deck that is becoming more popular is recessed deck lighting. This is a type of light that is designed to be mounted into the surface of the deck. This creates a very different and special effect with the light, especially when used to light the deck’s stairs. This is a nice effect and great for safety too.
Recessed Deck Lighting
If you‘ve ever been on someone’s deck and noticed a very soft light that was so inconspicuous that you hardly noticed the source, you may have already experienced recessed deck lighting. This is becoming the most popular way to light a deck area for many reasons, including the ease of self-installation.
Recessed lighting is deck fixtures that are installed into the surface of the deck or patio, including the railings or stairs. The lights are even with the surface and come in two different varieties, rectangular or disc shape.
Which type you choose will depend on the effect you want to create. The rectangular lights create a brighter and more direct light. The disk lights create a small beam of light and are much more subtle.
Since the lighting fixtures are made of such a durable material there is no risk of damaging them through everyday use. You could even drive your car over the light and no damage would be done.
Recessed deck lighting is available with all power sources that you’d expect from other outdoor lighting. You can get low voltage, normal voltage or even solar powered recessed lighting. Any option that you choose will come in a kit that is extremely easy for you to install yourself. Recessed lighting can serve two essential purposes for your deck and patio area. First it will provide safety by illuminating the stairs and the perimeter of the deck. This will allow you to have the safest deck possible for you and your guests.
Recessed lighting can also create a very special ambience and give the deck a much more relaxed feel that is missing from more direct lighting. You can choose a combination of wall mounted lighting and recessed lighting, but just using one or the other will work just as well.
Another idea is using recessed lighting to give your deck an extra special look by placing the lights in between the railing posts on the deck. The shadowing and light that will be cast from this unusual placement will create a fantastic place for entertaining.