Landscape Lighting 101: Benefits of Illuminating Your Yard

by Allen Quay

in Landscape Lighting

For some people, landscaping and gardening is a leisure activity. They put on their wide-brimmed straw hats after Sunday brunch and spend the day tinkering in their yards. Clipping, pruning and harvesting summer tomatoes is a form of Zen-like relaxation. On the other side of the coin (or garden), you have the serious minded green thumbs. For these folks, landscaping is no longer a leisure activity but an art form, and they’re the Picassos of suburbia.

These aficionados subscribe to magazines like Better Homes and Gardens and Architectural Digest, and they study the pages for new outdoor designs and inspiration. They are the ones who tell the weekend hobbyists how important it is to illuminate their yard. With this comes a list of what and what not to do when bringing your yard to life, so before doling out money for energy-efficient light bulbs, make a plan.

Let There Be Light

The right lighting can augment the aesthetic appeal of your garden and yard. Just like a filmmaker uses a certain style of lighting to enhance a particular movie scene, an outdoor lighting system will add color to your yard and spotlight a certain section. Whether you have a flagstone path, a small koi fish pond or a Japanese design for a waterfall, lights will highlight the beauty of those features. Without lights, there is no way that you or anyone else can enjoy your garden once it gets dark outside. After spending all summer creating a perfect landscape, chances are you want to show it off to the neighbors.

Security Benefits

While enhancing the aesthetic qualities of your yard is the primary reason for outdoor lighting, it also provides an extra layer of security and protection for your home. For example, say you live in New Mexico, but your Albuquerque home security system is not working. The tall, flowering cactus you have illuminated is still going to keep burglars away because they want to avoid a house with a lit-up yard.

A Little Light Goes a Long Way

Landscape lighting is supposed to be aesthetically pleasing and decorative, but you do not need to string up bulbs like it’s Christmas time. When it comes to landscape lighting, the one thing you want to avoid at all cost is overkill. With the wrong color light or too much lighting, your beautiful space can quickly turn into something kitschy and overwrought.

Bob Kelly from Elegant Custom Images in the Orlando Florida area says, “Too much lighting will not only look tacky and be an eyesore, but it’s bound to send your energy bill through the roof, and if you take your green thumb seriously, then you know how important green living is.” Bob goes on to say, “Landscape lighting should increase the value of your home, but if and when you ever decide to sell, the last thing you want is potential customers sprinting from your yard, thinking the illumination from your megawatt lighting system is some type of UFO.”

Outdoor spaces are more elaborate and complex than ever before. Whether you consider yourself a gardening hobbyist or a suburban Picasso, it’s easy to get carried away with a project. When it comes to landscaping, the less is more mentality is the right approach. In the end, it doesn’t really matter what type of lighting you have if you’re illuminating plastic pink flamingos or a clan of garden gnomes.

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