There’s not much that makes as big of an impact on a garden or other outdoor space as some mood lighting. Although your garden or walkway lighting won’t shine quite as brightly in the daytime, the lighting you choose can make a huge difference to the functionality and look of the space where you install it. There are several different options when it comes to outdoor lighting, so how do you begin to choose the right lighting for your space?
What’s Your Lighting Goal?
Before you so much as shop for lighting, it’s important to determine what it is that you want your lighting to do. Should it simply illuminate a path? Is it going to highlight a particular garden element like a nice plant or a fountain? Do you need to brighten stairs to help prevent falls? There are so many different types of garden and walkway lighting available today that identifying your needs can help to narrow your focus before you begin. That way you won’t waste a lot of time poring over options that will never be suitable for the job at hand.
Next, your lighting location should be considered. There are plenty of benefits to choosing a wired lighting system, but if your garden is far from your home, you may need to bring an electrician onto the project to properly run the wiring to the location in question. If that’s not an option, you’ll need to seriously consider solar lighting kits. Although a freestanding solar panel can be installed to power all your lights, there are many lighting kits made of lights fitted with individual tiny solar panels.
Solar Versus Wired Lighting
Solar garden walkway lighting is undoubtedly a convenient option, but it won’t work for every space or every need. Because solar lighting is powered by the sun, the location of your solar panels is vital. Bright, direct sunlight is best for charging these lights, so if you live in a location that tends to have a lot of cloud cover or your vegetation is dense, you’re going to lose a lot of potential lighting hours. Generally, solar-powered lights need to be recharged daily, making them difficult to rely on during the darker, colder months of the year, even if they’re in an ideal location.
Low voltage landscape lighting, on the other hand, receives continuous power from your electrical system, allowing them to work on demand. Some homeowners worry this means they’ll run all day long and create expensive electricity bills, but most lighting systems are designed to come on at or near dark and turn off at sunrise, or on demand, or both, depending on the system you’re using. On-demand systems come in pretty handy when there’s a weird noise outside and you need to go chase a raccoon out of the trash.
Many solar systems are also built to be disposable, so if that’s the way you’re leaning, be prepared to spend quite a bit more than you might expect for a low-end plastic solar light. There are solar lighting kits made to last much longer, but you should be looking for light sets made with metal bodies that allow you to change the bulb, should it need replacement.
Need Help Selecting the Right Outdoor Lighting?
There are a whole host of professionals who can help you make these important lighting decisions, based on your specific situation. For example, if you want to know if your site is suitable for solar lighting or needs a permanently powered lighting solution, calling an electrician into the project can get the right answers quickly. If you already know the type of system you’d prefer but aren’t quite sure about how to configure your lighting system to meet your goals, a landscape professional may be an excellent investment.