Light Up Your Garden
If you have not yet installed outdoor lighting in your yard, you are in for a real treat. Not only will you be adding a whole new dimension to your yard, you will be doubling the use of of it with outdoor lighting.
Be aware your yard is going to look different at night then it does during the day when you incorporate outdoor lighting. In general, it’s going to look a lot more beautiful as you can set up the lights to focus on exactly what you want to display.
In general, outdoor lighting is provided to the diy homeowner in a variety of styles. One of the most popular includes 10-12 lights, 100′ of electrical cord and an easy to set timer. Installation couldn’t be simpler. One simply lays out the 100′ electrical cord throughout the area then attaches the desired style lamp with a firm pressure on the cord. The idea being, each lamp has exposed prongs and when pressed into the cord, they make the proper connection to light up when turned on. Of course you are not limited to lighting up only100′ of your yard. But you will need to purchase additional sets as one electrical cord can only safely handle so much wattage.
The lamps themselves generally come in low post lamps designed more for pathway lighting and spotlights designed for a specific focus. Some sets come with a combination of both which comes in handy for small areas.
Setting up outdoor lighting is definitely easier when you have a helper. It’s difficult to know by day exactly how the lighting is going to look at night. No doubt you will need to make some adjustments when you first turn the lights on. Just experiment with them until you get things just the way you want them.
When setting your spotlights, consider carefully what you want to focus upon. Could it be a piece of garden statuary, a fountain or a beautiful shrub? Key being, the distance you set the spot light from your focus object. Start out with a distance of about 3 feet away from the object, setting the spotlight to shine slightly upwards.
Trees are particularly beautiful when lit at night. Try setting a spot light about 6′ in front of the tree and directing the light as high as possible. Perhaps an even more dramatic look is to place the light high up in the tree and direct the light downward. Try it both ways and see which look you like best.
Once you are sure you have your lights just where you want them, it’s time to hide the electrical cord between the lamps. You could bury it an inch or two underground, but I recommend you simply cover it up with bark dust or whatever other medium matches the surrounding area. The reason being is plants grow and change shape. A shrub that looks great lit up with outdoor lighting tonight may have grown enough to actually cover over the lamp next season and will need to be moved.
Some manufactures of outdoor lighting offer colored lenses at an additional cost. These too can be particularly dramatic when focused upon a white statue or moving water. While a great idea, so far I have not been impressed with any outdoor lighting that runs by solar power. If you have no electricity nearby, consider the use of using tiki torches to light up your yard on those special occasions. Just make sure they are well stabilized and aren’t anywhere near anything flammable, including tall plants and trees.