Outdoor Security Lighting – Does it Really Work?

Outdoor security lighting prevents or deters criminal activity. However, studies in the UK, United States and Sweden show that improper arrangement and use of these lights can actually lead to an increase in crime such as vandalism and theft. Here, we explore the reasons for security lights failing their basic test of viability and how you can avoid making these mistakes in your own landscape lighting plan.

Low-level Lights

The problem with failing to install your security lights high enough is that they can easily be sabotaged. Prevent this from occurring by installing your outdoor security lights at an elevation high enough to deter criminals and vandals from disabling or destroying them. However, make sure that vandals can’t gain access to the lights by simply climbing onto an adjacent structure. In cases where placing lights at a higher elevation is not possible, project the lights within mesh boxes or polycarbonate shields that are strong enough to resist physical assault.

Unshielded Lighting

This is another major concern because bright, unshielded lights that point towards the outside of the property can actually create a glare that works to the advantage of criminals. Outsiders can’t see what’s going on within the property because of this glare, and this makes it ideal to carry out illegal activity on your property without anyone’s knowledge. Unless you have CCTV installed, this could pose a major security risk. The solution is to either reposition the lights or use shields and housings for bright perimeter lights. Cutting off the glare by angling the lights either towards the ground or targeting them inward will help, as will installing housing that cuts off the glare and increases visibility from the outside.

Exposed Connections

The third high-risk area is the power supply to the security lights. Any lighting system adequately elevated and shielded is still subject to power supply tampering, rendering the entire exercise a waste. Therefore, the physical line and the access controls should either run under the ground or within protected conduits that are tamper-proof.

Other Considerations

For better security, several medium power lights are more effective than fewer high-powered ones; they help cut glare, can reduce overall power usage and will remain bright even if one or two stop working. Position the lights so there are no ‘blind spots’ or dark areas that are counter-productive to security. Install CCTV if you want more security that can capture any activity during the night or day. Security lighting is obviously only useful at night, so you can address daytime security with a closed-circuit recording system. Install motion detection equipment to save on power costs so that the lights don’t need to be powered all the time – these systems may be expensive in the short run, but in the long run, they will save you hundreds of dollars in power costs, if not thousands.

Remembering these pointers will allow you to achieve a much higher level of security for your property, while at the same time help you optimize your power usage.

 

 

 

Feng Shui and Outdoor Landscape Lighting

At night you are driving through the neighborhood and notice a house that seems to illuminate with a soft glow, without being over powered by high-voltage lighting.  You take a second look and may think to yourself, “How can I get the lighting around my house to look like that?”

With the ever-growing emphasis on our environment and energy efficiency, the art of Feng Shui may be worth looking into.

Home owners have used some form of this environmental science for years to create warm harmony and good energy flow throughout the inside and outside of their homes.

Feng Shui is an ancient Chinese art of harnessing earth and heaven to bring well being and good fortune into one’s home and life.  By understanding a few basic concepts, you can create some of this balanced environment with outdoor landscape lighting.

Outdoor lighting is a rather new element as electricity was not a factor in the earlier ages of Feng Shui, but it has been incorporated to match the times we live in today.

The topic of Feng Shui is massive and can hardly be mastered in this article, but what we can share with you are some simple tools in outdoor landscape lighting that can help with the overall energy flow of your home at night.

Chi Energy

One of the first principles to incorporate is to attract good Chi energy.  Chi  is the “life force of all animate things, the power of the sun, the moon and weather systems, and the driving force in human beings,” according to Gill Hale’s, The Practical Encyclopedia of Feng Shui.

To attract good Chi onto your property, you can start by placing outdoor, weather resistant lighting along your driveway, as well as the pathway to the front door. For energy efficiency and to use the Chi power from the sun, use solar lighting lamps for both the driveway and pathway.

If your house sits back from the road and it feels very dark at night, or if it sets below street level, try placing lights around the outside perimeter of the home.  Direct the beams of light towards the roof and this will energize you and the others living in the home.  A low-lying house will sometimes give the feeling of holding down the occupants from success, as if they are living in a hole, so this kind of lighting helps to lift that energy.

If there are other low-lying areas around the house, place a lamp in an uplifting position and this will light up a very dark area for good Chi.

Lanterns

Some new elements recently being adopted into Feng Shui lighting are outdoor lanterns.  Lanterns are not a new concept by any means, but these types of lanterns werefer to are new in design.  They have a gentle “rice paper” feel and look about them, but are actually constructed of weather resistant nylon, are cordless and solar powered – again, using the power of the sun for good energy.

Solar lanterns come in all shapes, sizes, and styles and can be arranged on trees, bushes, roofs, eves – just about anywhere you want to hang them. Because they have no electric power restriction and are flame free, solar lanterns make for a safe outdoor lighting choice.

Feng Shui for lighting the outside of your home includes endless concepts and designs, and by incorporating a few simple ideas, you can make your home not only safer, but also more energy efficient and flowing with good Chi.

 

 

Accent Lighting to Make Your Landscape Stand Out

Want to know why your neighbor’s yard attracts your attention every time you pass it? Most likely, it’s because of the accent lighting. Accent lighting illuminates and beautifies landscapes with its subtle glow and soft hues. It highlights the best areas and provides an atmosphere to which onlookers gravitate.

Your exterior lighting creates the atmosphere for your landscape. Once the sun fades and the moon glows in the night sky, accent lights will make your yard come alive. Your properly lit landscape can become the envy of your neighbors and the talk of the town. And thankfully, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg to get the look you want.

Beauty

There are many reasons to add accent lights to your landscape and beauty is one of the top. Is there a tree, fountain, pond, or an object that brings the entire landscape together? It’s important to direct the accent lights toward the special features of the garden so people can see them when the sun goes down. Even a beautiful rose garden can be the subject of illumination. Be careful not to accent the entire landscape, though. Sometimes too much is a recipe for disaster. If you accent too many features, it will confuse the eye and take the focus away from the objects you are highlighting. Keep it simple and make sure your accent lights are positioned to add, and not distract.

Safety

Accent lighting is also very helpful for safety and security reasons. In fact, the lights can serve a dual purpose if they are positioned correctly. Lighting that flanks the driveway will look beautiful and also provide illumination at night for walkers. Other safety lights will illuminate the area enough to ward off intruders since most thieves prefer to work in dark places.

Consider accent lights for the areas where people walk and congregate. Steps, walkways, paths, driveways, decks and patios are all ideal locations for a little accent lighting to keep the yard safe and secure.

Types

Landscape lighting comes in a variety of types but generally homeowners choose from LED, solar and low-voltage. All offer an inexpensive alternative to traditional lighting. Solar lights will be the easiest to install because there are no wires.

Home Value

Accent lighting will not only beautify your landscape, but it will also add value to your home. Landscaped yards can add thousands of dollars to your home’s sale price and set you apart from the competition in your neighborhood. Curb appeal is one of the top criteria on buyers’ minds and a beautiful landscaped space sets the stage for a great home tour. When buyers see a manicured lawn with attention to detail, they automatically assume you gave the same level of consideration to the inside of the home. They will feel settled as a result and if they like the home, a sale may be imminent.