Helpful Landscape Tips for Lighting Your Driveway

Did you forget the driveway when you designed your landscape lighting? It’s a common error to design an entire lighting scheme and forget about the lonely driveway in front of the house.

It’s also a common misconception that driveway lights are only installed for safety reasons. While safety is the number one concern, driveway lighting also adds a level of luxury to the home and sets it apart from other homes that do not take advantage of the same attention to detail.

Before you run out to decorate your driveway, consider these tips first:

Take Proper Measurements

Measure the length and width of your driveway. If your driveway is larger than average, make sure your lights are large enough to illuminate at least halfway across the width of the driveway. Also, don’t overpower a small driveway with large lighting fixtures.

Devise a design on paper to help you determine how many lights you will need and how far to space them apart. Take into account surrounding scenery and safety issues. The lights should not be too bright so they blind night walkers or passing cars, but bright enough to illuminate the driveway so people can feel safe to walk. Observe where water can penetrate and run the wires to avoid potentially hazardous situations.

Lighting Types

Choose from surface, flush mounted or post lights. You can also select lanterns in large or small sizes depending on your personal style. To save money, use low-voltage or solar lights. Solar lights install easily, cost virtually nothing to operate, and use the energy from the sun to illuminate its surroundings. The only drawback with solar lighting is they need to be installed in a place that receives ample sunlight. Also, if you live in a location that gets cloudy or endures harsh winters, you may not receive enough energy from the sun during the day to light the driveway at night. In these cases, low-voltage lighting may be the best choice as they are relatively inexpensive as well.

Before you purchase your fixtures, assess your ideal purpose for the lights. Of course, safety is the utmost concern, but what else do you have in mind when you think of lighting your driveway? Do you want to include some of your personal style? Impress your neighbors? Use them for a functional purpose? Use the answers to these questions to guide you in your purchase process.

If you are a low-maintenance type of person, choose fixtures that won’t cost an “arm and a leg” to maintain. You should be able to change the light bulb and keep them clean without much hassle.

Installation

Homeowners should take extra precaution when installing driveway lighting. If you are using solar lighting or even low-voltage, your risks are not as severe. If you decide to run off your home electricity, it is recommended to hire a professional. These projects can be very dangerous for someone who does not understand proper handling.

Enjoy!

Once you install your driveway lights, your landscape will be complete, front and back. You will be the envy of your neighbors and the talk of the town and your home will look great from every angle.

A Unique Approach to your Landscape Lighting Design

Homeowners regard their landscapes as extensions of their homes and they transition their personal style from the inside to their outdoor landscape. When people design their homes, though they are drawn towards certain styles, ultimately it’s how the design makes them feel that trumps all.

To truly design the landscape of your dreams, you may need to throw away the rule book and think about what would really make you happy.

You must look at your yard with your eyes closed and your heart open. After all, your heart known best and landscape lighting comes to life when the sun goes down and the moon takes its place in the night sky. From highlighting water features in reflection of the moon’s glow to spotlighting a fountain that sparkles in the moonlight, every feature can take center stage and shine in its own right.

Throw Away the Plan…for now

Some people can feel overwhelmed when contemplating the logistics of their lighting landscape. The planning alone can be just cause for major headaches. Before you even think about coming up with a plan, step outside and take a good look at your current landscape. What do you see? How do you want your home to look after the sun goes down? What features do you love that must stay lit after dark?

Landscape lighting does require a plan, but at the end of the day, it’s all about the feeling you get when you pull in your driveway after a long day and see your rose bush lit from within. Or the accolades you receive from your friends as they marvel at the beauty of your landscape. In the end, your landscape lighting design has more to do with your vision and less to do with a probable plan.

Once you determine a clear vision for the feel and look you desire, pinpoint specific features or areas you want to highlight. For example, do you want to highlight features of the house that have meaning to you? Are you a BBQ master who is proud of your grill and you want to light it properly? No two landscape lighting designs will be the same. That’s why it is important to spend time looking at your landscape through the eyes of what you want it to look like based on the feeling you want to experience when it is complete.

After you detail areas you want to highlight, think about style words that express the emotion you want to display. Are you going for elegant? Sophisticated? Fun and whimsical? Tropical? Applying style words to your design will not only help you understand more of what you want, but it will also aid a professional designer once you are ready to begin.

Pay attention to the feeling you want to experience when your design is complete. In the end even the grandest plans will not give you the satisfaction you will feel every time you look upon your unique landscape that was designed from your heart.

“Going Green” With Your Landscape Lighting

From hybrid cars to recycled shopping bags, the world is “going green” in an effort to save the environment and provide a better future for our children. If you look around, you will see many people trying to do their part, no matter how small, to make this world a better place to live.

If you want to take a stab at “green” living or you are a green living aficionado looking to expand your horizons, you can adopt green living habits in your landscape lighting easily and without much effort.

Many people shy away from practicing green living because they become overwhelmed at the prospect. Even if you need to start off small, a small gesture is better than no action at all. If you have never attempted to try a green living habit, why not start with your landscape lighting?

The energy consumption from your landscape lighting can be a big constraint on your energy efficiency. With just a few simple techniques, you can be on your way to creating a safer environment.

1. A Blueprint

If you haven’t started your landscape design or you want to re-design a new blueprint, sketch out your design so you can show others when you need assistance. If your blueprint is already completed, you can take it your local garden store and ask them for tips on creating a more “green” lighting landscape. Sometimes the people in your local area will have the best tips that will work for your specific location. Your local store will also have experience in what works for your budget, labor and time investment.

2. Low Voltage Lighting

Here at Best Pro Lighting, we encourage low voltage lighting because it provides superior lighting to your landscape design without sacrificing price, energy or beauty. Low voltage lighting is energy efficient and maximizes power to save you money on your electric bill. Besides the “green” seal of approval, this lighting is a perfect addition to walkways, paths, decks and sidewalks. Low voltage landscape lights are easy to install as well.

3. Timers

Many landscape lights can be hooked up to a timer which will automatically turn your lights on and off according to your schedule. By setting your lights to a time, you will avoid wasting power when your lights are on at unnecessary times of the day. You can opt for a mechanical timer which requires manual adjustments or an astronomical timer which is programmed to operate based on your location on the map. Your lights will automatically turn on or off depending on the settings.

4. Solar Lighting

Solar panels have become the wave of the future and many homeowners are using them in their landscapes. Since their inception, solar panels have dropped in price, yet have become more efficient and able to absorb more power. Though some older model solar lights provide a weaker illumination, the newer models burn brightly for longer periods of time. Set solar panels where they will receive maximum light during the day.

Take the time to research the ways you can create a “greener” environment with your landscape lighting. With only a small amount of effort you can make a large impact on the environment.