Finding Illumination -- 4 Steps To Designing The Right Lighting For Your Yard

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Lighting your yard properly is part of the hardscaping (designing all the inorganic elements of the yard) process that's rarely given much attention. But installing the right lighting can mean the difference between a little-used hardscaping area and an entertainment mecca for your friends and family. So, how do you decide on the right lighting? Here's a 4 step primer.

Consider the Purpose. Not all lighting is created equal. To know what the right design or the right pieces will be, you first need to know what you want from each specific lit area. What do you want to highlight as a focal point? Where do you want to create a quiet, contemplative spot? What pathways need illumination and what tone do you want them to set? Deciding what the theme or reason for lighting each spot will be can help you find the right light. For instance, a single bright light can be focused to serve as an illumination on a particular focal point such as a sculpture or fountain. Soft, diffuse lighting, on the other hand, may help create an inviting and warm pathway. 

Decide on Locations. Once you know what you want from each section of lighting, you can begin to place individual lights. It may be useful to make a sketch of the yard in order to see how the lighting all fits together as well as understand obstacles you may face (such as power sources, shadows and other fixed hardscape elements like a gazebo). A patio, deck or other hardscape used for entertaining may require more obvious and brighter lighting than a secluded nook. For each lighting effect, determine where the light should come from and how much of it you want. 

Set a Budget. Most homeowners will want to take the time to determine what they can afford and plan with this in mind. High-voltage lighting, for example, can cost significantly more than low-voltage lighting and require professional installation. Solar powered lights can be even cheaper since they don't have ongoing electricity costs. But lights are different, and you should consider what you can afford while making your design. 

Ask for Help. If your yard is extensive or you have specific lighting needs, consider hiring professional assistance from a qualified hardscaping service. Laying out good lighting and installing it properly can save money and time later on due to easier maintenance, adequate coverage and correct placement. Click here for more information on hardscaping services.

By spending the time and money to determine where and how to install proper yard lighting, you can help ensure a useful space that you will enjoy and be proud of for years to come.