You finally made a decision to put landscape lighting on your property. Let’s talk about the right way to do it. The first decision is whether or not to hire a professional to perform the job or would you rather invest the sweat-equity and complete the project yourself.

After DIY on HGTV last weekend, I am ready to tackle this job myself. Let’s talk about a few things to do to make the project successful. First, decide what is most important; safety and security, aesthetics, extending your outdoor living space, spending more time outdoors or some combinations of the above. Once your project direction is decided, we need to pick out the features of the property you want to highlight. Go out during the daylight hours, and make notes as to what your eyes see. Ask yourself what captures your eye. What do you want to highlight, and is there anything you need to disappear? Is it architectural features, colors, special components like doors, windows, peaks? Make note of it all. Now go out at nighttime, and take the same look. How many of those features are noticeable? Are there any additional areas that seem to disappear or need extra help in being noticed? Stand in the front yard and think for a moment, Grandma is on her way to your home. She just arrived and is on her way up to the front door. Do you see anything that would make this a difficult trip for her? Safety is keeping those you love protected as well as keeping the unwanted guests away. Make notes of what Grandma’s problem areas would be and how comfortable she would be making that trip alone after hours in the dark. Pay attention to the hiding areas or extra dark spots.

Now we are ready to begin. Once we have a game plan as to what is important and what needs to be corrected, changed or improved we can begin. Now the fixtures need to be discussed. There are over 20,000 fixtures but only about 10 capabilities. Is our goal to accent features? This is usually done with well lights and spotlights. Do we need to place lighting on the pathways to help the Grandma’s of our world, this is usually done with path lights. Do we need to eliminate hiding or dark spots to make sure the unwanted guest have no hiding areas, this is done with wash lights or security lights. What do we need to spend a little extra time discussing life with the neighbor; this is the overall placement of all fixtures.

We then want to decide the number of fixtures needed, the placement of fixtures and how to get the best effect by connecting the transformer together. We also need to determine what the product is to be made of: copper, stainless, plastic; large, small; decorative or discreet? All these factors go into the price of the system. This is where personal decisions have to play into this project. Once the decision is made on numbers of fixtures, material the fixtures are made of, and installation locations of each fixture, the project is about complete. The only thing now is the place the fixtures, connect to the transformer, adjust the light output and enjoy the completed project for many years to come. As with most projects the planning process and selection process takes most of the time.

All good projects start with a well thought out plan. Research and a good understanding of the finished outcome will produce great results.