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Tips for Residential Outdoor Lighting

Mar 31, 2008
The importance of residential outdoor lighting can't be stressed to highly enough. You must recognize the difference between lighting the outdoors and the indoors of your home though. Here are some things that you need to remember if you decide to install outdoor lighting for your home.

Make a Plan

There are two ways of planning your residential outdoor lighting. Some recommend that you finish everything first before planning for lights while others say that you should plan the placement of your outdoor lights even before your outdoor structures and landscapes are completed. Either way would work and your plans will depend on your preference.

If you want to plan for outdoor lighting after everything is done, assess and evaluate your property properly to determine which areas need lighting. Look for pathways, potentially dark areas, steps, ledges and objects that may have to be lighted to prevent accidents. You could also try to locate items that you would like to be highlighted for decorative purposes.

Keep Changes to a Minimum

If you have just finished some outdoor structures or landscaping, then you would definitely not want to destroy or redo something just because of your residential outdoor lighting. Aside from planning, you should also carefully plot your property and potential residential outdoor lighting locations before you begin on your lighting project.

Use Variety

You do not need to stick to just one style of residential outdoor lighting. Don't just settle for buying just one set of lamps or one set of embedded lights. Try to consider the idea of using a variety of residential outdoor lighting fixtures and items. Paths and driveways for example can be illuminated by lamp posts while landscapes, shrubs and focal objects can be illuminated by spotlights, backlights or uplights. Wall mounted lights, tiki torches, lanterns and table lamps are also possible options for residential outdoor lighting.

Ask an Expert

If you think you are not so handy with installing lights yourself, then you should consider asking an expert. Be careful though because some individuals who claim that they know about residential outdoor lighting simply read off catalogs and learn through hit or miss. Get an installer who has a good reputation and who has been installing residential outdoor lighting for a living for some time already.

Check Building Codes

Before you even connect a single wire, make sure that you have checked installation and building codes. This is not just a matter of complying with a set of rules. This is a matter of keeping your family and neighbors safe from faulty wiring or installation.

Practice Electrical Safety

One of the most important things is for you to make sure that the lighting is safe to use at all times. Although product qualities are often quality controlled, you should do your part in ensuring safety. You should for example consider having separate external electrical split receptacles instead of using extension cords. You can also choose to install ground fault circuit interrupters near pools or wet areas. Both precautions can help prevent electrocution.
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