6 Outdoor Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

6 Outdoor Lighting Mistakes to Avoid

It's hard to think of everything when planning a new home. Unfortunately, it's not uncommon to experience a sort of epiphany, if maybe in reverse, once you settle in and think of something you "shoulda" included. Sometimes it's easy enough to add a fixture in a closet, or aim light into a dark corner; at other times, you simply learn to live without the outlet or the switch that "woulda" made life easier. 

At home and on the patio, however, Aterra Designs will work with you to assure that you won't be singing the "coulda" in your new home.

The Final Effect Is Only As Good As the Plan

How often do you hear that? It's as true for deck and landscape lighting, and for outdoor electrical needs as it is for teaching responsibility to a teenager. Aterra designers has years of experience planning for special effects and unusual needs, but we still believe a plan is necessary. 

We hope you'll visit with us to find out how to do it right when planning your new lighting plan, and we've compiled a list of some of the ideas we think you should consider

We've also compiled a list of what we consider the most common mistakes:

  1. Not knowing or not paying attention to code requirements. Because of Dark Sky ordinances, and just to be neighborly, it's better not to ask for high wattage spotlights on the corners of your home, even if they will only be on in case of emergency. There are options for security that are not only better, but also a lot less obtrusive. 
  2. Not embracing the benefits of dimmers for outside lighting. There is no reason to forego the added flexibility that rheostats provide -- even for landscape lighting. Principles for general illumination, task lighting and accent lights apply to decks and patios as well as to trees and shrubs. Mix different levels of light and consider different times of day to add beauty, aid mobility and increase the usefulness of your yard and patio
  3. Not planning ahead. If a gazebo or garden shed, a putting green or an outdoor kitchen are on your wish list, it's better to plan now for those additions that to leave the wiring for the future. By planning ahead, you can assure that electrical service to the property is sufficient for future needs, and that you won't have to tunnel under walks or route wiring around walls to get it where it's needed.
  4. Not considering the advantages of technology. Low-voltage, LED, solar, motion-activated fixtures, dusk to dawn sensors, smart apps, and a whole host of other options will help make your landscape beautiful now and effective far into the future. 
  5. Not lighting for special effects and special needs. Even people with perfect vision appreciate lighted steps. Outline an entire patio with soft, glowing rope lights; illuminate a white garden for dramatic nighttime effect, or showcase a specimen saquaro as sculpture in your backyard. Think outside the box, and go for dramatic effect!
  6. Thinking only of lighting. Electrical options extend far beyond the obvious: Think about infrared heaters for cool evenings, the attraction of an outdoor TV for the big game or a family movie night, or speakers in the cabana and near the pool. Also think about the need for weed-eaters in the far corners of the yard, power tools for projects, or the many devices that a group of kids may want to plug in. Imagine how your future might include different needs.

Aterra can be of service as you plan for home security and automation, decide on the relative merits of low-voltage and LED, and try to balance your desire for style and innovation with budget reality. While we don't actually help you select lighting fixtures, we'll be happy to discuss all your options with you.

We'll also help you avoid those common mistakes!

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