Designing the exterior garden lighting style that you want in your yard can be incredibly exciting. Your garden essentially becomes a blank canvas that you can put any and all of your ideas on and unleash all of your inner creativity to create any number of effects and moods. However, despite being well-intentioned many people make some very common mistakes when trying to design the lights in the garden. But with the right research and time spent designing your lighting scheme you can avoid being subject to this shame. These are but a few of the all-too-common mistakes people make when designing their low voltage garden lighting and how to avoid them.
Design Mistake #1 – Using Too Much Light
Sadly, the most common mistake most people make when lighting their gardens is using too much light. Gardeners will use very high wattage bulbs in many of their light fixtures, washing out the entire area in light. You should not be lighting up your garden in the same way that you would light up your yard to play a game of catch at night. Instead of turning night into day, use the night to create dramatic effects and shadows with your plants.
Avoiding this mistake is easy – just use fewer, lower wattage bulbs. Subtle light is the key. Enjoy the night and the different sides of your garden that it can bring out, don’t try to wash it away with a gigantic light that could double as a spotlight for the local car dealership.
Design Mistake #2 – Using More Than One Type of Material
With so many different outdoor garden lighting fixtures out on the market today, it can be tempting to want to use all of them in your garden – don’t. All of the light fixtures in your garden should have the same general look and theme to create a sense of continuity. All of your lights do not have to be in the exact same style, but the changes in them should not be too dramatic. Don’t try to do too much at once. Pick a style that you like and stick with it. You can always change fixtures to something else later.
Mistake #3 – Trying to Create More Than One Theme or Mood
Along the same lines as the previous mistake, don’t try to create too many moods in your garden. If you have a huge estate with large botanical gardens that would make Louis XVI of France jealous, then by all means feel free to create different sections of your garden with different moods. However, most of us will be tightly constrained by the property area that we have available. For this reason, creating more than one mood will cause your garden to lack continuity and instead of feeling the emotions that you’re trying to elicit from them, most visitors to your garden will just leave confused to as why you put island-inspired lights right next to an area lit like a Japanese rock garden.
Avoiding this mistake is simple as well. Just pick one general theme and mood that you would like anyone visiting your garden to experience and draw all your lighting around trying to recreate this feeling. If you go this route nine times out of ten you will succeed in setting up the type of mood you would like to establish.
Mistake #4 – Using Low Quality Materials and Construction Methods
Installing garden lights, especially if you’re planning on having an extensive low voltage system, can be expensive and time consuming. The temptation may be to use lower quality materials to save some money so you can light more of your property at once or fudge a little bit in installing the lights by doing things like not burying wires when you should. However this is one of the biggest mistakes that you can make. The garden lighting system that you are installing will hopefully last for years without any major maintenance costs other than replacing light bulbs. By using lower quality materials and construction methods you are setting yourself up for a lot more headaches down the road.
Make sure that you know exactly how much time and money you are willing to put into installing your garden lighting. If you don’t have all the money necessary to install the quality lights you want, either save up until you do or just install some of the lights. You can always come back later and add more. Also make sure that you have enough time to properly install the lights once you buy them so that you don’t end up with a rushed job. Remember, measure twice cut once.
Garden Lighting Mistake #5 – Using a High Maintenance System
Whatever system you install for your garden lights should be as low maintenance as you can possibly make it up front. Make sure that light bulbs or lighting fixtures aren’t going to be an incredible pain to change. Consider make the entire system work on a remote control, an easily accessible switch, or even a timer. After your lights are installed, you should be spending your time enjoying them, not trying to keep them in proper working order.
If you avoid these five common garden lighting mistakes, you should be well on your way to having the perfect plan for lighting your garden in no time. Just make sure to do your research, comparison shop, and spend enough time planning out where you want the lights to go and soon you will have a system that is the envy of the neighborhood, increases your property value, and allows you and your friends to enjoy your garden in literally a whole new light.