ILLUMINATE your outdoor spaces
If you’re spending time outdoors, especially from the time the sun goes down and moon goes up, you’re going to want a properly lit area. Luckily, there are easy, cost-effective, and energy-efficient ways to light up your deck, patio, trees, pathways, etc.
Adding lights outside might take a professional’s help, especially if you need outlets installed or to get up to rooflines. Think twice before digging a trench or getting up on a tall ladder—that’s what trained and licensed professional electricians know how to do without damaging a sprinkler line or creating a wobbly situation.
For those DIYers on a budget, here are a few ideas you can do safely on your own.
How Do You Illuminate a Backyard?
Use what you have! An easy way to create a cozy ambiance is to hang lights. Whether it’s holiday lights, fairy lights, or if you have a thing for red hot chili pepper lights, you can be creative without breaking the bank.
Trees – Take advantage of the flora of your backyard. You can easily drape string lights from tree branches or bushes. Make it easy on yourself by ensuring your lights are close enough to a power outlet. For a more secure hang, drill a hole in a tree, install a cup hook and wrap the light around it with a tie (twist ties or garbage ties work!
You can also drape lights across your fence.
A note on string lights: Typically, string lights with 50 to 70 lights per string result in a length of 25 to 35 feet. Measure the branches you wish to wrap before purchasing your string lights! The thicker your branches, the more lights you will need, regardless of the length of the branches.
Fountains – There are lights designed specifically for fountains and ponds. These lights are submersible, and many of them are weighted, which means they will drop to the bottom of the pond without a lot of extra work from you.
Add some color by opting for lights with multi-colored lenses or create ambiance with floating solar LED lights.
Consider using LED lights which will last longer and use less energy.
While enhancing your property and providing added security with outdoor lights on at night, tap into the possibility of controlling your landscape lights by remote control or an app on your phone.
Walkways – When you’re entertaining in the evening, you want to have some sort of guidance, otherwise you and your guests will be stumbling around in the dark! Placing spotlights along your walkway adds safety and ambiance to an otherwise ordinary path.
Outdoor flood lights are among the brightest. A 25-watt LED bulb provides a brilliant amount of light (2,650 *lumens), and it takes up to 90% less energy than incandescent bulbs. Not to mention, these types of bulbs can last for over 20 years.
*What is a “lumen?” A lumen is a unit of luminous flux, a measure of the total quantity of visible light emitted by a source per unit of time. Essentially, it is a measure of brilliance.
Fifty lumens can provide low background light. For lighting your backyard, you probably want to stick between 50 to 2,400 lumens. Indoor lighting (like in your home office or dining room) should have a brightness level of between 3,000 to 6,000 lumens. Dim light can cause you damage to your eyes over time (not to mention it’s hard to see!).
Figuring out your lumens.
To give you an idea, a 100-watt incandescent light bulb gives off 1,500 to 1,700 lumens; whereas LED lights produce 70 to 100 lumens per watt (or 7,000 to 10,000 per 100-watt).
Here are some typical lumen amounts for your outdoor lighting:
Floodlights – 700 to 1300. The brighter the lights, the more brilliance they give off, and the more you can see.
Path Lights – 100 to 200
Landscape Lights – 50 to 300 (smaller if you want a muted effect/larger if you want something more dramatic – like lighting a sculpture)
Motion Sensor Lights – 300 to 400
Pool/Pond Lights – 200 to 400
Decks – String lights or step lights are a great way to create ambiance and increase safety, but accent lighting is also an option if you have an outdoor grill or entertainment center. Installing lights under the counter of your outdoor built-in grill can allow you to entertain well into the evening.
Recessed lighting works well if you have a roof overhang on your porch or deck. This type of lighting is easier to clean, and because recessed lighting parts are hidden, they are better protected from the elements.
Also consider adding in-floor lighting for your deck floor or a light kit to your outdoor fan.
Add an Outdoor Electric Fireplace
If you don’t want the hassle of maintaining an outdoor, woodburning fireplace, you can add an electric fireplace to your deck or patio. Typically, electric fireplaces are only for indoor use, so you need to make sure that the unit you’re looking at is OKed for outdoor use.
Electric fireplaces imitate real flames with LED lights and built-in heaters (which are often included) give you option of ambiance + warmth. However, using the heating element with electric fireplaces is optional if it’s just ambiance you’re going for.
Your outdoor space doesn’t have to be boring – and the time you spend there doesn’t have to be limited by daytime hours or even season. A professional electrician can help guide you with lighting options and to help you style your deck, patio or backyard into a place you can relax and retire to everyday.
Contact Tri-County Electric Service to find out what we can do for your outdoor spaces!