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Outdoor Landscape Lighting Dos and Don’ts

Before installing landscape lighting, learn these tips, tricks, dos and don'ts! See where to place landscaping lighting for the best effect.

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nightNatalia Bratslavsky/Shutterstock

Don’t Focus on Outdoor Landscape Lighting First

While your mind is on landscape lighting, you actually shouldn’t focus on lighting up your pathways and other landscape features, like your trees, first. In fact, you should begin with the primary focus of your outdoor lighting—the most prized part of your property. But what’s that? If you’re new to landscape lighting, check out these DIY outdoor lighting tips for beginners.

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Where to Place Landscaping Lighting: Do Focus on Lighting the House First


Surely, the most prized, and expensive, part of your property is your home. Without it, what would landscape lighting even mean?! That’s why you should first put your attention on lighting your house using the right type of outdoor light fixtures that illuminate your home and provide safety and security at night. You should position lighting fixtures so that they highlight walls of the house as well as architectural features. Check out these breathtaking outdoor lighting looks for your yard.

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lampsSvetlana Iakusheva/Shutterstock

Where to Place Landscaping Lighting: Don’t Overdo It


When it comes to landscape lighting, don’t group too many fixtures in one space. While your thought might be to create optimal lighting of a certain object or space, you’re merely drawing more attention to the lights themselves. Here are 14 outdoor lighting trends for 2018.

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Where to Place Landscaping Lighting: Do Take Advantage of Multiple Layers


If you want to really create a bright spotlight, avoid grouping a lot of fixtures and instead position several spotlights with different angles toward the object, like a garden statue or topiary, that you want to illuminate. This will reveal silhouettes and layers that make for a dramatic effect. Don’t forget about your deck! Here’s how to install deck lighting.

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pathBill Florence/Shutterstock

Where to Place Landscaping Lighting: Don’t Place Lights in a Straight Line


Doing this creates a really bland appearance, like an airport runway, rather than a warm and inviting pathway to walk along. Here’s what’s new in outdoor path lights.

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PathwayAster Garden

Where to Place Landscaping Lighting: Do Get Creative With Pathway Lighting


So if you can’t put your pathway lights in a straight line, what can you do? Get creative! While you don’t want to create too unique of a look that comes off as busy or distracting, you can do something like stagger the lights, or place them so they shine down the pathway. Check out these affordable garden path ideas.

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lightTongsai/Shutterstock

Don’t Choose the Wrong Bulbs


We can’t talk about landscape lighting without discussing energy efficiency. Incandescent bulbs are energy suckers, and won’t last as long as you’d like. Furthermore, bulbs with 40 to 75 watts are ideal for outdoor fixtures, and should work with the fixture you’re using. Using light bulbs with more wattage than needed can actually create an ugly glare that is less than inviting for your guests. Here’s helpful information on outdoor low-voltage lighting.

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Do Opt for LEDs


Gone are the days when LED lighting meant a harsh blue light. If you want a warmer tone, there are plenty of LED options to choose from now. And besides, you’ll use much less energy than with incandescent bulbs. And to avoid any of that unwanted glare, use soft, downward-focused lighting. You might find this guide on how to install outdoor lighting and outlets helpful!

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fountainMelissa E Dockstader/Shutterstock

Where to Place Landscaping Lights: Don’t Ignore the Small or Out of Sight Spaces


Whether it’s the second floor of your home, or that dark space in the corner of your yard, your oversight of these second-thought locations could keep you from truly taking advantage of the safety, security and beauty of landscape lighting. Speaking of safety and security, check out this motion sensor security lighting that is built to last.

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Do Use Accent Lights


Using even just a small accent light can work wonders for the dark corners around the yard. Not only will it create even more beauty, it can also help keep away potential intruders who seek out dark places to stay unnoticed. Check out these 15 outdoor string lights that may make you want to live outside.

Alexa Erickson
Alexa is an experienced lifestyle and news writer, currently working with Reader's Digest, Shape Magazine and various other publications. She loves writing about her travels, health, wellness, home decor, food and drink, fashion, beauty and scientific news. Follow her traveling adventures on Instagram: @living_by_lex, send her a message: [email protected] and check out her website: livingbylex.com