25 Jan 6 common landscape lighting mistakes
By Mike Gambino
For all the information available on creating, nurturing and maintaining architectural, garden and landscape lighting, some myths continue to lead to common landscape lighting mistakes. The difficulty in sticking to good lighting methods and maintenance is one of the most underestimated aspects of home ownership. Yet, there is also no easier way to take pride in the appearance of your home at night and increase your property value. You may have heard some of the following statements, but don’t let them fester into dangerous decision making.
“I don’t need a professional landscape lighting designer”
Planning out your design is an essential component to creating attractive landscape lighting without spending more than necessary. You will be better prepared to calculate the amount of money you will need to complete the job, and see the flow of your plan. This will also avoid placing fixtures in poor locations, you need to consider how power will reach that area, how much light that area receives, if the light levels are right. Failure to plan, can lead to improper placement of fixtures, insufficient illumination and or purchasing or wasting unwanted materials.
“By using less fixtures, I’m saving money.”
This is a big one that can lead to costly mistakes. Sure using less materials and labor will initially cost less but will this accomplish the goal of the project? It is a common mistake for the property owner to desire to cut materials to reach a desired budget. However when fixtures are spread thin a desirable result is rarely achieved. Adding the appropriate fixtures back in later to achieve the better result often requires the previously installed fixtures to be relocated. In short it is usually more costly to add more fixtures later than doing the project right from the start.
“If I use less fixture, my energy bills will be lower.”
Not necessarily. Homeowners often equate fixture qty to energy costs. 150 LED low voltage lighting system fixtures will consume less electricity than 30 halogen Low voltage lighting system fixtures which will consume less electricity than 10 standard voltage fixtures.
“I don’t need a professional landscape lighting service.”
Some homeowners may think that landscaping lighting service providers lack the technical skill requirements of electrical or plumbing contractors and landscape lighting is inherently a DIY project. However this is not the case, landscape lighting maintenance and construction are very technical and can lead to problems if not done correctly. It’s true that most people can mow their own lawns or plant a few shrubs, but the opportunity provided by professional landscape lighting specialists shouldn’t be prematurely dismissed. In fact, contrary to many homeowners’ perceptions, professional landscape lighting is one of the most important, moderately-sized home improvements out there. When considering landscape lighting construction you should think of it as extending the living space of your home and creating more usability at night.
“If I use less fixtures I will get less brightness.”
Yes and No. Light quantity pr brilliance is measured in lumens. The higher the number of lumens the greater the light output. It is possible to use less fixtures that create brighter light but this is often not the best practice. For instance motion detector or sport court lights produce a lot of illumination but tend to be glare producing, not aesthetically pleasing or an effective way to light a landscape. Multiple low wattage fixtures placed closer to the subject provide better light spread and coverage, more even illumination without unattractive and distracting dark holes and glare.
“All landscape lighting is good landscape lighting.”
This last myth is loaded with potential mistakes. Although an unadorned property at night is a missed opportunity to create or enhance your homes curb appeal, ill-advised landscape lighting can cause more damage than it’s worth. One of the most common mistakes is voltage drop where lighting fixtures are out of balance electrically. System performance, color, light output and light bulb longevity are affected by a poorly engineered system. It is also important to consider the proper system that will thrive in your landscape as well as the evolution and placement of fixtures and how the design will look in years to come.
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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