Installing outdoor LED lighting properly is extremely important to show your outdoor space in its greatest potential. Below are a few common mistakes, in no particular order, to avoid when installing outdoor LED lighting for your landscape.
Not having a proper plan in mind
One of the most common mistakes people make in outdoor LED lighting is not having a good plan for immediate and future illumination requirements. Your plan should outlines at least rough stages for installation, and also, ideally, you need to think of the following:
- How are you going to implement the usage of timers or programmable features that will save money and effort in the long run?
- How will you calculate the luminous flux? If you know software such as Dialux, you will find it very helpful for calculating the flux that you need.
- Consulting the manufacturer specifications to be sure about which LEDs are waterproof, and which can be used underwater (if you need underwater lighting).
- The amount of light that you will need. No matter how carefully you plan and budget, often you can be caught with not enough lights to complete your lighting display. Sometimes, by the time you realize this, it can be frustrating to find enough strings. It is always recommended that you buy a little more than you think you’ll need.
Going for a cheaper product when you can afford to pay more
While retail-grade LEDs are best for people on a budget, it is best to invest in commercial-grade lights. Purchase from a reputable dealer. Lower quality, cheaper bulbs may not last as long and can even be less safe. Find out more about LED Light Safety Precautions.
Underestimating the aspect of a warranty
Don’t be fooled into paying a cheaper price in the first place, only to find out that the warranty aspect and quality of the fixtures don’t meet your standards later on. It’s best to pay more in the beginning, and be properly covered for the future. Make sure that you know exactly what you can claim in case the product fails. Familiarize yourself with the warranty properly is a good step to make. Be sure to check out the quality and warranty information on outdoor and landscape lighting fixtures.
Have a purely functional lighting
Some of the main functions for outdoor lighting are providing safety and direction for navigating in your yard. However, don’t forget to emphasize your landscape’s special features. A good first impression should be not only functional, but also warm and inviting. Outdoor lighting should call attention to the beautiful and unique features of your home. The ideal way to install fixtures is one in which the light can be directed from a variety of directions. This is the best way to create different moods and effects. These lighting directions allow you to create moonlight effects, highlight features, and control shadows when used correctly.
Not using the right focus
Ideally, you need to show the effect that you want to achieve, not the fixture. Make sure the attention is drawn to the object or a feature in your landscape you are trying to emphasize with lighting, i.e. a tree, a part of a house or beautiful design feature. If a fixture is the first thing that eyes notice, try to change the focus of this lighting. The ideal outcome of installing outdoor LED lighting is when visitors don’t really know where the light is coming from. As an example, instead of placing the light amidst a tree foliage, try placing the fixtures opposite the foliage, but angle it so that it focuses on the feature.
Using the same fixtures all over the landscape
Just as it would be boring to find the same exact lamp in every room of one’s home, it’s boring to see the same lighting fixture repeated throughout the yard. It can make the home appear institutional as opposed to personal. Therefore, when installing outdoor LED lighting, use a wide variety of fixtures to light your yard; it will enhance the character and charm of your home. Varying the types of bulbs and fixtures used will bring out the best in your outdoor lighting design.
Using the same type of light everywhere
Forgetting to incorporate ambient, task AND accent lighting. Lighting designers understand that all well-designed spaces incorporate different types of light.
- Ambient light is general lighting for walking around, conversing, and identifying objects.
- Task lighting provides higher, more concentrated lighting for tasks such as chopping vegetables, shaving, or reading.
- Accent light is used to highlight artwork or architectural features, such as the beautiful glass tile you’ve specified in the bath or the ceramic collection your client will showcase in open shelves in the kitchen.
Combining all three types of light gives greater functionality, interest, and likelihood that you will have sufficient lighting. By using uplighting, downlighting, and cross-lighting in ways that best accentuate landscape features, you’ll get great results from your DIY installation. Each has is its own unique effect that’s appropriate for specific situations. Forgetting task lights.
Incorrectly choosing colour and temperature
Remember to choose your LED color temperature wisely. Colored lights work best for highlighting landscaping features, as they are not as bright as white lights, and the interplay between color and shadow creates an interesting effect in outdoor LED lighting schemes.
Avoiding Pure White LEDs
Although pure white LEDs certainly did have a bluish tinge when they first arrived on the market, the technology has improved and most high quality sets no longer have this blue cast. Cheaply made LED lights are the exception — another reason not to buy them at all when installing outdoor LED lighting! More information about Blue LED Lights and UV radiation.
Over-lighting a home costs more and only serves to make you the enemy of the neighborhood. Nighttime outdoor lighting needs to be subtle and provide illumination for safety and beauty, not replicate the light of day. Learn more about How to Avoid Causing Light Pollution.
Incorrect lighting placement
A common mistake when installing outdoor LED lighting is to inadvertently divide the space by placing too many lights in one area and too little in another. You want to evenly distribute light throughout the canvas of your home.
Instead of placing the lights directly opposite one another on either end, try a staggered approach. The light will flow less harshly.
Standing directly under a downlight, without any light at the sides of the face, creates exaggerated and unflattering shadows. Include task lights on the sides if needed to minimize shadows and provide even distribution. This can be achieved with sconces flanking the mirror.
Separate the lighting functions by focal points. For example, make certain that driveway lights point down enough to illuminate the entrance to the garage rather than aiming it down the length of the driveway and into the driver’s eyes.
Another concern is making sure that LEDs don’t overheat. Avoid installing outdoor LED lighting in insulated areas or over heat sources such as stoves.
Failure to use latest automated features
Neglecting to control different types of light separately. For maximum efficiency and flexibility, each type of light should be controlled separately, and light should be dimmable. Controlling multiple sources can be achieved by the old school method of multiple light switches, but there are many more sophisticated ways to achieve control. From a simple programmable wall box system for single room control with preset scenes, to wireless controls that generate their own power and can be reprogrammed from a laptop or phone, with the right amount and type of light for different times and uses. Fixtures with timers or programmable features will save money and effort in the long run, as well as act as Security Lights in your property.