Why Install Outdoor Lighting?

Outdoor Lighting - Marcelo Campi / Flikr

Outdoor Lighting – Marcelo Campi / Flikr

In Minnesota, the longest day of the year has 15 hours and 24 minutes of sunlight: even with the long summer days around the solstice, however, there are times when it’s comfortable enough to sit outdoors, but the hard work of landscaping can’t be seen under cover of darkness. Outdoor lighting provides just enough extra illumination to enjoy outdoor space when the sun goes down.

Well-planned landscape lighting can lengthen the amount of possible time comfortably spent outdoors in a day, and adds an element of coziness to any space. Lamps along pathways, patios, and beds can also make the garden a safer spot to gather and explore once night falls.

Lighting Options

There are a variety of options for outdoor lighting: understated wall and fence sconces, playful tiki torches, unobtrusive path or walkway lights, clear-as-day flood lights, elegant post lights, low-key built in deck or walkway lights, festive strings of paper lanterns, or illuminating spotlights that shine on trees, shrubs, water features, and sculptures.

What kind of lighting you use depends on the theme of the landscape, and the level of illumination desired.

Solar-Powered LED Lamp - Maja Dumat / Flikr

Solar-Powered LED Lamp – Maja Dumat / Flikr

There are also also more options for how these lights are powered than ever before. Conventional installations can be wired to use the house’s power supply, and with LED bulbs, are becoming more and more energy efficient and durable. Solar powered options are also becoming more popular, with a solar cell on top of each lighting fixture recharging it each day. Additionally, glow-in-the-dark items—like pots, pathway lighting strips, and ornaments—are gaining popularity. With the latter two, however, it is essential that the light fixture be placed in a full-sun location all day, so there are limits as to where they can successfully be installed.

When to Install Outdoor Lighting

Installation and planning of lighting is best accomplished while a total landscape plan is being implemented: this eliminates the need dig up established garden features at a later date in order to lay down infrastructure like wiring (if needed). If you’re planning a garden overhaul, consider consulting with a landscaper about outdoor lighting options, in order to fully integrate this after-hours element into the final garden experience.