Technically speaking, selecting and installing exterior lighting is easy. You find a high quality architectural exterior lighting retailer, you buy a bunch of bits and pieces and you get to work transforming your outdoor living spaces. The only problem being that when the job’s done, it doesn’t look or feel even remotely like you expected it.
What went wrong?
Well, the simple answer is that you probably made one of a number of highly common mistakes the vast majority of newcomers to outdoor lighting fall foul of. On the plus side, they can all be corrected with ease. It’s simply a case of identifying exactly where you went wrong, in order to make the necessary corrections.
So if you are considering installing outdoor lighting or have found yourself disappointed by the results you have achieved to date, here’s a quick rundown of just a few of the most common mistakes that you should be looking to avoid at all costs.
1 – A Random Approach
First of all, if you do not set about the project with a comprehensive plan laid out, it is highly unlikely you will be satisfied with the result. Going about things with a random approach certainly does have the potential to work, but generally speaking, it won’t. When the professionals go about outdoor lighting projects, they first carry out a full assessment of the area, carefully consider the options available to them and strategically think about exactly what kinds of lighting to use where. From practical illumination to feature lighting to security lighting and so on, there are so many different layers of lighting to take into account – not to mention each and every corner of your exterior living spaces.
2 – Too Much of a Good Thing
Perhaps the single biggest mistake made by so many first timers is that of getting well and truly carried away. The simple fact of the matter is that in so many instances, less really can be more. If you blast your garden with far too much light from every angle, it will end up looking like a floodlit football pitch with absolutely no atmosphere or ambience. By contrast, if you strategically light your garden and deliberately leave certain areas much darker than others, you stand every chance of creating a genuine work of art. Avoid getting carried away with the amount of light you introduce in your garden and try not to focus too much on one specific type of light.
3 – Glare and Shadows
Two highly important considerations to be mindful of when it comes to any kind of home lighting are glare and shadows. In the case of glare, this basically refers to any instance where the source of light is exposed to such an extent that it becomes an overly bright inconvenience that is uncomfortable to look at. In the case of shadows, this refers to instances where lighting fixtures have been placed strategically, though end up creating the kinds of shadows that hide key features or plunge living spaces into darkness. The best advice when it comes to getting it right with glare and shadows is to play around with the positioning of your lighting fixtures, for as long as it takes to produce the kind of result you are looking for.
4 – Low-Grade Bulbs and Hardware
One important consideration to bear in mind at all times is that if you decide to invest in low-grade hardware and substandard bulbs, you cannot expect professional quality results. There is a very big, very important reason why there is such an enormous difference when it comes to the price points of lighting hardware at opposite ends of the spectrum. This isn’t to say that it is always necessary to spend a small fortune, in order to light up your garden quite magnificently. Instead, it is simply to say that if you opt for the very cheapest and lowest quality hardware on the market, there’s a very good chance you are lining yourself up for a pretty big disappointment.
5 – No Separate Controls
Last but not least, if you are going to make the effort to light your exterior living spaces in a manner that is both practical and appealing, it would be a shame to overlook the importance of separate controls. Rather than simply having a single switch that controls the whole thing, you should definitely think about installing separate controls and dimmer switches, in order to take better control of each area of your garden. This will add almost nothing at all to the overall cost of lighting your garden, though has the potential to make the most spectacular difference in terms of visual appeal.