Outdoor Lighting Design

By
Home Inspector with National Property Inspections

This is probably the best time of year for anyone who enjoys a little "spookiness" at night. Haunted houses, haunted hayrack rides and masks help make Halloween spooky and fun. It's also a great time of year to think about outdoor lighting. No one wants a trip or fall to mean an injury for a little trick or treater. Plus, darkness falls so fast. Finding the right outdoor lighting does take some time and some thought:

Outdoor lighting accents your landscape and makes the home a safer place, especially as days get shorter. When installing the power supply insure the source is GFCI protected, protected from water intrusion, and the wiring is protected from damage of shovels and gardening tools. Low voltage lines left exposed can cause a trip hazard or damage power equipment.

If you are considering lighting fountains or ponds, place the light behind the object to highlight the silhouette. To light trees and shrubbery, angle the light against a wall or fence behind the object, this will bring out the texture and look more dramatic. Lighting paths and sidewalks is important for preventing trips or falls and discouraging break-ins. 

If you are using outdoor lights, consider energy efficient lighting techniques, including: compact fluorescent light bulbs, high intensity discharge lighting and high pressure sodium or metal halide lighting. Another option is solar lighting. Solar lights use solar cells to charge batteries used to power lights during the night.

Motion sensors, available with some types of outdoor lighting, save energy and extend the life of the bulb used. For the best results, use outdoor lighting that is design for your region.

It is also important, if using electrical wiring, to make sure wires are properly installed, made of the proper materials of exterior use and haven't been damaged during the summer months when perhaps they weren't used as much. The eletrical system is generally part of a general property inspection. If you haven't looked over the property inspection you had when you purchased your home. This might be a good time for a review and maintenance check. 

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outdoor lighting
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M. Murphy

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