If there is one way to really take your curb appeal and landscaping up a notch – it’s by adding landscape lights. We wanted to do this for a while, but we figured we would wait until after our renovation was complete to really look into it. Our first quote for getting landscape lights installed? A cool $2500. Yikes. Thanks but no thanks! That’s when we looked into DIY landscape lighting. And it’s really not that hard at all! You can do this.
If you are on the fence about doing your own landscape lighting – this post is the universe saying – give it a try. I think you’ll be glad you did.
Since it’s a bit technical, I’m going to give you the rough outline of what we did, what lighting kit we used and other tips. You really need to read the directions on your landscape lighting kits to do this correctly. But I hope this gives you the idea and motivation!
How to get Started with Landscape Lighting
First thing you want to do is determine where you want your lights, how many you think you will need, and what type of lighting you want.
For starters ...
Do you want them to line a walkway?
Do you want them to highlight a tree, fence or beautiful plant?
Do you want them dispersed throughout the landscape?
Do you want LED or halogen bulbs?
Do you like modern or more traditional looking lights?
We will discuss all this below.
But, you should have a general idea because this will determine the lighting kit that you buy.
DIY Landscape Lighting
Here's the lighting kit we bought ....
It’s much cheaper to do it this way versus buying an LED landscape lighting kit.
How to Layout your Landscape Lighting
I researched how to layout landscape lighting.
For our purposes, we wanted to light up some newly landscaped flower beds, uplight this gorgeous red Japanese maple and also give a bit of light to our pathways. We have a street light not too far away so we didn’t want overkill.
Here are some general rules of thumb. Keep in mind that it’s totally personal preference and we didn’t follow these rules exactly.
- The Best Landscape Lighting combines task lights (safety) with ambient (mood) lights.
- Here are some good starting points for where to put your lights : walking paths, Steps, Driveways, Foliage and Trees, outlines for flower beds, corners of your Home as Accents, Statues or fountains
- Position most lights downward (so it’s not blinding to you or guests), and make sure they are positioned away from windows and the neighbors home. The one exception is when you are highlighting a tree or plant- the light should slightly slope upward.
- Avoid Runway lights – it’s more aesthetically pleasing to stagger them when placing along a pathway.
- Place lights 6-8 feet apart, or refer to the manufacturer recommendation.
- Placing a light close and directly on an object will create a harsher shadow.
- Downward facing lights creating a softer glow.
- When highlighting a patio area – it’s best to create indirect lighting. Stick a few lights under bushes for a glow or highlight rocks to create dramatic shadows. Keep lights pointed away from your patio (staring into a light is not fun.)
- Less is More!
How to Assemble your Landscape Lights
Your lighting kit will have specific instructions on how to do this. Each light is connected through a wire and hooked up to main transformer – which is then plugged into a covered exterior GFCI outlet.
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The lights are easy enough to stake into the ground. The wire between lights should be buried about 3 inches down. You should also give yourself extra wire at each fixture in case you need to move them around at a later date.
There are also a ton of You Tube Videos on this! Like this one…
And a ton of good blog posts – one of my favorites is this one by Yellow Brick Home.
I just love their patio space! And their dogs are pretty cute too. 🙂
Set Lights on a Timer for Easy on/Easy off
Our lighting kit came with built in settings on a timer. All we had to do was set it up! It’s best to revisit your lights every now and again to make sure everything is still working and still facing the direction you want.
This is a super easy DIY Project guys. And way better than spending almost a couple thousand dollars!
We are so happy with this end result and it’s made a huge difference. The use of LED lights and the fact that our lighting kit is low voltage means our electric bill won’t be crazy high either.
At some point, we will buy another set to illuminate our back patio area. I’ll update this post when we finish it.
The Easiest Solution for Budget Friendly Landscape Lighting
Get Solar Lights!
All you need to do is stick them in the ground and let the sun take care of the rest. You can also get these in a warm LED setting. Easy peasy!
If you guys have any questions about the DIY landscape lighting that we used, feel free to leave me a comment! We’ve had them up now for over a month and I just love them.
And I LOVE hearing from you! Tell me what other outdoor projects you would like to see. Have a great day guys!