Outdoor Lighting Tips From a Pro
How to avoid common mistakes when installing pathway and landscape lighting in your yard
Mark Piantedosi of Commonwealth Landscape Lighting has been installing fixtures in Massachusetts for 13 years. He offers this advice to help you avoid rookie mistakes.
It's natural to want to string lights in one straight line from the transformer. But that can leave the lamps at the very end starved for power. It's better to create hubs or a T, with the transformer at its base.
As a general rule, it's best to illuminate from above. A lamp in a tree covers more ground than one installed at knee level.
Resist the urge to brighten every inch of walkway. You're not lighting a parking lot. Ideally the lamps should be placed 10 to 15 feet apart, creating pools of light that gently point the way.
Poorly aimed lamps can be harsh on the eyes, especially around stairways and hillsides. Don't forget that eye level shifts when people sit down. If you want folks to enjoy that garden bench, don't throw light in their faces.
Despite the extra effort to run a line beneath the walkway, it's more attractive to place lights on both sides of a path. Stagger them rather than placing them directly opposite one another runway-style.