Steps for Planning your Outdoor Illumination

Invest in planning your outdoor illumination to help insure that you make the most of your time, your resources, and your location. The more you can do with what you have the better you will be able to enjoy the results.

Outdoor Stairs Lighting

Top Seven Tips for Planning Your Outdoor Illumination

1. Start With Your Dream

Think about all the things that you would like to do with your outdoor design. Try to picture you, your guests, and your family out in the space. What does it look like? What are you doing? Make a list of all the different ways you would like to utilize the space. If you need ideas, look online for designs that appeal to you, and come up with as many different ideas as you like. You may simply want to light a path or some steps for added safety, or you may want to go all out. Consider these areas for lighting:

  • Architectural Lighting
  • Deck and Patio Lighting
  • Pool, Pond, or Water Feature Lighting
  • Pathway Lighting
  • String and Party Lighting
  • Landscape Lighting

2. Refine Your Dream

Look over your dream list. Look over your space. Begin to define what parts of the dreams would fit in your existing spaces.

3. Set Your Financial Budget

Before you define your final plan, you need to determine the amount of funds you can invest in your space. Write down an overall figure (to include any labor or supplies) and then make a commitment to stick to that figure.  You’ll find a wide range of prices for outdoor lighting. For example, Walmart has these crackle design solar path lights for $1.97 each. My son has them around his patio, they look great and produce a nice amount of light. Walmart even has a smaller, cylindrical solar path light for just 97 cents.

Crackle Solar Lights

On the other hand, I fell in love with these weather resistant deck lamps that I came across online. They’re just a bit more pricey at $2,124.00 – $4,148.00!!

Amphora Deck Lamps

The point is, no matter how large or small your budget is, you can design great looking space.

4. Set a Time Budget

Most people think about making a plan for the finances but forget about the time. Time is the only thing you will never make more of so be sure that you are investing your time wisely. Review the different aspects of your dream outdoor space so you can set a plan for the amount of time required for your plan to come to fruition. Can you do it yourself quickly and easily? Or are you going to have to take a course in electricity before you can even begin to run the needed wiring? If so, weight the pros and cons of DIY and hiring a contractor to save your time and effort.

5. Go Window Shopping

Visit a home supply or garden supply store, and even some online stores, and look over some of the outdoor illumination options. You are just shopping and making lists at this point. Make notes of the costs and also the different options that you can utilize in planning your outdoor illumination.

6. Put Your Plan On Paper

Measure your outdoor space and then translate those measurements into a drawing you can understand. Make marks for the different areas where you will be installing lights and fixtures. Make notes about how these different installations will help make your dreams a reality. And don’t worry, it doesn’t have to be as precise as the plan in this image, as long as you understand it.

Lighting Plans

7. Compare Your Plan With Your Budget

Count up the fixtures and lights that you have marked out in your outdoor lighting design. Compare them to the list of prices that you gathered at the home supply store. Review the budget. If your current totals are within your budget then you are ready to move forward. If you need to make adjustments you can search for lighting fixtures that will lower the cost, or make adjustments in your landscape plans to reduce the number of lights.

Taking the time to make a plan will make it easier for you to bring your ideas for the outdoor spaces to life. The right plan will help you understand what you want from the space, while insuring that you stay within a manageable financial and time budget. Invest a little time and effort into planning your outdoor illumination to be certain that all of your needs for your space are met.

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