Light Up the Landscape

By: Danny Lipford
Old landscape lighting on the front steps of house.

Old landscape lighting on the front steps of Lipford house.

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I was never happy with the landscape lighting that was installed when I built my house 23 years ago. The runway lights on the front walk and steps were too dim, and the soffit lighting blinded those who walked up.

So, with the help of Jim and Nick Burks of , my wife Sharon and I decided that it was time to replace our old lights with new, state-of-the-art outdoor lighting.

Front of Lipford house with new landscape lighting.

Front of Lipford house with new landscape lighting.

Planning Landscape Lighting

When installing landscape lighting, it’s important to make sure that the lighting illuminates the area subtly without excessive glare.

A lighting plan from a landscape lighting professional is a great way to get an idea what areas of your yard need illumination and where the lights should be positioned before the installation begins.

Landscape lighting plan for Lipford home.

Pinnacle Lighting Group landscape lighting plan for Lipford home.

Read Design Tips for Landscape Lighting and watch Check the Layout of Landscape Lighting to find out more.

Landscape Lighting Bulbs

The color temperature of the bulbs used in landscape lights can make a big difference in the overall effect. The lights we used on the front facade were in the 3000° Kelvin color temperature range, which produces a yellowish light similar to that of standard incandescent lighting.

LED (Light Emitting Diodes) bulbs were used for the tree mounted lights to provide the soft glow of moonlight. LED bulbs are cooler, last longer, and use much less energy than incandescent lights.

Installing Landscape Lighting

Soffit lights on eaves of house.

Soffit lights on eaves.

Lights were attached high up in the trees in the yard with stainless steel fasteners. The soffit mounted lights under the eaves of the house have an extended cone to prevent glare and direct the light downward. Ground mounted lights were installed in the yard to illuminate shrubs and the facade of the house.

After the lights have been installed, they were adjusted at night to provide the proper illumination to enhance the architectural features of the house without blinding those walking up or driving by.

Once the lights had been adjusted, a flat spade was used to pry open a slit in the ground to bury the wires while minimizing the impact on the lawn.

Watch How to Install Low-Voltage Landscape Lighting to find out more.

Front of house at night with landscape lighting.

Lipford house with new landscape lighting.

Cleaning Landscape Lighting Lenses

To clean the lenses on landscape lighting, rub the glass with fine steel wool in a circular motion, then use a paper to remove any remaining dirt and grime.

Watch How to Repair Landscape Lighting to find out more

The new landscape lighting added subtle charm, understated elegance, and improved the security of my home after the sun goes down.

Other Tips from This Episode

Screwing downspout to wall stud in shop.

Simple Solutions with Joe Truini:
Downspout Dowel Storage

To make it easy to access wooden dowels, pieces of pipe, or molding in your shop, attach a short section of vinyl downspout vertically to a stud or the wall about 18” off the floor, then insert the dowels or other items in the downspout. (Watch Video)

Nest Dropcam Security Camera on table.

Best New Products with Jodi Marks:
Nest Dropcam Security Camera

The Nest Dropcam Pro (model# DCAM-002-THD) is a Wi-Fi enabled indoor security camera that’s easy to install and can be accessed remotely from a computer or smartphone. It includes night vision, zoom, and a two-way speaker. The Nest Dropcam Pro is available at The Home Depot. (Watch Video)

Stacking blocks for a retaining wall.

Ask Danny Lipford:
Building Block Retaining Walls

Since mortar joints aren’t required, building a stackable block retaining wall makes a good DIY project for homeowners. The blocks usually have an interlocking lip that helps position and support the wall. Landscape adhesive is applied between each course to help hold the blocks in place. (Watch Video)

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Light Up the Landscape