If you want to give your backyard a quick and painless facelift, consider adding cheap outdoor lighting to highlight your garden's best features. By uplighting plants and structures, grazing the surfaces of walls, and downlighting paths and patios, you can create a welcoming atmosphere at night. And it doesn't have to cost a bundle.
Outdoor Lighting Resources
Lighting your landscaping is a beautiful way to create a stunning outdoor scene for your home. Yard lighting is a home improvement that many people want to save money on. Start your search for affordable lights at these online retailers:
- Garden.com is a great resource that allows you to pick up not just outdoor lighting, but other home and garden items in just one stop.
- Hayneedle.com offers torches of all kinds, from gas and oil to lanterns and sconces.
- eLights offers not only the typical selection of outdoor lighting options, but also features dark sky friendly lighting, which helps stop excessive light pollution.
Outdoor lights can also be found at larger warehouse and home improvement stores like Lowe's and Menards. Check with your local hardware store or landscaping company to see what they offer as well. Sometimes you may be able to get a discount if you purchase your lighting from the same retailer who did your landscaping.
Lighting Considerations Outside
Maybe you have a cozy seating area, an interesting wood arbor, or dramatic tree that's worth attention at night as well as in the day. The proper lighting directs attention to these areas to accentuate the outline of plants and structures, and helps you enjoy more of the outdoors.
Cheap lighting refers to inexpensive lighting, not poor quality. Paying any amount of money on something that will just fall apart after minimal use is a waste of money. But with a little comparison shopping, you can enhance your garden or walkway without busting your budget.
When choosing discounted outdoor lighting, you should look for:
- Manufacturer warranties.
- Bulbs that can be easily replaced: If the fixture model is being discontinued, make sure it uses a standard bulb that you can easily and inexpensively find elsewhere.
- Low-voltage lighting kits that you can install yourself without an electrician.
- If the outdoor lights are solar light fixtures, find out the number LEDs used in the lamp. The more LEDs, the brighter the light. Three LEDs are ideal for lighting stairs or walkways, whereas one LED is perfect for ambient or atmosphere lighting.
- Landscape lighting kits that support a variety of fixtures and can be added to later
- A transformer beyond your current need: This ensures that you'll have room to add fixtures later if you want without having to purchase a larger transformer.
- Light-sensing timer to turn your low-voltage lights on and off based on light levels: For example, at dusk, you can set up your landscape lights to turn on automatically.
Outdoor Lighting Options
You aren't stuck with the same lighting option for every area of your yard. Choose the right one for each outdoor space.
Choose low voltage lighting for ease of use and do-it-yourself installation. Low-voltage lights take the normal line voltage from your home and reduce it from 110/120 volts to 12 volts. Low-voltage systems can be safely installed without an electrician.
Low-voltage landscape lighting comes in a huge variety of styles, including deck lighting, stair and path lighting, and feature lighting for trees and plantings. Fixtures include louvered pagoda styles, staked carriage lanterns, and in-deck lighting disks.
Solar lighting systems are very popular now, as more and more people consider our impact on the environment. They are easy to install and maintain, and since they draw on natural energy during the day, they are the best alternative for cheap outdoor lighting. Solar lights do not require any wiring and are equipped with a mini solar panel and rechargeable battery for capturing and storing the sun's energy. While mounting hardware may be required for solar lights installed on decks and posts, many can be simply staked in the garden.
For parties and events, pole torches are inexpensive and dramatic. Most torches are oil burning, but you can also find gas-fueled torches. Only use the recommended oil in tiki torches and follow the manufacturer instructions. Paraffin oil burns the longest and cleanest, and citronella oil keeps bugs away. Better quality torches also use fiberglass wicks instead of cotton.Unlike low voltage or solar lighting, tiki torches and candles should never be left unattended. For this reason consider these forms of lighting only for parties and events where you and your guests will be outside and present at all times.
Cheap Landscape Lighting
Landscaping your home is often an expensive project. Save some money by choosing cheap outdoor lighting options that highlights the finer points of your yard and home.