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I have a deck on the back of my house and at night it's pitch dark out there. I don't like to turn the porch light on because it attracts mosquitoes, etc so bad. And citronella candles don't do a thing to repel them either.
So I came up with a great idea. I took the tiny Christmas lights, and strung them under the railing all the way around. It gives a nice soft light, without attracting the bugs. Also lights up the steps just enough so the dogs and us are able to go up and down without falling. Now it's really nice to sit out there at night.
By the way, I want to thank Deeli for her idea of lighting her way around inside and using green lights. The green ones would be even nicer on my deck too.
By Cricketnc from Parkton, NC
Stay Safe: Make sure you use lights and extension cords that are rated for outdoor use. Avoid attaching multiple strings of lights to a single outlet, which may overload the circuit. To make decorating easier and reduce the number of cords per outlet, try using a multi-outlet extension cord. They come with three to six inline outlets spaced every eight feet along the length of the cord.
You've probably also seen boxes of inexpensive pathway lights stacked near the checkout at your local home store. They are often placed there for a strategic reason-namely to get you to make an impulse purchase as you walk out the door. Too often, outdoor lighting is treated like an afterthought. You drive by someone else's yard at night and see the charming lamppost or lights illuminating the walkway and decide you want to add some lighting to your landscape. Before you start, take time to think about how you use your space. Start by sketching out your landscape on a piece of paper. Pencil in as much detail as possible-noting how you use each part of the space. Where do you walk, sit and eat? Where are the focal points? Are you concerned about safety? How will the placement of light affect your neighbors? Will lights near the vegetable garden attract pests? Do you want to light up a water feature? After dark, grab some flashlights and head out to the garden. With the help of a friend, start playing around with your ideas.
It's a good idea to incorporate some flexibility into your lighting design. Garden landscapes are dynamic. As your landscape continues to evolve over time, your lighting needs may change. A specimen tree you light up now may be ten feet taller 10 years from now. Installing fixtures with swivel mounts or several beam angles will make adjusting to changes a breeze. Also, as the seasons change, a frosted or color lens may be more desirable than a clear one. Take advantage of lighting that can be repositioned or relocated to other parts of the garden. The old way of thinking suggests that when designing with outdoor lighting, only the light cast from the fixture should be visible and never the fixture itself. This is no longer the case. Now there are many beautiful lighting options that serve double duty as garden art and lighting.
Keep environmental concerns in mind when designing lighting for your landscape. Bear in mind that many plants, animals and insects are strongly influenced by light cycles. Certain plants rely on a period of darkness each day to perform certain plant functions. Some may not grow optimally when photoperiods are extended beyond normal.
Lighting also takes energy and outdoor lighting is a luxury. Use energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs and solar powered lights when possible. Install timers to save energy and reduce light pollution. If you're concerned about safety and break-ins, keep lights on around lower level doors and windows and consider installing a home security system.
The easiest mistake to make in designing outdoor lighting is overdoing it, either in wattage, in the number of fixtures or by trying to light up too many features. Bright lights are for Broadway and outdoor sporting events. Think about the garish lights in department store dressing rooms and how they illuminate every little flaw. The same is true for plants. Use bulkhead luminaries only for security reasons-your plants will thank you. Keep the focus on one or two focal points and a few pretty accents to avoid distracting from your landscape's true beauty.
Outdoor lighting comes with its own lingo: low-wattage, line voltage, voltage drop, transformers and terminal blocks. Make sure you educate yourself with the basics before you get started. Now your limitations and when it's time to call in a professional. Not only can outdoor lighting add to the safety and aesthetics of your landscape, but it can truly expand your living space and add significant value to your property.