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Three DIY Outdoor Lighting Mistakes and Headaches You Avoid When You Hire a Professional

Adding professionally design an installed outdoor landscape lighting is a no-brainer every Dayton-area homeowner should consider. Many homeowners THINK they can DIY their own landscape lighting or hire their landscape or lawn cutting service or even the “pool guy” to do it to save a buck– only to be disappointed with the lackluster look and end up giving us a call at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Cincinnati to pick up the pieces and fix the outdoor lighting mistakes. To avoid these outdoor lighting mistakes and all the headaches that go along with it, the best advice is to call us from the beginning.

At its best, outdoor lighting adds beauty and curb appeal to all the features of your home and landscape surround, walkways, driveway and outdoor living features. Professionally appointed outdoor lighting also provides you with the ability to enhance the function of key areas of your backyard such as your deck, pool and patio, and even grill into the evening and enjoy the company of friends. Finally, it adds safety and security so it’s easy to navigate around your property in the evening and keeps intruders at bay.

Custom pool lighting

All that is a lot to ask of any system in your home that needs to turn on and off every single day! And that’s certainly not something that a typical homeowner can pull off simply by sticking a bunch of fixtures in the ground on their own without the trained knowledge of how to do it. It’s no wonder they are disappointed with the end result when they are done.

Lighting experts are design professionals that are trained to know how different fixtures should be positioned, and how light should be directed to achieve the best results to make your home and landscape stand out in the dark. Like an artist uses many different brushes on a single canvas to create different looks to a final work of art—outdoor lighting is artistry all on its own as well. There are many types of fixtures that achieve different lighting effects much like a brush, and you have to know which one to use in each circumstance.

installing outdoor lights

You may think you are saving a few dollars by doing it yourself or hiring a less-than-professional installer, but most homeowners make common mistakes that can be easily avoided if they hired a professional from the start. If you note any of the following 3 things, then you might not be getting the full benefit of your outdoor lighting.

1.Uneven Balance: Outdoor illumination should bring out the architectural elements of your home and its surroundings. DIY’ers fail to understand how to achieve this delicate balance, and that leaves areas pitch black while others end up too overly bright. This harsh contrast looks unprofessional. DIY’ers often wonder why they have an overly bright light that pours into their bedrooms at night and leads to sleepless nights; or their row of fixtures blinds guests when they make their way to your front door, for example. They don’t know where to begin to highlight an ornamental tree and they overlook how to accentuate smaller areas that should be emphasized.

outdoor lighting

This fixture is falling over and will result in uneven lighting balance.

2. Too Much (or Little) of a Good Thing: How much light you want to add to a home is certainly a personal preference, BUT doing either one wrong just removes any benefit that outdoor lighting can add. We’ve seen homeowners just add 3 or 4 fixtures to their home, which provides no real value overall. When outdoor lighting looks sparse and lifeless, it actually looks silly. Worse yet is the homeowner who adds too many fixtures in an effort to combat that problem or points beams of lights at the wrong areas. Then there is a sharp contrast again between areas that are too dark and too bright.

a box of removed outdoor lights

Cheap fixtures removed from an upgrading project.

3. Improper Mounting of Landscape Lighting Fixtures or Transformer: Most DIY’ers only have the capacity to shove a fixture into the ground at the base of their home in close perimeter to the transformer location. They don’t have the ability to climb a tree to place lighting high up in the branches to add the drama that downlighting produces, so they are missing out. Typically, we find that wires are not buried at all or are simply laying on the surface and covered with a thin layer of mulch because they don’t have the proper tools to bury wires at the proper depth to prevent getting cut by a lawnmower or a weed eater. We have also see transformers mounted in some odd areas including front porches or zip tied to a tree!

transformer zip tied on a tree

This transformer is zip-tied to a tree.

Heading to your big box store to buy cheap fixtures is never a good start, especially since they will only last a few seasons, at best. Couple that with improper installation, and you’re just headed for a big mess and a headache at the end of the day.

Using a professional outdoor lighting company like Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Cincinnati actually SAVES you money in the long run. We only install American-made metal fixtures with the best commercial-grade fittings and wire available. We don’t use cheap plastics and thin metals like the ones sold in big box stores. Those don’t last very long and will corrode, fade in the sunlight and you will be replacing them every few years. That’s a complete waste of money in the long run.

empty box

Empty promises are all you will get from the outdoor lighting sold at big box stores.

We customize the lighting specifically for your home because no installation is cookie cutter. Our lighting designers are TRAINED to know which type of fixture and in what direction to point a beam of light to give your home every benefit that comes from outdoor lighting—beauty, ability to do tasks for outdoor enjoyment and entertainment (cooking, etc), highlight key areas, safety and security.

We can help you avoid the common landscape lighting errors untrained homeowners make so your lighting investment lasts and you get the maximum benefit every night without a fuss. Everyone who works with us has the experience to do what they do, and when dealing with electricity and the outdoors you want to make sure that they know what they are doing and are licensed and bonded to do so! If you hire an unlicensed individual because you are looking to save a few pennies, it can end up costing you far more in the end and it may even cause damage to your home or even a fire. Also, transformers are the brains of your system and can be complicated for the average homeowner to set up correctly.

residential house driveway with outdoor lights

Let’s get your outdoor lighting installation done right the first time with high-quality fixtures that are installed to give you every benefit every single night of the year. We back everything we install and give every homeowner a FREE one-year Annual Maintenance Plan to ensure peace of mind.

We have the antidote to every outdoor lighting headache! Don’t lose out by trying to DIY your own outdoor landscape lighting, contact Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Cincinnati today as your residential and commercial lighting professionals. You can reach us at (513) 496-1130.