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Spring Awakening: Landscape Lighting for your Idaho Home

The icy doldrums of winter will (hopefully) soon pass, and with them the pain and irritation of trying to make your home landscape look appealing while trying to brave the bitter elements in the name of aesthetics. Before you know it, the balmy springtime of Idaho will be here, knocking on the door – and you need to be ready to show off the yard and the exterior of your home when the time arrives. Luckily, Mainstream Electric, Heating, Cooling & Plumbing has a few landscape lighting tips for you to follow as you begin to undergo the task of installing lighting features around your property. But, if you’d prefer to kick back, relax and let the professionals get into the nitty-gritty, Mainstream offers comprehensive landscape and outdoor lighting services tailor-made to fit your specifications.

There are a few things you need to keep in consideration while deciding how to tackle a home-landscape-lighting battle plan, however, and they fall into a few easy categories: the type of light, what bulb you want, and how you want them positioned depending on the feature you’re trying to illuminate.

  • What do you want illuminated – and where?
    • The first step in determining the optimal landscape-lighting strategy is often the hardest one. You’ll have to figure out what you want to display – are you aiming to show off your house? What about that brand-new water feature in the front yard? Maybe you just had your patio remodeled, and the lighting needs to be re-arranged to brighten it up. Whatever your choice, walking through the landscape to locate optimal places for lighting fixtures is the first step in the process.
  • Types of lighting fixtures
    • Flood – These cast a wide, bright beam, usually on large surfaces you want to draw attention to without a precise focus. Don’t overdo it, though, because if you try to pack too many floodlights into a small area it can overwhelm the feature you’re trying to light.
    • Bullet – Smaller units with tightened, harsher beams. Suitable for highlighting specific features (standout architectural features or singular objects are good examples).
    • Well – Situated underground with a waterproof covering, spraying the light directly upward.
    • Wash – This type tosses a softer illumination on wider, flatter surfaces, covering it with a muted light.
    • Downlight – Attaches to the tops of trees or high fixtures, casting its beam toward the ground. Keep in mind: when using these, pick durable housings and bulbs to minimize the times you’ll have to climb up there to maintain it.
  • Deciding which bulb to use
    • Once you’ve mapped out where you want everything to go and how many fixtures need to be installed, you’ve got to figure out what type of bulb to place in the lights. There are two options – halogen bulbs and LEDs – and each has its advantages and disadvantages.
    • Halogen bulbs are typically cheaper than LEDs and they emit more light at a greater wattage. However, they don’t last very long; 2 years is about the ceiling you’re working with. And while you’re getting some heft behind halogen bulbs, the higher wattage output means you’re going to be paying more to keep them running.
    • LEDs last much longer – about 20 years – so they require a fraction of the upkeep that halogens do. They’ll operate at a lower power output, but with that comes a cheaper cost to run them.

With these pointers in mind, you’ll be equipped to figure out the ins and outs of how you want your house and landscape illuminated for spring. After getting the right lights in place, the next step is to actually install them – a different beast to tackle entirely. This can be a much more daunting task; you’ll need to dig trenches and hook up cables, along with finding a suitable transformer to power the entire apparatus. You’ll need to consider the appropriate watt capacity required by your setup, as well as determining what schedule your lights need to be timed for.

It’s doable, but it’ll knock out a weekend of your time in addition to the costs of purchasing everything needed to construct a viable setup. If the DIY route isn’t one you’d like to follow, just give Mainstream Electric, Heating, Cooling & Plumbing a call at (866) 978-9297 for quick, reliable and efficient service. If you place a call by 8 a.m., we’ll be out there the same day!