Garden Lighting in Chicago’s Urban Landscapes

Garden lighting is essential to your garden design. Understanding the types, benefits and process for installing lights can save you a lot of headaches.

Winter will soon be upon us and the ground will be covered in snow. While warm weather might be the last thing on your mind, now is the perfect time to dream about your backyard oasis. Come spring, your yard will be the envy of the neighborhood simply because you made it an extension of your home. By adding outdoor lighting, you’ll create a garden paradise. A space you can enjoy, long after the sun goes down.

One of the benefits of garden lighting is that your yard will be a place where everyone feels welcome. Illuminate your walkway with soft romantic lighting that leads your guests to a glass of wine or even a midnight swim. While you entertain be sure to highlight the best features of your home and yard. Show off that beautiful tree or the fountain you found while on vacation in Europe.

If it’s not Zen you’re searching for in lighting, you have other options to choose from. LED lighting is perfect for those who wish to entertain but remember that these are the same lights used in the headlights of your car. They are bright and should be used sparingly.

A second benefit of garden lighting is added security and peace of mind. By shining light on your porch, patio, and shrubs, you eliminate space for someone to hide. You might also choose to install an LED motion detector light that turns on when triggered by something moving near the light. You’ll give off the impression that someone is inside the home even if you’re miles away.

When choosing lighting, it’s important to remember that you do have options and that lights can be installed anywhere in your yard. Lights today can be placed above ground or even underwater. Path lighting, deck lighting, and security lighting are just three of the choices you’ll find at your local garden or hardware store.

Landscape lighting and garden lights - Image by HGTV

This HGTV image is a great example of how lighting can dramatically enhance the beauty of your garden oasis.

Before spending any money, however, it’s best to decide what type of you lights you want to purchase and where you plan to use them. Knowing this will save you time, money and frustration when you go to buy the lights. Decide on a budget and how much you wish to spend before even setting foot inside the store. 

Take time to sketch out your backyard before you make a decision and consider all that already exists within your yard. Include in your sketches lighting, trees, buildings and vegetation as all of these items will be reflected in your yard. It’s also important to measure the height of each object within your yard to determine how bright you want your lighting to be. When you’ve done all of the above, it’s time for you to choose the type of lights you wish to use in your yard.

Wired lighting is not difficult to install but it is more complicated. You’ll need to notify your utility company, and you’ll need to dig a trench. You may also need to connect your outdoor lighting with your indoor lighting. You should have some knowledge of electricity before you install your lights. If you’re not up to the task, it’s best to call in the experts to install the lights for you. Once installed, wired lighting requires a minimal amount of maintenance. Today’s outdoor, LED light bulbs are designed to last for years.

Wired lighting, however, is expensive. Lights and materials will cost hundreds of dollars, or more, depending on the size of your yard. If someone is installing the lights for you, you’ll also need to factor in the cost of labor. While wired lights might cost more in the beginning they are more durable than most wireless light systems. You won’t need to replace them as often and this makes up for what you’ll pay up front.

Solar lights are wonderful because they don’t require electricity. Once they are installed, they cost nothing to operate. Yes, they are expensive but over time you should see a return in your investment. As long as your lights are able to charge in direct sunlight they’ll turn on automatically once the sun goes down. 

Solar lights do rely on weather conditions in order to charge. If you happen to have a cloudy day, your lights might have a shorter running time. Installation usually requires that you simply place the light stake in the ground, in an area that will receive an adequate amount of sunlight. There are solar lights that can be mounted on walls or posts, but the choice is up to you. Another disadvantage of solar lights is that they aren’t the best lights to use for security. You’ll be better off choosing them for ambiance and romance instead.

Choosing lights for your yard is determined by many factors. It’s important to know where you want to place the lights before you make a purchase. Will you hang them up, or will you place them on the ground?  Know what you want to highlight- a bush, a tree, or even a garden pond. Make your yard a place you’ll want to visit again, and again. A place you’ll love for years to come and a place you’ll never want to leave.

Want help with your garden lighting? Contact Botanical Concepts Chicago.