Landscape Lighting Design Tips
It's important to maintain a well thought out layout as well as the proper fixture voltages when setting up your outdoor lighting project. Improper voltages shorten the life of the outdoor light fixture, bulb, and transformer. A poorly designed layout simply doesn't look good. Keep these common problems in mind when designing your outdoor lighting scheme.
Lack of Variety - Be careful not to use too much of the same kind of lighting. Vary the outdoor lighting techniques and types to bring out a fresh and bright look to your landscape. There are many specific types of outdoor lights to choose from, such as flood lights, spotlights, and path-lights. Many contractors solely rely on up lighting. Add some down lighting for more dimension, to follow good Dark Sky Practices, and reduce light pollution.
Light Pollution - Find spotlights with glare guards, and try to place light sources in subtle locations. This maintains the elegant look, as well as helps keep the light from shining directly into anyone's eyes, or directly towards any neighbors. Be sure your outdoor lights aren't shining into any nearby roads, and especially not into your own windows. Try to include down lighting as a technique.
Too Symmetrical - It's a common problem found in path-lights: lights placed too closely and evenly makes the path or driveway look like a runway. Try staggering the lights, creating something of a zig-zag pattern from one side to the other. Also, refrain from putting path-lights equally on opposite sides.
Unbalanced Lighting - Do not place outdoor lighting fixtures in areas that will divide a yard. Make sure the light is balanced amongst the entire canvas of the property. You want to draw the eye around the entire yard, not necessarily toward one specific area. You especially don't want to create a hard "border" of light around your property line.
Over-Exaggerating A Style - Outdoor lighting is meant to be a subtle addition, and shouldn't be the complete focus of your yard. It should accentuate features in your landscape, not be the point of attention itself. Beware of creating too much contrast in light and dark spots, and try not to over-illuminate the house itself.