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July 8, 2019

The Ins and Outs of Path Lighting

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Path lighting can make your home more inviting – and safer – especially if you live in an area without street lights. From illuminating the walkway to keep guests (or yourself) from tripping to making it harder for potential intruders to hide in dark corners, the right lighting is important.

You don’t need to break the bank to have the right lights, but where do you start?

Electrical Needs: Path lights are generally powered either by wires hidden in the landscaping or by solar power. Each option has its pros and cons – wired lights have wires to deal with while solar powered lights need enough light each day to operate appropriately. If your path is mostly shaded, especially in the fall and winter, it may be difficult for solar-powered lights to get enough energy to last through the night. You might want to consider a mix of solar-powered lights and wired lights, depending on your individual needs.

Types of Lights: Consider the types of lights you will need for your individual pathway. If you have steps, you might want step lights and regular lights. If you have a wide pathway, you might want taller lights that will illuminate more physical square footage. You might also want to think about a matching porch light that’s freestanding or mounted to your house.

Cost: The lights themselves have a wide range of costs – some are $3 each while others are $300 each. Consider your overall project budget, the number of lights you want, the amount of light they need to emit and the warranty you’d like to have on them before making a decision. Smaller, plastic, solar lights are generally the cheapest and easiest to install, but copper or brass lights will last longer in the elements.

Installation: Once you’ve selected the lights you want, lay them on the ground in the places you think you want to install them and then measure the distances to be sure they are as evenly spaced as your landscaping or pathway will allow. Once you’re happy with the placement, install the lights either into the ground, onto the step or onto your house in accordance with the product’s installation instructions.

Final steps: If you go with solar-powered lights, make sure the protective strip between the power source and the light has been removed and you’re finished. If you’ve done the installation late in the day, they may not light up until the next evening. If you have chosen wired lights, connect the lights end-to-end like Christmas lights and run the wiring to your electrical source. Once you’ve verified everything is working, you can hide the wires in the mulch or surrounding landscaping.

If you have any trouble selecting, placing or installing path lights, contact your local TruBlue Total House Care technician for help.

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