“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”
Let’s not let this wonderful endless Seattle summer fool us. We are all appreciating the abundance of beautiful, sunny days, but we need to keep in mind that Fall is upon us, and with that, there are some important tasks that need to be addressed in your landscape.
The end of Summer means shorter days and longer nights. Your outdoor lighting system needs to be in top shape to provide the safety and security necessary for the extended periods of darkness ahead. Landscape lighting will also enhance the enjoyment of your landscape; especially when your plants may be going dormant and it always seems to be dark outside; dark when you leave for work and dark when you come home from work. Lighting allows us to enjoy our landscapes in another way throughout the Winter.
Did You Know?
Landscape lighting is one of the most practical and effective ways to prevent crime in or around your home.
Lighting systems should be checked to ensure that all of the lights are working properly; i.e. no loose wiring or expired bulbs, no obstructions (plant foliage or otherwise), and that the orientation of the light direction is correct. The glass portion of fixtures should also be cleaned. Depending on how your system operates, you may need to clean and inspect the solar cell or make seasonal adjustments to your timer.
If your landscape lights are controlled by an older, pin-style timer this adjustment is easily made, but hard to keep current as our Fall days get consistently shorter and shorter and then equally longer and longer after the Winter Solstice. A simple alternative to calculating mean sunset/sunrise times and continually adjusting pins is to upgrade your timer. New digital timers are self-adjusting to the daily changes in dusk and dawn, as well as automated to change for daylight savings. These timers are inexpensive and quick to install.
Another easy upgrade to an existing system is a retrofit from halogen bulbs to more efficient LED bulbs. LED technology has advanced to provide the same warmth and luminosity of traditional halogen bulbs in a much more energy efficient package. In some cases it is a simple as switching out the bulb. A traditional halogen path light runs on 15 watts of energy while a similar LED bulb will only use less than 2 watts. That is the same amount of light produced using 87% less energy. Consider this efficiency across your entire system. In addition to the energy savings, LED bulbs outlast halogen bulbs ten-fold, reducing maintenance.
If you don’t already have an automated outdoor lighting system, you should consider getting an estimate for one. New systems are easily installed within existing landscapes. Landscape lights will add safety and security while enhancing the beauty and value of your home, and with LED fixtures you will be surprised at how little energy is necessary for all of these benefits.