It’s almost Halloween, and that means three things: 1) Fall is in full swing; 2) More guests (besides ghosts and goblins!) will be visiting your home and yard; and 3) It’s time to get your landscape lighting ready for the change in seasons.
No worries; we’ve got your covered! These tips for landscape lighting maintenance will help you get your yard ready for all that fall and winter bring.
‘Tis the season (almost!)
Since more friends and family will likely be visiting for holiday events and gatherings, you need to be prepared! A well-lit path and front porch are more than common courtesy for guests, they’re also important safety measures. A great way to assess if your exterior lighting is adequate is by taking a walk in your guests’ shoes: Go for a walk and approach your home from different starting points like the street, driveway, sidewalk, and steps. From these different vantage points, you can accurately assess if more lighting is needed on the pathways to your doors.
Because landscape lighting (often up-lights and accent lights) is low to the ground, it’s easy for the fixtures to get bumped by lawnmowers during the summer and autumn mowing seasons. Take the time to inspect yours to ensure they’re still solidly, securely planted in the ground, and properly positioned.
It’s smart to check these things again mid-winter, once there have been a few hard snows and the extra holiday foot traffic has ceased. Often, lighting along sidewalks and driveways are damaged due to moisture, snow, ice, and the occasional run-in with a snowblower or shovel.
Speaking of snow removal (Yeah, we had to go there!), if you hire someone to do it for you, let them know where your ground fixtures are to avoid damage to both your lights and their equipment. You might even want to mark the locations of your landscape lights with reflectors, flags, or other visible indicators of their presence once the snow flies … you could even incorporate festive markers into your holiday décor!
Remove leaves & debris
Don’t be left in the dark because your landscape lighting is shrouded in a blanket of leaves! Clear leaves, limbs, and other debris away from your outdoor lighting regularly, and especially each autumn when fallen leaves are plentiful. Also, be sure to clean the lenses on the lights, allowing the light to shine its brightest. While you’re at it, check that your GFCI is functioning properly and that lighting, wiring, and box are watertight.
All about timing
If you have an automatic timer for your outdoor lighting system, now is the time to reset it for the fall. With the sun setting earlier every day and the end of daylight savings time for the season, you’ll need to adjust your lights so they’re turning on and off at the right times. Many timers have an automatic dusk-to-dawn feature. If yours doesn’t, no worries! Just remember to manually adjust it to compensate for fewer daylight hours.
Resetting your lighting system timer is easy and only takes a few minutes. Find your timer, take a peek at the owner’s manual, and adjust your timer. Easy-peasy! This ensures your exterior lighting system will be ready for the shorter days — and longer nights — fall and winter bring.
Other seasonal adjustments
Now is also a great time to adjust the direction of lights to highlight the beautiful fall color, dramatic foliage, or the unexpected architectural shape of branches that appear as leaves drop. Replace burnt-out bulbs now, while it’s warmer than when it freezing outside.
Even if you’re not ready for winter, it’s good to prepare your yard and landscape lighting for the changing seasons. Taking care of routine tasks like these doesn’t take long but goes a long way in helping your exterior lighting continue to function properly and preserve its longevity.
Since winter will be on fall’s heels, now is the perfect time to make the most of the still-nice weather and get your home ready for Old Man Winter. Make the most of this transition season to get your home — inside and out — prepared.