Landscape Logic column: Make your home sparkle for the holidays
November 10, 2013
Lighting makes any home festive, and the process doesn't have to be complicated. Stand out on the curb and look back at your home and the features in your yard to see what you can easily light up this holiday season. What might make the most impact with a few strands of lights?
Things to consider
• Trees are already a focal point in your yard, so it's easy to take advantage of their strong presence by adding lights.
• The roofline creates dramatic interest when lit.
• Garlands go everywhere. They're not just for the family room fireplace. If you have an outdoor fireplace, then deck it out a garlands and lights, too. String lighted garlands along the fence line, surrounding porch pillars or around the mailbox post.
• Architectural features like a filigree gate offer great options to get creative with lights.
• Make it fun and whimsical. Wrap lights around old skis, a wheelbarrow full of evergreens or create a silhouette around a bicycle frame. Create something fun the neighbors will enjoy.
Avoid the fire hazard
Lighting shouldn't be a budget breaker — or worse yet, a fire hazard.
LED technology makes lighting safer, easier and cheaper than traditional lights. Here are some good reasons to start replacing worn out lights with LEDs:
• Safety — LEDs do not get hot like conventional lights to create a fire hazard or scorch plants.
• Durability — If you were on top of a ladder and dropped an LED bulb, it most likely wouldn't break when it hit the concrete. LEDs also last four to five times longer than incandescent lights, so there are fewer materials used and you replace them less often over time.
• Fewer outlets required — If you've ever searched your yard for more outlets or blown a fuse from too many lights on a circuit, then LEDs are for you. You can string multiple strands of LEDs end to end and attach them to one extension cord that's plugged into a single outlet.
• Guilt-free power — No need to worry about energy consumption and power costs. The newest LEDs use about 90 percent less power than conventional lights.
Bottom line: LEDs give safe and sustainable lighting.
Practical tips for stringing holiday lights
• When you string lights along the roofline, make sure you place a bulb at the points of the roofline and where right angles form at the corners.
• Tape over the unused plug-in at the very end of the string of lights. Wrap electrical tape over the holes in the plug to prevent moisture from getting inside and possibly creating a short.
• If you string lights around evergreen trees, then wrap the lights in the same direction — such as clockwise — and make the spacing between strands on all trees consistent. This creates a uniform appearance throughout the yard.
• Before taking down the lights, use duct tape and a marker to ID lights on corners and peaks and other critical places in your display. This will save you assembly time next year.
• Play it safe. Placing lights on very large trees and along high rooflines may not be the safest DIY project. Trained pros have the equipment and skill to do the work safely — and also the design know-how to make your display a stand-out on the street.
Need help with holiday lighting? Find a professional among ALCC's members in six chapters statewide.
Becky Garber is a member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.