Preparing Landscape Lighting for the Winter

Outdoor lighting helps in many different ways throughout the year, but during the winter, it’s especially necessary when it starts to get dark earlier in the day. Lighting outside the home can help improve the home’s curb appeal, but it does a lot more, too. It can help protect from hazards like tripping in the dark, deter criminals, and keep pests away from the home. Proper preparation will help with making sure the lights are ready to go for the winter months, so they can provide the important benefits homeowners need. Some of the ways to get the lighting ready for the cold weather include the following. 

Bury the Wires

Lighting throughout the yard will need to have buried wires to help prevent them from damage. During the fall, before there are too many leaves on the ground, look for any wires that have been exposed during the summer months and need to be buried again. The exposed wires can end up damaged or can be a tripping hazard when walking through the yard. For outdoor lighting in Charlotte, NC, make sure the wires are buried at least six inches below the ground to keep them protected during the winter. 

Keep Lights Free of Leaves

During the fall, take the time to remove any leaves that are starting to bury the light fixtures. Not only does this cause the light to be blocked, but it could be a hazard. Someone walking through the yard won’t see the light fixture buried by the leaves and may end up tripping and falling. Depending on the location of the fixtures, this might mean raking around them a little more frequently than the rest of the yard, but it can help keep everyone safe. 

Make the Lighting Dimmer

After the leaves start to fall, lights aimed at the trees just highlight the empty branches. This often isn’t a good look since the trees are bare throughout the winter. Instead, lower the angle of the light to showcase the trunk of the tree or dim the lights, so they don’t shine as brightly. A dimmer light bulb, using dimmer switches for the lights, or adding frosted lenses can all help make the light a little softer while still providing the illumination needed to prevent trips and falls in the yard. 

Change the Light Bulbs

The weather does impact the lifespan of a light bulb, so it can burn out during the winter months. Have extra lights on hand and change the bulb when one does burn out to prevent added wear and tear on the other nearby bulbs. It’s also a good idea to consider switching to LED lights. LED lights are able to last much longer and will do much better in the colder weather, so there’s less of a worry about having to change the bulbs when it’s cold outside. 

Use Lighting to Create a Path

Leaves are slippery when wet, and snow can be harder to navigate when it’s not clear where to walk through the yard. Use lighting to illuminate a path through the yard, making it easier for anyone walking through to see where they’re going. Small lights lining the path can have a big impact on visibility and prevent tripping or slipping while walking down pathways to or from the house. 

Upgrade the Fixtures

The fall months are the perfect time to upgrade the light fixtures. Cast bronze fixtures not only look great, but they’re going to last longer in the winter weather. When it’s wet out, these fixtures won’t corrode. If any lights are cracked or damaged, they need to be replaced before they become worse, but any lights can be upgraded to new fixtures for a better look and to make sure they last as long as possible. 

Clean the Lights

If new lights aren’t in the budget right now, make sure the existing ones are cleaned. Dirt can block the light, so keeping them clean can help keep the yard bright. Brush off any webs or nests on or near the fixtures, being careful if there are stinging insects that have made the fixtures their home. Glass cleaner can be used to wipe down the lights, and a damp cloth can be used on the fixtures. If needed, add a clear coat to the fixtures to provide more protection during the winter months. 

Keep the Snow Away

Moisture and electricity don’t get along, so make sure water can’t get into the fixtures. Any fixtures used outside should be rated for outdoor use, but they can break or crack over time. Replace any that are damaged and keep the snow off to prevent water from getting into the lights as the snow melts. It’s a good idea to walk around after snow falls to check the lights and brush off anything that’s accumulated on them. 

Create a Cozy Environment

Adding to the landscaping lighting in the yard can create the perfect area for relaxation or entertainment. Though the nights are getting chilly, lights around the patio or porch can make it the perfect place to curl up on a comfy chair with some spiked cider or eggnog. Take some time to look into all of the options, and make sure to pick ones that will create the right atmosphere for relaxation in the evenings. String lights, walkway lights, and other light fixtures can create the perfect atmosphere in any yard. 

Perform Maintenance

The fall, before the first snow, is the perfect time to do maintenance on the landscape lighting. Screws should be tightened on the transformer, wires should be inspected for damage, and any debris near the lighting or any components should be cleared away to make sure everything is ready for the winter. Check the bulbs and fixtures to make sure they work properly and aren’t obstructed, adjust any that have been moved for any reason, and make sure everything is working correctly to get it ready for the winter. 

Reset the Timer Schedule

Timers are often used to automatically turn exterior lights on and off. In the winter, though, nights are longer. The summer schedule might not turn on the lights until well after dusk, so go ahead and adjust the timer’s schedule, so the lights turn on earlier in the day. This will help with making sure the lights are on when they’re needed, without having to turn them on and off each night. If needed, now’s a good time to upgrade the timer for better control over the lighting schedule. 

Landscape lighting is part of the hardscape in Charlotte, NC, and can have a big impact on the safety of the yard after dark. During the fall months, it’s a good idea to check the lighting throughout the yard and make sure it’s ready for the winter. These tips can help any homeowner get the yard ready for the weather and make sure the lights will work through the colder months. If you need any assistance in Charlotte, NC, or the surrounding areas with preparing the lights, turn to Charlotte Lighting and Hardscape. Call today to start working on a plan to upgrade the lighting in your yard.