You may not spend as much time outside in winter, but that doesn’t mean your outdoor lighting needs to be neglected. The exterior of your home should be warm and inviting year-round regardless of the weather. Keeping garden paths, entrance ways, and patio areas well-lit is essential for safety and security and gives your home a polished and cared-for look. It also adds character to your garden and the exterior of your house when the weather is cold and dreary.
SWITCH TO LED
In South Africa, we’re fortunate that our winters are fairly mild in comparison to most countries in the northern hemisphere. However, temperatures have been known to drop below zero and when that happens your outdoor light bulbs should still perform. Cold weather shortens the lifespans of incandescent bulbs. Keep an eye on bulbs that are about to burn out and replace them as soon as they do. This prevents nearby bulbs from receiving more voltage which in turn shortens their lifespan even further. Alternatively, switch out all your incandescents for LEDs – they perform better in the cold and last three to ten years longer.
ADJUST TIMERS OR INSTALL DAY/NIGHT LIGHTS
The days are shorter and the nights are longer so if you have any outdoor lighting set on a timer you’ll need to readjust it to ensure you’re not left in the dark. If lighting on a timer is not your thing then consider installing a day/night switch. These switches consist of a light-sensitive element that registers the brilliance of ambient light. When the pre-set level of daylight is reached the switch is activated. This option is sometimes more favourable for those who don’t want to think about resetting a timer each season, as the light switches on at dusk whenever that may be.
DIM THINGS DOWN
Fixtures that highlight trees or shrubbery look great in summer but when the leaves have fallen the branches can look harsh and lifeless when washed in bright light. To avoid this, simply disconnect some of the fixtures if you have multiple fixtures showcasing one plant or area. Another option is to use lighting with a frosted glass lens which offers a low ambient light.
KEEP IT CLEAN
During the summer months, outdoor lighting accumulates dust and grime. It’s also a magnet for insects and by the time winter rolls around your fixtures will probably be home to a bug or two, as well as spiderwebs and wasps nests. Rid your lighting of creepy crawlies and dirt by giving it a good clean this winter. Ensure that the light is off and then remove the bulb. Wipe the inside and outside of the fixture and clean the bulb with a soft cloth. A clean fixture makes the exterior of your home look neat and kept, and offers a better quality of light when switched on.