Outdoor lighting plays an essential role in boosting your curb appeal and creating a truly beautiful and pleasant home exterior. One of the more popular outdoor lighting options is none other than the so-called down lighting; also known as moonlighting. The name perfectly explains what this kind of lighting is about. Essentially, you strategically place the lights around your yard, while you focus on the trees in order to create a soft full moon effect. Gorgeous, right? Keep on reading and your Yardley handyman will explain the basic do’s and don’ts of down lighting.


To DO:


Lighting fixtures should be high enough

The lighting fixtures should be installed 20-30 inches up into the tree. For starters, the fixtures will be high enough so that no one can get caught up in them. What’s more, as the lights are positioned high in the tree, the light will reflect on the branches better, which will then result in a stunning down lighting effect.


Stand-off hanger bolts are better than mounting brackets

Use stand-off hanger bolts when you want to attach the fixtures to the trees. In case you opt for mounting brackets, you’ll eventually have to face the damage done to the tree. Namely, as the tree grows, it will literally consume the mounting brackets.


Maintain your downlight system regularly

Finally, one of the most important tips among do’s and don’ts of down lighting fixtures has everything to do with maintenance. You simply shouldn’t risk your safety or the possible tree damage because of something as inexcusable as negligence. If you want something as beautiful as moonlighting in your yard, you should stay on track with maintaining the fixtures as well.


NOT to do:


Don’t use lights that are too bright and unnatural

If your goal is to achieve soft moonlight effect, it’s important to remember what the moonlight actually looks and feels like. Basically, forget about overly bright lights. One of the biggest mistakes people tend to make when down lighting is concerned is opting for 100-watt mercury vapor lights which definitely doesn’t have anything to do with the moonlight effect. In order to create as natural lighting as possible, use 4 or 6 watt LED lights as these will match the natural moonlight a lot better.


Forget about stapling the wires

No stapling wires to the tree! We hope that this is not something that would occur to you, but it’s necessary to mention as there were cases when homeowners would want to take “the easy way out” and just staple the wires. So, why is this wrong? For starters, some metals in the staples are poisonous to the tree. What’s more, staples are bound to fall out. However, the holes in the tree will stay and make for a perfect home for tree destructive bugs. Also, as the tree grows, both the staples and the wires may get consumed by the tree, which not only can damage the tree but create short circuits as well. As your local Yardley handyman would recommend, use only stainless steel screws and zip ties. Otherwise, you may have to say farewell to the tree and pay for expensive wiring repairs.


Installing your own moonlighting system is not that challenging, especially if you address the above-mentioned do’s and don’ts of down lighting. However, if you’re not sure you can deal with this alone, don’t have the adequate tools, or simply are unsure about the positioning of the trees in your yard, don’t hesitate to give us a call at ifixit.

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