The Top 13 Landscape Lighting Mistakes To Avoid

If you’ve ever walked through a well-lit garden, you know how beautiful and inviting it can be. But if you don’t plan properly, your outdoor lighting could also be an eyesore as well as a potential safety hazard. That’s why it’s so important to avoid these 13 mistakes:

most common mistakes of purchasing landscape lighting
Consider the function of the lighting in each space when designing your outdoor lighting.
Avoid using only path lights as they can overpower the area and make it look flat.
Avoid choosing light fixtures that are too tall or too small for the area.
Choose the right color temperature for your lighting to enhance natural colors and textures.
Choose lighting fixtures that blend in with the landscape during the day.
Make sure to install your lighting fixtures correctly and securely.
Consider using timers or smart lighting controls to conserve energy and provide convenience.
Avoid using excessively bright lights that disturb the natural darkness and can cause light pollution.
Use a mix of lighting types and fixtures to create a dynamic and attractive lighting design.
Avoid placing light fixtures too close or too far from each other.
Take into account the nearby architectural elements when placing lighting fixtures.
Use lighting fixtures that are weather-resistant and safe for outdoor use.
Look for ways to highlight focal points in your landscape with lighting.

Failing To Plan

You’ve heard it before, but planning is the key to success. It’s no different when it comes to your landscape lighting. You can’t just throw up some lights and expect them to look good or be safe. To make sure that your new lighting scheme is perfect, here are some things you should consider:

Safety first! Your home should be lit up enough so that people can see where they’re going at night–and so they don’t trip over any obstacles in their way (like garden gnomes). If there are areas of your property that lack light, think about adding more lamps there before anything else.

Think about how much energy you’ll use when considering whether or not certain lights will work for your home’s electric needs; if there isn’t enough power available from one circuit breaker panel, then maybe another option would be better suited for what you have planned out as far as placement goes? 

This also applies if multiple circuits need replacing due to age/condition issues; this could mean higher costs down the road depending on whether or not those repairs were made beforehand rather than during installation time itself.

Lighting can add a whole new dimension to your landscaping design. To incorporate landscape lighting into your outdoor space, consider reading our guide on 17 Ways to Incorporate Landscape Lighting into your Landscaping Design for some inspiration.

Choosing The Wrong Lighting

Choosing the wrong lighting can be one of the most common mistakes when it comes to landscape lighting. 

While there are many different types of lights and fixtures on the market, you need to make sure that your choice will work with your property and meet both your aesthetic and functional needs.

Here are some things to consider when choosing landscape lighting:

Consider color and brightness. If you want bright white light shining on your front yard, then fluorescent tubes might be best for you (and if so, consider whether or not they should be shielded). 

If you’re looking for something more muted–say yellowish tones–then LED bulbs may be best suited for this purpose since they emit less heat than incandescent bulbs do (meaning no scorched grass!).

Consider size matters! When considering where each individual unit should go within an outdoor space such as walkways or patios; think about how much space there actually is between each item within this area before deciding where exactly each individual unit needs go.”

A well-designed outdoor space can be taken to the next level with the right landscape lighting. If you want to learn more about how to maximize your outdoor living space, check out our guide on Maximizing Your Outdoor Living Space with These Landscape Lighting Ideas for more information.

Not Considering Safety

Safety is a key component of every landscape lighting installation. It’s important to make sure that your lights are safe, especially if you have children or pets in the area. Here are some things to look for when choosing a light:

Look for UL certification on any fixture you buy. This means it has been tested by Underwriters Laboratories Inc., an independent product safety certification organization based in Northbrook, Illinois 

Look for IP ratings on fixtures with exposed bulbs; this will tell you how much protection against dust and moisture each bulb has received during production. If there isn’t an IP rating listed on your fixture box or bulb packaging, consider buying something else instead–you don’t want moisture getting inside those exposed bulbs!

Skimping On Lighting Budget

You get what you pay for, so don’t skimp on your landscape lighting budget. You need to buy good quality lights and enough of them to light up the entire yard or garden. If you are going with a budget approach then make sure that it is still a decent quality product at an affordable price point.

Not Considering Your Electric Needs

The first step to creating a landscape lighting plan is to determine your electric needs. This can be done by either hiring an electrician or using the following chart:

Add up the wattage of all lights, including those that come with kits and fixtures. If you’re going to use solar-powered products, add in their wattage as well.

Multiply this number by 1/2 (or 0.5). This will give you an estimate of how much power each set of lights will draw from your home’s electrical system when they are turned on at night and plugged into an outlet or extension cord that runs back inside your house through a window or door opening into an unfinished basement area where there isn’t any heat source present yet either!

Landscape lighting installation may seem daunting, but with the right guidance, it can be a fun DIY project. To learn how to install landscape lighting on your own, take a look at our guide on How to Install Landscape Lighting Like a Pro: A Step-by-Step Guide for helpful tips and tricks.

Installing Lights Too Close To Houses Or Trees

When installing landscape lighting, you should make sure your lights are at least 10 feet away from structures and trees. 

The further away they are, the better–and this goes for shrubs, too! You’ll also want to keep your lights at least 3 feet away from fences.

Fixture TypeRecommended Distance from HouseRecommended Distance from Tree
Spotlights3 to 4 feet2 to 3 feet
Floodlights5 to 6 feet3 to 4 feet
Wall Sconces1 to 2 feet1 to 2 feet
Path Lights1 to 2 feet1 to 2 feet

Note: When installing lighting fixtures near a house or a tree, it is crucial to keep in mind the distance between them to avoid any damage to the property or harm to the tree.

It is also essential to ensure that fixtures are not installed too close to each other to avoid creating hot spots. The recommended distances vary based on the type of fixture and the manufacturer’s specifications.

Using Narrow Beams Of Light That Don’t Reach Far Enough

One of the most common mistakes that people make when they’re installing landscape lighting is using lights with narrow beam angles. 

A beam angle refers to the width of light produced by your fixture, and it can be calculated by dividing the distance from your light source (in feet) by 1/4th of its height in feet. 

For example, if you have a fixture with an 18-inch height and it’s positioned 10 feet away from where you want it to shine its light then you would divide 10 by 4 (or 2), which gives you a 2-foot wide beam angle!

You need to use fixtures with wide beams because they will illuminate more area than those with narrow ones–and this will help keep things balanced out so that there aren’t any dark spots or glare spots throughout your yard during certain times of day when people are outside enjoying themselves after work or on weekends during parties etcetera…

Choosing the right landscape lighting can be overwhelming with all the options available. For some guidance, we’ve compiled a list of 15 Tips for Choosing the Best Landscape Lighting to help make your decision easier.

Not Checking Wires Regularly For Corrosion, Damage And Cracks.

The first thing you should do is check your wires regularly for corrosion, damage and cracks. Wires can become damaged by being exposed to chemicals, moisture and sunlight. If you have an automatic irrigation system that uses metal connectors or PVC pipe then you should check these areas regularly as well.

The easiest way to see if there is any corrosion on your wires is by using a multimeter (a device used to test electric current). Simply touch each prong of the multimeter onto each end of your wire while keeping them apart from one another until they make contact with each other (this should be around 2mm apart). 

If there’s any corrosion between those two points then it will show up as resistance in ohms when measuring across those points with a low-voltage DC ammeter setting (DC because AC wouldn’t work since AC doesn’t have polarity).

Leaving Lights On Longer Than Necessary

One of the most common mistakes homeowners make is leaving their landscape lighting on longer than necessary. Not only does this waste energy, but it also contributes to light pollution, which affects wildlife and our health.

You can help reduce light pollution by making sure your fixtures are properly aimed so that they don’t shine into windows or onto other properties. 

If you don’t want to turn off your lights completely at night when no one is around, consider using motion sensors or dimming them down as dusk approaches (and then turning them back up again in the morning). 

Another option is using an automatic timer that turns off the lights after a certain amount of time has elapsed–for example, if you have a security system installed with an integrated timer function like Vivint Smart Home Security+ 2 Camera System with Front Door Camera ($299) then all you have to do is set up specific times for each zone within its app!

Timer TypeBrandPrice RangeKey Features
Digital TimerHoneywell$7 – $45Programmable, customizable settings, easy to use
Plug-In TimerWoods$7 – $20Manual settings, multiple ON/OFF programs, compact design
In-Wall TimerLutron$20 – $60Programmable, sleek design, compatible with smart home systems
Solar-Powered TimerIntermatic$20 – $50Environmentally-friendly, energy-efficient, no wiring required

Note: Prices may vary depending on the retailer and region.

H3: Choosing the Right Timer to Prevent Leaving Lights On Longer Than Necessary

Leaving lights on longer than necessary can waste energy, increase electricity bills, and shorten the lifespan of your light bulbs. Using a timer is a simple and effective way to prevent this problem. Different types of timers are available to suit various lighting needs and preferences.

In this table, we’ve compiled some popular timer options with their key features and price range to help you choose the best one for your outdoor lighting needs.

Placing Them At Unsafe Heights

You should also keep in mind that your landscape lighting should never be placed at unsafe heights. 

The National Electrical Code states that you should keep your lights at least 6 feet away from the ground, and this rule is for good reason: it’s easy for children and pets to knock over a fixture, which could lead to injury if it falls on them.

It’s also important not to place your fixtures near trees or power lines (or anything else that might interfere with the flow of electricity). 

You don’t want anyone getting electrocuted by accident! Similarly, don’t put them under trees where children may climb up into them; this goes double if there are swimming pools nearby where kids might fall into them accidentally while climbing around after dark. Finally–and perhaps most importantly–don’t place any fixtures near fences or other structures that could be climbed by someone who wants access but shouldn’t have any access at all

Landscape lighting can transform your outdoor space into a beautiful and welcoming area for you and your guests. To learn more about the benefits of landscape lighting and how to create a stunning outdoor space, check out our Ultimate Guide to Landscape Lighting for a wealth of information and inspiration.

Placing Them In Areas Where They’ll Be Vulnerable To Children, Pets And Wildlife

You don’t want to place your landscape lighting in areas where it will be vulnerable to children, pets and wildlife. 

Pets and wildlife can trip over wires, which can be dangerous for them (and you). Children may be tempted to play with the lights, but this could result in burns or electrocution if they touch them.


We hope that this article has helped you avoid some of the most common lighting mistakes. If you’re looking for more information on how to get started with landscape lighting, check out our other articles!

Further Reading

If you’re interested in reading more about landscape lighting, check out these helpful resources:

8 Common Commercial Landscape Lighting Mistakes You Can Easily Avoid: This article lists common landscape lighting mistakes made in commercial settings and how to avoid them.

Avoid These 6 Common Landscape Lighting Mistakes: This blog post identifies prevalent landscape lighting errors and provides practical solutions to avoid them.

7 Common Landscape Lighting Design Mistakes to Avoid: Outback Landscape highlights common design mistakes to steer clear of when installing landscape lighting.


What are the most common landscape lighting mistakes people make?

Some of the most common landscape lighting mistakes include choosing the wrong color temperature, overusing path lights, poorly placed lighting fixtures, overpowering the landscape with too much lighting, and not considering functionality.

What color temperature should I use for my landscape lighting?

2700K to 3000K is the preferred color temperature for most landscape lighting. This range of light appears more natural and enhances the look of plants at night.

How many lumens do I need for landscape lighting?

The number of lumens you need depends on the size of the area you wish to light and the purpose of the lighting. For example, you’d need fewer lumens for decorative lighting and more for security lighting.

What’s the best type of bulb for landscape lighting?

LED bulbs are generally the best type of bulbs for landscape lighting. They are more efficient and last much longer than traditional incandescent bulbs.

Where can I install landscape lighting?

Landscape lighting can be installed virtually anywhere outside, including gardens, pathways, patios, and decks. Professional designers can help you determine the best locations for your lighting fixtures that match your landscape design and goals.