Landscape lighting is generally associated with the beautification of a property. But do not forget about safety and security. Safety and security are two top reasons a landscape lighting system should be installed.
According to FBI statistics, a home was burglarized every 26 seconds in 2018, and the average loss is between $2,500 and $3,000 per incident. A well-lit home provides a great crime deterrent in the evening hours. Burglars do not usually break in if they can be easily seen. Normally criminals are only after your possessions and are not looking for confrontation.
Indoor and outdoor lighting can work together to help deter potential burglars. With proper lighting, one can create an occupied look even if the resident might be away. Indoor lights should be set up on timers or Wi-Fi smart switches. Motion sensor lights can be an even greater deterrent. These lights add to the element of surprise, which may scare off a potential intruder.
Lighting for safety
As we age, so do our eyes. I can recall as a young man being able to see quite well during evening demonstrations. These days, I make sure that I carry several flashlights and an extra pair of glasses.
When working with clients, take note of their eyesight. It is not wrong to ask how well they can see at night. Discuss the age of the frequent visitors to the property. If seniors visit frequently, the design may require more concentrated traverse lighting. It is good to take note of all traveling paths. Are they smooth? Are there any cracks or expansion joint gaps? What is the potential for ice?
Crime is not the only reason for security lighting. Rural areas may have natural predators lurking about. Since man has invaded many outlying areas with development, there are many species of wildlife that can be present.
Proper placement of landscape lighting can also bring attention to such wildlife. Perhaps some indirect light around garbage cans or side gate areas would be an option. This will provide some security so your customer will be better aware of the surroundings.
Glare from ambient light
When designing an outdoor lighting system, it is especially important to visit the property and take note of all ambient light sources. Look out for potential glare bombs. It is necessary to examine the light sources within each fixture. You will need to check the wattage, Kelvin temperature and lumen output.
The style of the light source and fixture type is also important. Check to see if you are working with an omni-directional or projection-style light source. Take note whether you are working with full glass lanterns or shielded sconces.
For safety, indirect and shielded lighting are much easier to work with. Keep in mind that human beings, like insects, are drawn to the brightest source of light. Seeing the light source can cause distractions and momentary blindness. Be sure to shield all light sources. Add softening lenses, scrim cloth and hex louvers if necessary.
Advertise and seek business
What is your elevator pitch to get people’s attention? Listen to what your customers are saying and come up with a few key phrases that succinctly hit those points home. For example, you could ask “Can you see on your property at night?” or, “Are your front steps a trip hazard?” Pointing out how you understand a customer’s pain points and following up with how you can solve them are great ways to start the conversation. Safety and security are a necessity for most people. They may be more likely to contact you first if you exhibit upfront that you understand their problem.
As with any lighting job, always ask the question: Why light? Why are we here? Are we lighting for safety, security, beauty or a combination of these?
For other great tips on lighting for safety and security, visit www.darksky.org. Let us all keep safe and secure out there.
Kevin Smith is the national technical support and trainer at Brilliance LED LLC, Carefree, Arizona, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.