October 18, 2017

Solar Christmas Lights

Solar Christmas lights are one of a number of money saving ideas that could help you decorate your home in the strained economic times of this holiday season.  Unlike many money saving ideas, this one is cost effective and allows you the added benefit of doing something green to benefit our environment. 

 

Why Should I Go Solar?

 Investing in solar Christmas lights can eliminate one of the highest ticket items on your holiday decorating list– electricity for your display.  In place of the power draining strings that can use up to 100 watts a piece, solar Christmas lights work 100% by using the no-cost energy of the sun.  These power-saving light sets work in exactly the same way as the solar lights commonly used in landscape lighting. 

A solar Christmas light set consists of a string of lights attached to a controller board.  The board is made up of a battery, solar cells and a light sensor.  The light sensor gathers the light, activating the solar cells (photovoltaic cells) convert the sunlight into electricity.  The produced electricity is then used to charge the battery that powers the Christmas lights.  On a bright, sunny day, the cells can take in enough sunlight to totally recharge the battery that powers the outdoor string lights.  Should the wintry days be cloudy, the cells will still recharge but may not totally recharge the battery.  If this is the case, the lights will not stay lit as long as they would if totally recharged. 

Solar Christmas light sets use the industry’s new darling, LED lights. These LED (light emitting diode) bulbs asolar coverre more efficient to operate than traditional electric Christmas lights, making them the ideal choice for use with sunlight-dependent solar cells.  You’ll find solar Christmas lights to be particularly bright and clear and available in a variety of bulb colors and string lengths. In addition some manufacturers are offering inflatable solar light covers that drape over your lights and create images like this snowman available from Amazon.com

 

 

 

Outdoor Christmas Lights Safety

 

Take Precautions When Hanging Christmas Lights Outdoors

 hanging lights

It’s no secret that outdoor Christmas lights can turn any home and yard into a holiday wonderland. However, it’s important to be as mindful of safety when hanging Christmas lights outdoors as it is when setting them up indoors.  As the old adage goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

 

 

Landscape Lighting Selection Smarts

Common sense dictates that all products used for exterior and landscape lighting purposes be intended specifically for installation outdoors. The same is true for all extension cords used to provide power to outdoor Christmas lights, which should be rated for outdoor use. Additionally, before purchasing any extension cord, check the package for the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) seal. UL is an independent laboratory that evaluates electrical products for safety–and if a cord isn’t UL-rated, leave it on the store’s shelves.

 

Go For the Ground–The Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter

 gfi

Precautions for hanging Christmas lights outdoors aren’t limited to proper outdoor Christmas lighting selection and the purchase of appropriate extension cords. It’s also a smart idea to buy a Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, or GFCI — “the most effective means for protecting consumers against electrical shock hazards,” according to Document 5040 of the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. A GFCI is the small red rectangle that lies between the upper and lower sets of holes of some electrical outlets. It constantly monitors current flowing in a circuit to sense any loss of current. If the current flowing through two circuit conductors differs by a very small amount, the GFCI instantly interrupts the current flow to prevent users from coming into contact with a lethal amount of electricity. GFCIs are especially critical to use with outdoor Christmas lights, whose wires and bulbs can be damaged by unpredictable and sometimes severe weather.

 

Call In the Pros

For yet another layer of landscape lighting safety, hire an electrician to check all outlets and GFCIs to determine whether they are operating properly and can supply the necessary volume of power to your exterior Christmas lighting display. Asking the electrician to install extra outlets is a wise course of action if he or she deems them necessary. Otherwise, you run the risk of pluging too many lights into one outlet, overloading the circuit and causing a power failure or a fire. When setting up landscape lighting, remember also that water and electricity make a terrible and potentially dangerous combination. Without fail, keep electrical connections clear of snow and puddles and ensure that sockets point downward when inserting bulbs into them. Never put strings of exterior Christmas lights on trees that come into contact with power lines. And finally, do not hang outdoor Christmas lights on trees that touch, or could potentially touch, power lines. Better safe than sorry!

Brighten the Holiday with Outdoor Tree Lights

Radiate Warmth And Cheer With Festive Landscape Lighting

Landscape lighting can help brighten the holidays for all who visit or pass by.  When planning the holiday landscape lighting, don’t forget the outdoor tree lights, shrubbery, buildings, and yard decorations.  The many lights available to illuminate your landscape lighting include string lights, rope lights, icicle lights, and novelty lights.  String lights and novelty lights are great outdoor tree lights.  String lights, rope lights, and icicle lights are perfect for shrubbery and buildings.  Yard decorations can be lit by all forms of Christmas lights.  Landscape lighting looks best when planned in advance taking care to balance out colors and symmetry and identifying a focal point.  Color schemes look best when deciding to use all multi-colored lights or monochromatic lights.  The monochromatic white color scheme has been popular in landscape lighting during recent years.  Done properly, both warm and cool white colors can be blended in landscape lighting to make an especially attractive display.  Don’t ignore symmetry in planning.  Landscape lighting looks best when lighting all areas of the yard and keeping in mind both horizontal and vertical placement.  Novelty yard decorations, like a nativity scene, make a good focal point.  Landscape lighting will help make the holidays more festive and joyful.

Illuminate The Neighborhood With Outdoor Tree Lighting

Holiday tree lighting has been a popular Christmas tradition for more than a century.  At one time, people illuminated their indoor treesoutdoor tree with candles.  Flammability issues limited the amount of time people could enjoy this.  Typically the tree was decorated and lit for only a day or two.  The introduction of electric string lights in the late 19th century allowed people to enjoy their tree lighting longer.  As the indoor tree lighting tradition continued, people started to illuminate their outdoor trees.  Today, outdoor tree lighting can be found in many neighborhoods.  There are many more choices of indoor and outdoor tree lighting available today than there was years ago.  In addition to traditional electric string lighting, there are more energy efficient LED lighting and non-electric solar lighting.  Both options cost a little more up front but, in the long run, are more cost efficient.  Novelty shapes like Starlight Spheres or Snowflakes can be particularly festive outdoor tree lighting.  The beauty and splendor of decorating for the holidays with tree lighting makes a very special time of year filled with fun, hoopla, and warm tender moments with people we care about.

Brighten The Holidays With Festive Lighting

Share season’s greetings with family, friends, and neighbors by means of festive lighting.  Festive lighting can make the holidays more enjoyable with feelings of increased energy and joyful mood.  The holidays are about peaceful reflection and are a time to spend with family and friends.  Festive lighting can make the season more special by creating a peaceful, reflective mood with dim soft lights or by creating a vibrant party mood with bright twinkling lights.  Festive lighting can be created by lighting trees, shrubs, and buildings, arranging luminaries along walking paths, hanging lit ornaments, lighting indoor trees, lighting garland that is draped on mantles and banisters, spotlighting special decorations, grouping candles in decorative displays, etc.  Festive lighting can highlight the “true meaning of the season” by spotlighting a nativity scene displayed outside.  Festive lighting can ignite the spirit in all of us.  Color your holidays bright with festive lighting.

Landscape Lighting: A Wealth of Options

Landscape Lighting A Wealth of OptionsUse many different types of lighting to decorate your yard this holiday season

It’s no secret that consumers are becoming more and more creative when it comes to decorating the interior of their homes for Christmas. Of course, with the wide range of products, you just can’t miss. But jazzing up your yard to make the holiday season all the more merry and bright can be just as easy, given the selection of landscape lighting options to be found in brick-and-mortar stores and online. Here are a few choices to consider.

Landscape Lighting A Wealth of Options 1Tying In Rope Lights

Long a popular choice for landscape lighting due to their versatility, rope lights are decorative light ropes manufactured using clear PVC tubing. The light material is very flexible, allowing it to be formed into a multitude of shapes and cut in regular increments. Rope lights can be set to provide steady lighting or “flashing” effects via a controller. Available in a variety of colors, rope lights make a great focal point when wrapped around outdoor Christmas trees and can also be used on railings, fences, and the like.

Landscape Lighting A Wealth of Options 2Taking A Shine To Icicle Lights

Icicle lights have also become a top choice for Christmas landscape lighting because of their distinctive appearance. As their name suggests, icicle lights look like the real thing. In addition to the traditional icicle shape, they come in other shapes, such as snowflake and star. Not all icicle lights are white: Many manufacturers now offer icicle lights in a palette of colors that includes pink, blue, purple, and green. Some companies also design their icicle lights with clips that attach the bulbs to the wire, ensuring that the latter point downward for the best look and easy setup. Icicle lights look beautiful when dangled from eaves, decks, gutters, fences, or rails.

Landscape Lighting A Wealth of Options 3Snazzing It Up With Sculptures

Crafted from plastic, light sculptures can be used as the “centerpiece” of a landscape lighting design, as well as to flank outdoor Christmas trees. Most light sculptures come in a flat version, a majority of which comprise frames embellished with light strings. Many people like to decorate these with garland. A few companies have also introduced three-dimensional light sculptures in such motifs as snowflakes, deer and reindeer; some animal light sculptures feature moving heads powered by a motor. You can leave your three-dimensional light sculptures bare-framed, or make them even more festive by draping them with garland or looping/weaving through plastic cord. The possibilities are limited only by your imagination.

The Lay of the Landscape

Landscape lighting is a Key Component of Creative Holiday Decorating

The Lay of the LandscapeInvesting in landscape lighting is a great way to jazz up your property no matter what the season, but it incorporating it into your outdoor Christmas décor is a particularly desirable strategy at holiday time. After all, no matter where you live, winter brings fewer daylight hours, and the area surrounding your home simply isn’t as visually interesting as it is at other times of the year.

Going Beyond the Basics–Outdoor Holiday Lights

When many people think of landscape lighting for Christmas, the image of outdoor holiday lights simply strung across a bush immediately comes to mind. However, there’s far, far more to it than that. An essential element of creative holiday decorating–which is all the rage these days– landscape lighting can feature traditional or LED Christmas lights used to outline shrubs, paths, beds, creeks, roofs, and driveways alike. Either type of lighting technology can also be put into place to wrap columns, tree trunks and canopies. If you’re particularly ambitious, garland, wreath, trees, topiaries, bows, ornamentals and the like can serve to augment some or all of these.

Debunking Other Myths

The Lay of the Landscape 1Another myth about Christmas landscape lighting is that it should be restricted to outdoor holiday lights. Nothing could be farther from the truth. As it relates to creative holiday decorating, landscape lighting also encompasses other types of illumination to set the scene for a wintry wonderland. For example, if you have spruce trees or distinctive shrubbery set against a stone or brick wall or a even a white fence, place a spotlight there to highlight the “scene” at night.  If you want to get a bit more “Christmasy” and the backdrop is of a light color (white, for example), use a red bulb.

Extending The Glow–Creative Holiday Decorating

The Lay of the Landscape 2Sure, well-designed, well-executed landscape lighting will brighten your holiday and beyond. But you can also leverage your investment at other times of the year. Leave a few lights (not the multi-colored ones) around a group of plants or in a tree. One creative homeowner puts away the strings of red and green lights in the attic once the Christmas season is over, but takes strings of lights and creates fanciful shapes–from flowers to summer dresses, on a few of her bushes throughout the year. So don’t be afraid to experiment–your landscape, and perhaps even your neighbors and passers-by, will thank you.

Landscape Lighting for Year Round Use

Landscape Lighting–Not Just for the Warmer Months

Landscape Lighting for Year Round UseIf you think landscape lighting is only about summer–think again.  Well planned outdoor landscape lighting should offer you, the homeowner, year-round pleasure and include an opportunity to use your investment in concert with all the seasons including the season of exterior Christmas lights.

Often the drabbest of seasons, winter, usually gets livened up in the yard only when the holiday lights come out. Tasteful landscape lighting can change all this.  Lights can be installed to add interest to your home and your plantings as well as to provide light for safety and security.  And come Christmas time, your investment can be modified slightly to accommodate a rich and opulent display of exterior Christmas lights.

Adapt Your Existing Landscape Lighting to Accommodate Exterior Christmas Lights

Simply replacing your landscape spots with colored outside holiday lights can make them adaptable as the seasons change.  With very little labor after the initial installation, you can change the effect passersby have as they drive down your block.  From spring and summer, to fall and winter, and into the holidays the lighting can be quickly modified to the holiday season.

Simple, elegant Christmas Light Displays

Landscape Lighting for Year Round Use 1At Christmas, your lighting needn’t be the brightest on the block to be the finest.  Simple, versus complex lighting schemes, can sometimes allow you to achieve more elegant outdoor Christmas light displays.  Consider lighting a stately, tall tree in your yard with single spotlights.  As an alternative, you could use tree uplighting as seen in this photo, where the lights are at the base of the trees and angled upward.  The concept is simple, but the effect can be as perfect as the beautiful snow-covered trees on a sophisticated Christmas card.

Landscape Lighting for Year Round Use 2On your home you could try adding some simple wreath lights with stark red bows. With these outdoor Christmas lighting ideas you’ll have some of the most beautiful, classic holiday lighting displays around.  All you need to complete the picture is a fresh, white blanket of newly fallen snow!

Landscape Lighting – Decoration and Green Lights

Get Creative with Outdoor Christmas Light Displays

Landscape Lighting 1 1Create a festive winter wonderland with outdoor Christmas light displays.  A luminescent luxury can be had with string lights, hanging lights, spot lights, landscape lighting, yard decorations, and luminaries.  String lights provide many opportunities for creativity.  Some popular uses include outlining roof lines, highlighting landscapes, and accenting trees.  Other outdoor Christmas light displays include hanging lights from trees.  These come in popular shapes like the star.  Spot lights, popular in year-round landscape lighting, are used to draw attention to trees, shrubs, and buildings.  Other outdoor Christmas light displays include lighting yard decorations.  Designing outdoor Christmas light displays can be fun and inspirational.  Planning where to put a nativity scene and how to illuminate it to make it the center piece of an outdoor Christmas light display can help one focus upon the true meaning of the season.  Luminaries have visual appeal in outlining a pathway and can bring a bit of the “old world” into one’s outdoor Christmas light displays.  Enjoy your own imaginative outdoor Christmas light displays.

Save Money with LED Outdoor Christmas Lights

Landscape Lighting 1 2Energy-saving LED outdoor Christmas lights will help you be green and save money.  A variety of electric or battery powered LED outdoor Christmas lights products in many sizes and colors can help you design a fascinating lighting display.  In the past few years, there has been a dramatic increase in the assortment of LED outdoor Christmas lights, especially in the string light market.  The assortment of string lighting includes many bulb size options and shapes, as well as string lengths.  Popular shapes for LED outdoor Christmas lights include star-shaped spheres and Moravian stars.  LED outdoor Christmas lights provide ample opportunity to create a luminescent wonderland while helping the environment.

Go Green with Solar Outdoor Christmas Lights

Landscape Lighting 1 3The energy panel in the solar outdoor Christmas lights collects energy during the day to illuminate during the night.  The power source is free making solar outdoor Christmas lights energy efficient and good for the environment.  There are many solar outdoor Christmas lights options to choose from including solar string lights, solar icicle lights, solar net lights, solar holiday decorations, solar garden decorations, and solar patio decorations.  Help protect the environment by using solar outdoor Christmas lights.

Landscape Lighting – Your Spirit, Personalities and Atmosphere

Outside Lights Can Make Your Spirit Bright

Landscape LightingOne of my favorite memories is from years ago when I lived in a different house.  The next door neighbor hung numerous multi-colored outside lights on an evergreen tree in her backyard.  She left these lit all day and night and they were the only outside lights throughout all our neighbors’ backyards.  I can clearly remember the first night I awoke in the middle of the night and looked outside.  There was a fresh blanket of snow covering and the outside lights on the Christmas tree were sparkling with magnificence.  It took my breath away.  I found myself purposely getting up in the middle of the night, each night, to look at the festive winter wonderland of outside lights.  When we moved into our next home, we copied this tradition of our old neighbor by hanging outside lights on our backyard evergreens to spread the luminescent luxury to others.

People’s Personalities Are Reflected In Their Yard Lighting

Landscape Lighting 1Have you ever wondered who lived in certain houses?  An insight into what they are like is more easily discovered during the holidays by looking at their yard decorations and yard lighting, or lack thereof.  The way people decorate their outdoors can tell you a lot about how they behave and what they think.  People’s actions regarding yard decorations and yard lighting can be due to many factors:  cultural and religious beliefs, time, money, family traditions, lack of interest, etc.  During the most recent years, my favorite yard lighting is stringing monochromatic white lights over all trees, shrubs, and house.  This is the typical yard lighting design of my neighbors.  I wonder, does this mean I need to “keep up with the Jones?”

Patio Lights Provide a Warm Inviting Atmosphere to Share With Family and Friends

Landscape Lighting 2I find myself grateful to have a family member who has the most beautiful patio I have ever seen.  From the family room, you step out on the same level through French doors onto a cement patio with a large outdoor area rug.  Directly across the patio is a working outdoor fireplace.  When not in use, candles are strategically placed inside contributing to the patio lights.  The outdoor room has a lighted ceiling fan, also contributing to the patio lights.  Other patio lights include wall sconces, a floor lamp and assorted solar candles.  Sofas are strategically arranged to allow for easy conversation and allow for easy viewing of the backyard.  Landscape lighting makes the backyard glow with beauty.  A privacy curtain, tied back during the day, is a creative way to enjoy private evenings outside.  It’s easy to decorate this room for the holidays.  Monochromatic white Christmas string lights, hung around the room, add beautifully to the other patio lights.

Adapt Your Landscape Lighting to the Holidays

Landscape lighting is a beautiful addition to your home that will pay off year round.  Even at Christmastime, you can, with very little effort add simple touches to make it special for the holiday season.  You could choose to add colored bulbs, adjust your spotlights or add wreath lighting and maybe even a few icicle lights. The investment in landscape lighting seems far less daunting when you consider that it can make the process of Christmas lighting outside much easier.

Combining new or existing landscape lighting with a variety of holiday decorating ideas can allow you to get “double-duty” out of your landscape lighting.  Opt for adding holiday color and additional lights to your yard, adapt your current landscape lighting or select creative products for an unusual combination that sure to marvel your neighbors.

Step back in Time–Combine Candlelight with Your Landscape Lighting and Outside Christmas Lights

Adapt Your landscape Lighting to the HolidaysOne stunning way to combine landscape lighting with your creativity is to take it back in time and make it more nostalgic by mixing your existing landscape lighting with candle light.  To make Christmas Eve very special, you could consider adding candlelight luminaries to your yard. A common practice in some east coast communities, lit votive candles are placed in lunch-size paper bags, so they can light the walkways as guests proceed to homes before and after Christmas Eve services.  An elegant custom, symbolically the candles are said to “light the path of the coming Christ  Child”.

Christmas Lighting Outside–Luminaries-to-Go

Adapt Your landscape Lighting to the Holidays 1Should you not have the time to assemble these yourself various manufacturers have begun producing kits with everything that you need to add this custom to your community.  In some cases the bags are even die-cut with design such as stars, angels, snowmen and Christmas trees.  These luminaries aren’t your only candle lighting option.  In addition to the usual Christmas lighting outside, other candle choices include Mexican tin candle holders and even Chinese lanterns.  The key to using them safely and effectively is to weight them with stones and only put them out on nights when it is not snowing.

To find out more about landscape lighting that easily adapts to the holidays check out: www.holiday-concepts.il.com

Christmas Luminaries are available for purchase at the following sites:

www.flicLuminaries.com

www.lumabase.com

www.simplyluminaries.com

Fondest Memories of Outdoor Xmas Lights

Create Neighborhood Unity with Outdoor Christmas Lighting

Fondest Memories of Outdoor Xmas LightsWhen I think of Christmas’ past, the first memories that come to mind are of driving around different neighborhoods on the eve before Christmas looking at outdoor Christmas lighting.  I’ve lived in at least a dozen different neighborhoods, from city to suburban, apartment to single family house.  The thread that ties these communities together during the holidays is the beautiful outdoor Christmas lighting décor.  The many different sizes and shapes of Xmas lights combined with different cultures and personalities, come together to create a unique and varied outdoor Christmas lighting display.  Some people choose a minimalistic approach while others spend many days planning and decorating their outdoors.  Outdoor Christmas lighting can be as creative and unique as the imagination can muster.

Accentuate your home with Landscape lighting

Fondest Memories of Outdoor Xmas Lights 1A beautiful way to highlight a building is with landscape lighting.  A multi-color or all-monochromatic theme can be quite stunning and eye-catching.  Landscape lighting adds curb-appeal and really makes your home shine.  Monochromatic bursts of color, when each tree or shrub is wrapped in a bold statement of color, makes landscape lighting looks stunning.  The all white monochromatic theme makes landscape lighting look elegant and sophisticated.  Multi-color lighting can dazzle the senses and bring cheer to your landscape lighting.

Add fun and laughter using Novelty lighting

Fondest Memories of Outdoor Xmas Lights 2A favorite Xmas lights display of mine from years ago was a neighborhood block where each house used a Charlie Brown and Snoopy themed display of novelty lighting.  Each home had a different story to tell and we wondered how new homeowners to the community felt about being told they had to participate in the yearly novelty lighting.  Novelty lighting can put a smile on a child’s face when they recognize a favorite character or unique display.  Novelty lighting is a creative and fun way to decorate with Xmas lights.