It may seem impossible, but the holiday season is right around the corner. It’s time to break out the hot cocoa, eat some cookies, and unpack the holiday decorations. At Sunrise, we love this time of year because it means we get to install holiday lighting for our clients. There’s nothing better than transforming a property into a holiday destination. If you are planning on creating your own holiday retreat this year, here are some holiday lighting tips for making the process simple and safe:
1. Decide where you want lights
It’s fun to light up entryways and windows on your home, as well as architectural elements, like your roof. You can also highlight paths, fencing, and landscaping features. You can brighten bushes with net lights and wrap strands around tree trunks to light your yard.
2. Measure and plan ahead
You don’t want to go to the store twice! Measure how much lighting you’ll need by taking a string and putting it wherever you want lights. If you know how long the string needs to be, you’ll know how many strands of lights you’ll need. As a general rule of thumb, trees require 100 lights per vertical foot (but larger trees could need more).
3. Choose your bulb size
Mini lights are the ones that look like candles and are only 5/8” tall. C6 bulbs are shaped like a strawberry and are ¾” in diameter, and 1 1/8” tall. C7 bulbs are a little rounder and are 1” in diameter, and 1 ½” tall. C9 bulbs are the largest, measuring 1 ¼” in diameter and 2 1/2” tall. If you see a G-series light, divide the number by 8 to get an idea of the diameter.
Evergreens often look best with bigger bulbs, while deciduous trees are excellent for mini lights or rope lights. Old-fashioned, larger bulbs are back in style, so mix up sizes for a more interesting holiday lighting look.
4. Determine whether you want incandescent or LED
LED lights cost a little more upfront but last much longer than incandescents. They also use only 10% of the electricity that incandescents do, which means less heat and less risk of fire. Although incandescents tend to be brighter, LED strings can compensate with more bulbs per string.
5. Ensure your lights are outdoor-safe
Your lights need to be waterproof if they are being used outside. Make sure everything you use for holiday lighting is marked for outdoor or indoor-outdoor use.
6. Purchase holders
Don’t damage your roof, trim, gutters, or trees by using tacks or nails to string your lights. Instead, invest in sturdy plastic clips and stakes to fasten your strings. Make sure your clips fit your bulb sizes, especially if you are using larger bulbs.
7. Strategize your strings
Test strands ahead of time and consider alternating strings over the same space for more illumination. When connecting strands, make sure to read the manufacturer recommendations; too many connections can create a fire hazard.
8. Plan extension cord placement
Bury extension cords or place them in areas where guests and family members won’t trip, and keep them away from water. Also make sure they are outdoor-safe, just like your lights.
9. Check outlets
You want to use ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) outlets. These outlets will shut down the circuit if there’s too much current, keeping your home safe. You can have an electrician install one for you, or you can purchase a portable unit for temporary use.
10. Liven it up
Light spheres, animated lights, and lights that move to music are great ways to liven up your lawn (and your neighborhood).
Whether you’re looking to be the envy of the neighborhood or create a cozy, welcoming home for the holidays, use these holiday lighting tips to create a winter wonderland that will stay in your memory long after the holiday season.
Sunrise Landscape and Design is Northern Virginia’s premier landscaping company offering a full range of landscaping services including landscape design and maintenance. Contact us today for all your landscape and lawn care needs!