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October 16, 2019

3 min


4 Outdoor Lighting Tasks To Tackle This Fall

Landscape contractor installing lighting

As the view outside changes from green to vibrant reds and golds, it’s a sure sign that autumn has arrived. To make the most of this season’s and get ahead of winter - now’s the time to do routine maintenance on your outdoor lighting.

Exterior lights are, typically, pretty low maintenance. However, there are some basic tasks that need to be undertaken to ensure peak performance, especially when the weather changes. Because autumn falls between our two most extreme seasons (summer and winter), it’s the ideal time to tackle tasks like these.

3 Northland wall lights hung and lit over 2 garage doors
Take a Bath

By the time fall rolls around, most light fixtures need a good bath to look as pristine as these Pier outdoor lights. But first things first—turn off the circuit breaker to all of your outside lights to prevent getting shocked. Remove light bulbs and inset glass panels, if possible. Use a soft cloth and soapy water to remove dirt, dust and water spots instead of chemical cleaning products (unless recommended by the lighting manufacturer).  Rinse fixtures with water and dry with a soft cloth to avoid streaking. Avoid getting water in or around light sockets or risk damaging fixtures and getting shocked when you put bulbs back in.

Pier Outdoor hanging lights and Pier Outdoor wall light lighting up an outdoor porch
close up of Pier Outdoor hanging lights and Pier Outdoor wall light lighting up an outdoor porch
Adjust Accordingly

Because up lights and accent lights are low to the ground, it’s easy for them to get bumped by lawn mowers during Summer, so inspect yours to ensure they’re still securely implanted and properly positioned. This is also a good time to shift the direction of lights to highlight seasonal color, dramatic foliage or the unexpected architectural shape of branches that appear as leaves drop.  Replace non-working bulbs and check your landscape lighting timer, too.  Many timers have an automatic dusk-to- dawn feature but if yours doesn’t, remember to manually adjust it to compensate for shorter daylight hours.

12v LED lighting a tree at night
Landscape accent light hidden in rock to light pathway
Landscape accent light installed next to sidewalk
Tidy Up

For better illumination, trim back shrubs or plants that are blocking light fixtures. Remove fallen leaves that are covering or building up around accent and path lights.  If lighting system cables have worked their way to the surface over time and are now exposed, properly rebury them underground for protection from the effects of weather and so people don’t trip over them.

12 Volt LED Path Lights lighting outdoor stone steps
Lansdcape lighting wire caps
Supplement for Safety

From Halloween on, more guests than usual will likely be headed your way. Providing a well-lit path and front porch for them is more than common courtesy, it’s a safety measure, too. By putting yourself in their shoes and walking to your home from different starting points (street, driveway, sidewalk, steps), you’ll be able to accurately assess if more path lights are needed. 

Routine maintenance like this doesn’t take long to do, but can go a long way in helping your exterior lighting continue to perform well. Fall is here. Winter is on the way. Make the most of this transition season to get your home ship-shape, both inside and out.

River Path LED Wall Lights Lighting the entry way and garage
12 Volt Deck Light mounted on fence post outside a garden

Ready to prep but stuck on where to start?

Get inspired for fall. See how three designers prepped their porch or visit our Outdoor Lighting Guide for now tips. 

Outdoor Lighting Guide
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@gallagherboyfarm's front door with Kichler Pendant


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@morganbullard's front door


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