backyard lighting

Be a Good Neighbor: Tips for Lighting Your Yard Without Causing Light Pollution

Artificial lighting has made a lot of things possible. It has transformed our industry and commerce and has made it possible for us to work and play well into the night. You can eat dinner at a restaurant, watch a movie, socialize with friends and family, travel, and walk at night safely and with ease.

But we also need darkness — so we can sleep well, so we can see the stars, and so that other living things can live their lives as they should.

Artificial lights can be disruptive to the environment and can affect animal habitats, migration patterns, and reproductive behavior. Over the past few decades, there have been a number of studies that have examined how artificial light affects wildlife and plants.

No matter how careful you are about your light usage, if your light is visible from outside your home, you are contributing to light pollution.

But don’t worry — if you follow these tips, you’ll be able to light your yard without causing too much of a problem. And by doing that, you will become a good neighbor and help keep the environment safe for everyone.

Use Motion Detectors or Timers

For outdoor lights, use motion detectors or timers to turn the lights on when you need them.

Motion-activated lights are meant to only come on when someone is nearby and will turn off after a minute or so. This way, they won’t be visible from far away and you won’t be wasting energy and money by leaving them on all night long.

Also, if you don’t really need the light on all the time, it’s advised that you turn the lights off at dawn and then on at dusk. This is where timers become useful.

Consider using smart light bulb which you can program to turn on and off according to your schedule or whenever you need illumination. Moreover, smart light bulbs can adjust brightness and tone automatically depending on necessity. Closer to the rising of the sun, for example, it may begin to gradually become dimmer.

Go with Warm and Yellow Tones

backyard light

Amber and yellow lights make your yard safer by making it easier for you to see, but they are much softer than bright white lights. Also, lights that are too bright can be seen from great distances — like across the street or in your neighbor’s yard — which means you’re giving away information people don’t need to know.

Moreover, warm tones are better for relaxation. Your eyes are more sensitive to the blue part of the light spectrum which makes white lights appear brighter. The yellow or amber parts of the color spectrum allow your eyes to relax and adjust to night vision much easier.

Layer Light Fixtures

Instead of putting one big light fixture in your yard, place several smaller ones in strategic locations. Layers of lighting are far better for the eyes because they’re not as bright, and they create less glare.

Keep Decorations Low to Avoid Sky Glow

Decorations can make your yard beautiful, but you don’t have to place them too high on buildings or trees. If you do this, the decorations will be more visible from afar, and they could contribute to sky glow — which is a glow that comes from beyond where your lights are supposed to reach.

You want to make sure that your decorations do not cause sky glow and make it difficult for people to see the stars at night.

If you want to put lights on a tree, keep them low — for example, at least one meter below the lowest branch — and evenly spaced around the tree. Talk to your local landscapers about lighting. They know where to properly place lights, so they can still be utilized without causing disruptions.

Light the Right Amount of Space

If you’re having trouble figuring out how much light is required for a space, it’s advisable that you talk to someone who works in horticulture. They can help you plan better and create something that will be useful to you without causing damage to the environment.

But generally, you should only place lights in places where you need illumination. For the rest of the yard, you should not use any lights at all. This way, other people can also see the stars and enjoy what your yard has to offer without being bothered by your lights.

Lighting your yard without causing light pollution doesn’t have to be difficult. Just follow these tips and you can have a safe and beautiful yard that wouldn’t cause problems.

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