The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Prepare my Landscape Lighting for the Winter Season

With Fall approaching, now is the perfect time to protect the hard work you put in during the spring and summer to optimize your landscape and take protective measures to ensure your lighting is prepared for the upcoming winter. With the potential of snowfall, freezing temperatures, and/or a lack of sunshine, you may need to address some elements in your landscape lighting. 

This time of year, before the ground freezes solid, can be the best time to check certain aspects of your lighting system for maintenance. When it comes to landscape lighting and preparing for winter, it can also be worth looking to have a professional lighting company service your system. 

Here are a few tips to prepare your landscape for winter. 

Check for Exposed Wire  

  • Investigate exposed wire 
  • Keep wire underground 

Wire from lighting fixtures may become unearthed over a long period of time. With the leaves starting to fall, take time to scan your property for any exposed wires. If you spot any exposed wire in your landscaping, you will want to properly rebury the wire in the ground. 

Having exposed wires can be a potential failure waiting to happen.

Wires should be properly buried for two reasons: 1) Wires on the ground are unsightly and detract form your yards beauty, 2) exposed wires are more likely to become damaged. 

How do wires become damaged? We've seen it all! From wild critters to family pets chewing on the wires, to your gardener accidentally damaging it while trimming up the shrubs with their trimmers. 

Landscape lighting wire should always be buried. 6" is the minimum standard for how deep all your 12v wire should be buried. 

So why is it important to get your wire buried before winter?

The answer: freeze thaw cycles. Every winter the ground cycles through hundreds of freeze thaw cycles where the ground freezes and and then thaws again near the surface. When this happens it causes something caused Frost Heave. 

Frost heave is where the ground slowly/slightly heaves and moves. If there is a small section of exposed landscape wire, frost heave can lead to the slightly exposed wire becoming even more exposed! This is why it is important to ensure all your wire is properly buried before winter. 

If you discover wire that has been damaged during your investigation, it might be a good idea to call a landscape lighting professional to repair the wire before placing the wire back in the ground. 

Clear Snow Covering Fixtures 

After a heavy snow storm, a portion of your lighting fixtures may be buried under snow.

LED bulbs do put out heat. Its enough to melt some snow (a few inches). But if the fixtures get completely buried under a foot of snow or more, they're going to need some help. 

LEDs do not emit enough heat to melt the snow, so in order for your landscape lighting to illuminate your property, you will want to go out and clear off the snow covering the fixtures.

If you already need to go out to clear off your driveway and walkways, they might be a great time to quickly dust off the fixtures as well. 

Clearing your light fixtures is easy! All you need to do is take a broom and brush the snow off the lens to let the light shine through. 

Take extra care when you're removing snow near your fixtures. If you have a snow removal company that removes snow, let them know you have fixtures near where they plow. If you are concerned you could purchase flags at your local hardware store to point out the location of the fixtures. 


Adjust Outdoor Landscape Lighting Fixtures in the Winter

Over time your lighting fixtures can move out of place or get damaged from landscaping, wind or snow removal. You can take some time to walk through your yard regularly to re-align fixtures that may be crooked. 

The best way to prevent your landscape lighting system is to avoid accidental damages. 

Moisture-Related Problems with Landscape Lighting 

Outdoor LED lighting is sensitive to moisture and water. Like any of our electronic devices, if a LED light bulb comes in contact with moisture it is sure to short out. Since the bulb is sensitive to moisture, it is important to use high-quality fixtures that will keep the moisture out and away from the bulbs. 

Here at Landscape Lighting Pro, we've vetted countless models to curate a selection of landscape lighting fixtures that are built to last a lifetime. We install the highest quality fixtures to keep the bulb protected from moisture and outside elements that can cause harm to the system. If something does go wrong we offer a lifetime warranty on our fixtures. So either way... you're protected!


Schedule an Annual Service

The greatest thing you can do for your landscape lighting system is to service it yearly! Regardless of the type of lighting system or how well it was engineered/built, it is always fighting against the elements. Servicing it annually keeps your lighting system at its best and ensures life long performance.

During an annual service, our team inspects all LED bulbs, readjusts and cleans fixtures and lenses, reburies exposed wire, and inspects the transformers and reset timers as needed. Schedule your annual service now so your lighting system is in tip-top shape for all those evenings spent in your outdoor spaces!  


Need help with your outdoor lighting project?

If you are looking for a professional to help with your outdoor lighting design and installation, request a consultation here! Let our designers create not only a functional property, but one that highlights the beauty of your home even at night. 

At Landscape Lighting Pro, the art of outdoor illumination is a real passion we work to perfect. Designing elegantly bespoke landscape lighting systems is simply all we do. For nearly 20 years, our award winning team of designers and craftsmen have striven to bring the best outdoor lighting experience possible to people's homes and businesses across the Wasatch Front & beyond.