Vacation rentals should feel inviting and look attractive before guests even step through the front door, don’t you think? As a property owner, it’s important to consider how to present the exterior of your vacation home as much as the interior. With proper landscape lighting, you can address both curb appeal (first impressions are everything) and guest safety, reducing your risk of liability lawsuits!
Outdoor lights can illuminate the path to the front door, fishing dock, water feature, outdoor kitchen, or hot tub gazebo to help prevent slips, trips, or falls as well as liven up great outdoor spaces to create a welcoming atmosphere every evening. When planning a landscape lighting design for your vacation property, there are 3 main options for power: standard 120-voltage, low voltage, and solar.
Pro tip: while skimming the pros and cons of your landscape lighting options, remember to put durability and quality at the top of your must-haves. As a vacation rental owner, it’s to your advantage these outdoor lights work well, are safe, and last long.
High Voltage Outdoor Lighting
While somewhat difficult to procure for residential homes, 120-voltage lighting for your landscape design is one option to consider. Although less popular and more expensive in comparison to other outdoor lighting solutions for vacation properties, commercial-grade outdoor lighting is very durable and often of high quality.
Wiring for high voltage lighting must be installed by a licensed electrician or lighting professional. For 120-volt lighting in outdoor areas, it must be wired into a breaker box and connected to a transformer mounted on an exterior wall. Most importantly, the wires must be placed in a protective conduit and buried at least 18 inches deep, which is much deeper than other lighting solutions. Alternatively, you can opt for more expensive wiring that can be installed underground without any protective casing.
Outdoor fixtures made for high voltage wiring and bulbs are typically built to withstand storms, animals, and other possible damages, which is a great advantage for your vacation rental. Although, it does come at a steeper cost than other options, averaging $250+ per fixture.
With the cost of installation and commercial-grade fixtures in mind, we recommend high voltage lighting for larger properties expecting group stays. This exterior lighting option is also great for owners who want an outdoor lighting solution that requires little, if any, maintenance. Do note some states require a special permit, which is another cost to consider. However, once your commercial-grade outdoor lighting is installed, it will last for many years to come!
Another point to mull over is the look of high voltage lighting and how it incorporates into your landscape design. High voltage bulbs are super bright, which will certainly make everything visible but can also cause unwanted glare and limit your ability to create a more subtle landscape mood. Additionally, high voltage lighting is more expensive to operate over time, can’t be moved easily once installed, and must remain moisture-free to avoid shock hazards.
Low Voltage Exterior Lighting
As the most popular outdoor lighting solution for vacation rental owners, low voltage exterior lighting offers many options and is readily available. Many 12-volt lighting systems feature a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes (string lights, motion sensor lights, LED lighting, etc.) to suit your property. And homeowners can easily install everything themselves, a great cost-saving benefit!
Low voltage lighting doesn’t need to be installed as a circuit in your breaker box. Simply plug this outdoor lighting solution into standard electrical outlets to get started. All wiring must be covered/buried to prevent trip hazards, damages, and broken fixtures from pulled cables. Although you don’t have to bury low-volt wiring as deep as high-volt wiring, we recommend burying deep enough to keep everything secured.
While you don’t need to hire a professional electrician to install low voltage lighting outside, do keep in mind that poor installation yields poor results. Take your time or consider contracting an experienced landscape lighting technician to get it right the first time. Pro tip: cheaper lighting systems/contractors usually mean low quality and low durability…so pay more now to avoid paying a great deal later.
From low installation costs to energy-saving fixtures, low-voltage landscape lighting is excellent for any rental property really. You can add timers or motion sensors to switch lights on and off to provide an ideal experience — and avoid renters running up your energy bill. Smaller light bulbs are less noticeable, more adjustable for specific lighting effects, and can help achieve the landscape look you want.
Furthermore, low-voltage exterior lighting generally has a low operating cost, can be moved around more easily, and is designed for wet or dry conditions (operates safely when exposed to moisture). Routine maintenance is required to ensure wiring remains secure, the transformers work properly, and the bulbs light.
Solar Landscape Lighting
As the easiest and least expensive vacation rental lighting option for your landscape design, solar outdoor lighting is quite attractive to homeowners. Plus, new designs and developments are on the rise with growing movements to produce more environmentally friendly and energy-efficient lighting.
Once you’ve ordered or picked up the solar lights you want, simply unbox, assemble, and install your new solar lighting design within a few hours or less! Since underground wiring and an electrical power source are not required for solar outdoor lighting, professional installation isn’t needed, which is a huge cost-saver.
With no wires to hold you back, you can place your solar lights anywhere direct sunlight hits during the day. While some solar lighting systems are made of metal, most solar options are made of hard plastic. Opt for solar lights with high-quality power storage to get the most bang for your buck.
Along with simple installation and no wiring required, outdoor solar lighting options are easily accessible and very affordable. Owners with vacation homes in sunny spots are ideal candidates for solar landscape lighting while properties nestled in a bundle of trees may not benefit as much.
It’s worth noting that even though solar lights are inexpensive, lighting effects typically only last for a few hours after dark. Stakes are often flimsy, and you’ll need to replace solar outdoor lighting more frequently (every 1-2 seasons). Guests often knock suitcases into lights along walkways, and solar lights tend to break more easily. Higher-quality solar lights are best for emergency floodlights or off-the-path lighting.
Review: Pros & Cons
When evaluating which exterior lighting solution is best for your vacation rental, consider installation time, cost, functionality, quality, and durability. Properly installed and designed landscape lighting can make your property stand out from the competition. As mentioned, good outdoor lighting can also help reduce risks of injury in the evening and night hours when guests are arriving or returning to your property.
Some vacation rental owners even prefer a combination of high or low-voltage lighting with solar lighting — it all depends on YOUR investment goals!
Pros: bright + durable + low maintenance
Cons: limited availability + costly installation
Pros: easy installation + cost-effective + flexibility
Cons: less durable + routine maintenance
Pros: little/no wiring + affordable + energy efficient
Cons: least durable + limited lighting
Professional Landscape Lighting Assistance
Light up your rental without lifting a finger — with Georgia Cabins for YOU. As a full-service vacation property management company in North Georgia, we’re happy to help with outdoor lighting ideas, installation, maintenance, and oh-so-much more! We even have an in-house design team to assist with bringing your outdoor (and/or indoor) vision to life.
Plus, our routine property inspections keep an eye on your lighting systems so you don’t have to worry about blown bulbs, pulled wires, or setup adjustments. Sit back and relax while Georgia Cabins for YOU takes care of calls, reservations, maintenance, housekeeping, and marketing as well. Reach out online or at 1.800.580.5524 anytime!
Landscape lighting improves YOUR guest experience and property performance. Get started with Georgia Cabins for YOU today!