For many, driving around various neighborhoods to look at holiday lighting installations is an annual tradition. Some homes become famous for their elaborate displays. Local news stations even devote entire segments to showcasing favorite displays in the community.
Creating a holiday display with “wow factor” requires great ideas and a professional landscape designer that can bring your vision to life.
Below, we offer our best tips for holiday lights decorating.
Step 1: Create a Budget
Hiring a landscape design company to create your holiday outdoor light display costs money, although the results are definitely worth it.
According to Home Advisor, the cost is generally $400 to over $1,500, depending on the size and scope of the job. Buying the lights can cost anywhere from $80 to $300 or more. Then, you must pay for the installation.
Of course, the price you pay will depend on where you live.
Certain things will increase your costs. Putting lights on a high roof will cost about 20% more ($150 – $1,200 extra). Decorating tall trees may also come with an additional charge.
The extra expense is due to the specialized equipment needed to reach these areas.
Landscape design companies generally charge $0.50 to $2.00 per linear foot for the lights. The cost of the lights will depend on the type you choose.
Typical prices of lights:
- Incandescent lights – $4 – $10 per strand
- LED lights – $6 – $25 per strand (LED cost more, but they last longer and are more energy-efficient, so they cost less to run)
- Dome lights – $5 – $15 per strand
- C9 lights – $10 – $30 per strand
TIP: You can rent lights if you don’t want to keep or store them. A rental package can cost $200 – $550 extra.
Step 2: Choosing Lights
Once you have settled on a budget, you will need to consider which types of lights to use. Your landscape design company will have ideas about the best holiday lights for house exteriors.
5 Types of Holiday Lights
1. C7/C9 blubs
These lights are popular for outdoor holiday displays because they are large and bright. The cone-shape will probably be familiar to you.
C9 lights are slightly larger so they can be seen easier from far away. If you want your display to be visible to everyone driving by, this could be a good choice.
Both C7 and C9 lights come with either frosted or clear bulbs.
2. Miniature bulbs
Mini bulbs have been gaining in popularity recently. They require less power to run and are ideal for placing around the perimeter of your home or high up in the trees.
3. LED lights
LED lights are a little more expensive than regular bulbs, but they are more energy-efficient. They also require less wattage to run so they really cut down on your electricity bill.
4. Dome lights
These lights are small and round. They provide a softer light that is spread more evenly and widely. You can find them in a variety of colors. These lights are ideal for brightening large areas.
5. Incandescent lights
These types of lights are the least expensive to buy. However, they consume more energy so you will pay more to run them. They also burn out quicker.
Holiday Lighting Installation Ideas
When discussing your holiday light installation ideas with your landscape designer, keep these areas in mind.
1. The Yard
If you want to create a striking display that grabs attention from passersby, you need to highlight the best features of your lawn.
Perhaps you have a long, stately driveway. Lights along the drive can create a beautiful welcome for guests. If there are a lot of trees or shrubs, you can make them focal points as well.
Create canopies of lights between trees and wrap the tree trunks with blankets of lights to emphasize their shape. Drape lighted nets (a mesh interconnected with mini LED lights) over the bushes and shrubs.
You can also place lights along walkways leading up to the house and along any paths in the yard.
TIP: If you have a fountain, pond or other water feature, make that a showstopper.
2. The House Exterior
The idea with your home’s exterior is to highlight its best architectural features. Perhaps you have a front portico, arches, large picture windows, chimneys or gables. Use holiday lights to outline the shapes of these elements.
Create layers that draw the eyes where you want them to go. You can also use lights to create depth, height, and horizontal features.
You can go as simple or extravagant as you want. A simple string of lights running along the gutter line, the peak of the roof or around the front door can be quite beautiful all on their own.
3. Choosing Colors
There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to choosing colors of lights. You might prefer a classic, all-white lighting theme.
However, there is a growing trend for multi-colored lights. A mixture of white, red and green lights can be quite striking. Perhaps you might also mix things up with unexpected colors such as blue or yellow/gold.
4. Decorative Extras
The extras are where you can really ensure your display stands out. Think beyond just lights. You can create sophisticated or even fun displays, depending on your style.
Here are some ideas:
- Yard attractions such as a manger scene or holiday-themed characters
- Animated lighting features, such as a nativity, Santa’s sleigh or angels
- Projected lighting displays in the trees or even the exterior of your house
- Shimmer spheres hung from tree branches. They come in different shapes and formations, such as snowballs, snowflakes or stars. You can find them in varying sizes and colors.
- Create a tunnel of lights along the driveway or entry
- Add greenery and colorful accents, including big red bows, decorated garland, wreaths, and poinsettias
Above all, be creative. Let your imagination guide you and then determine how your landscape designer can make your vision a reality.
Find Inspiration in These Holiday Light Display Ideas
The holidays are upon us so now is the time to make your plans for a holiday lighting installation. Contact us if you need a professional landscape designer to bring your holiday decorating ideas to life.
We also provide holiday lights installation for commercial buildings and properties, as well as more in-depth construction projects for any season.