In a suburban community, outdoor lighting is an important part of any good overall security plan. A well-planned lighting scheme may deter intruders and also prevent falls and accidents by tenants and visitors. Outdoor lighting can also beautify and greatly enhance the community's landscape.
When designing a new outdoor lighting plan, whether for new construction or to replace existing out-of-date or worn-out lighting systems, there should be three basic considerations: aesthetics, security, and price. The actual lighting system design will also be influenced by several additional factors, including the homeowner association's architectural design, the surrounding landscape and topography, and the actual needs and function of the lighting.
"Lighting is probably geared more toward safety than anything else," says James Rademacher, chief executive officer of Rezkom Enterprises in Ocean Township. "However, lighting can also accent trees, light a walkway or a path, or accent things like flags."
According to a recent study by the Associated Landscape Contractors of America (ALCA) on the values of landscaping and lighting, not only do homes with attractive landscaping sell four to five percentage points higher than those without, but homes with lackluster landscaping in neighborhoods where attractive landscaping is the norm can sell for eight to 10 percent less than their neighbors. Outdoor lighting plays a big role in the overall impact of a community's landscaping scheme, and contributes to the bottom line when it comes time to buy and sell.
When it comes to choosing the lighting fixtures to accent your HOA's landscaping, "aesthetics matter," says Rademacher definitively. "The lights by the front doors should be more decorative, but you can get more commercial-looking with spotlights." Rademacher also says it's also important for architectural or groundskeeping committees to consider choosing fixtures that match the community's overall architectural design.