A little planning makes for a beautiful and enchanting display
While some homeowners may have been planning it for months, director of GlencoElectrical,
says it’s definitely not too late to put together your own Christmas light display. But there are a few things to consider first. “There is the cost and then what your kids want and how far you want to go with that — and then there’s the pressure of what everyone else in the street is doing,” he says.
Although there are retailers that specialise in Christmas lights, Brad says stores such as Bunnings stock a large and affordable range of lights suitable for outdoor use.
“Bunnings do some really good options and you can get them pretty cheaply and installing them is not hard,” he says.
For good value and maximum impact, Brad says you can’t go past fairy lights — lots of fairy lights.
“I love the fairy lights on trees up and down every single branch,” he says. “It’s fiddly to do but it looks amazing.”
Safe pair of hands
Although it is well within the reach of the DIYer, there are a few safety issues to consider says Brad, whose business is listed with the online home improvement service, hipages.
“We’ve all seen the Griswolds (National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation film) where the lights explode — nobody wants that,” Brad says.
“If you are installing those coloured globes, they can get really hot. You want to be very careful because it can cause (electricity) overload issues.”
If you have dozens of globes on for several hours a night, Brad says it can be the equivalent of running your kettle continuously. As temperatures rise and we start running airconditioners overnight, Brad says it can really add to your load — and your electricity bill.
Be careful too where you position your powerpoints to plug in your lights.
“If you are running an extension lead and leave it connected outside where it has exposure to water, you could have a problem,” he says.
If in doubt, Brad says it’s a good idea to get some professional advice.
“Don’t play with electricity — it can kill you.”
For a completely risk-free option, Brad suggests going with freestanding solar lights that don’t need to be plugged into anything, although they do have their limitations.
“If you said five years ago to buy solar, I would have said don’t waste your time,” Brad says. “They would charge during the day and then you’d get five minutes of power.
“The technology is a lot better now but it still doesn’t have the punch of standard power.”
Before racing off to the nearest hardware store, take some time to plan your display, taking into account the style of your house, your lawn space and the focal points in your garden.
You may want a combination of fairy lights, spotlights and light statues.
While the technology surrounding LED lights continues to develop, prices continue to drop but there’s still a lot of variation in the quality of lighting on offer.
If you’re using existing lights, check they work before taking the trouble to string them up.
Make sure you have a good ladder on hand, and preferably someone to give you a hand.
If this is your first Christmas display, start small. You can always add to it next year.
While you’re choosing lights, pick up a timer as well so they will switch off automatically.
It’s Christmas. Don’t forget to have fun.