How to Get Your Lighting Project Approved by Your HOA


by Lani Furbank

Installing outdoor lighting is a little different than your average DIY home improvement project. Before your new system can be installed, you likely need to get your design approved by your homeowners association, if you have one. As we explained last summer, this is a bit of a confusing process if you live in Reston Virginia, because the regulations are pretty specific.

However, in most other neighborhoods, the process is pretty straightforward. We’ve installed landscape and architectural lighting in almost every single neighborhood in Northern Virginia, so we know the ins and outs of the HOA approval process, and we want to help yours go smoothly.

It’s important to remember that every HOA is different, so each neighborhood will have unique rules and regulations regarding home exterior and lighting. For most, there are not many restrictions on lighting. The biggest concern is that your fixtures may be too powerful and therefore cause light pollution and glare that is unpleasant for your neighbors. As long as you avoid that, you should have no trouble getting your project approved – provided your application is clear and complete.

Take our advice and follow these three simple steps so you can get your lighting project underway.

How to get your outdoor lighting project approved by your HOA

1. Provide details about your fixture choice

Your HOA will want to know about the size, appearance, and light output of the fixtures you plan to install. They need to screen your selections to make sure the fixture won’t be an eyesore and the light won’t emit a glare. Ask your lighting company for a fixture spec sheet so you can provide your HOA with all the information they need.

At Enlightened Lighting, we have a streamlined product catalog that we give to our customers. We also ensure that our fixtures disappear into the landscape during the day, so we never raise any red flags with HOAs when it comes to fixture choice.

2. Clearly illustrate the design

The next step is getting your design approved. The document you turn in should be a precise outline of the lighting layout as it corresponds to your property’s plat. Your contractor should be able to create an official blueprint or CAD drawing that indicates the position of the lights.

3. Have a conversation with your lighting company

Finally, inform your lighting company about your meeting with your HOA. Some associations will want to talk to the contractor to get a comprehensive overview of the project. Be sure that your contractor is prepared to meet with your HOA if necessary.

This shouldn’t be inconvenient for your contractor. We see these meetings as more of an opportunity than a nuisance – when we show our high-quality work to an HOA, we often end up getting more referrals or the opportunity to upgrade the community entrance lighting.

If you follow these simple recommendations, you should have smooth sailing as you seek approval for your outdoor lighting project from your HOA. Contact Enlightened Lighting if you have questions about lighting regulations or if you’d like to begin the process of installing a lighting system in your backyard.

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