- Erin Hudgins
Create a Welcoming Outdoor Space with Lighting
Summertime is all about enjoying the great outdoors with friends and family, and one of our favorite ways to upgrade our outdoor spaces is with well-planned lighting. Whether you want to highlight your lush summer garden or create an entertaining-friendly space on your deck, exterior lights go a long way to transform the look and feel of our home's exterior.
Two primary functions of outdoor lighting are to improve the aesthetics of your home, and to add security. You will want different types of lighting for these purposes but they can live harmoniously to create a space that is both welcoming and safe.
Improving Aesthetics Through Outdoor Lighting
The possibilities are endless when using outdoor lighting to beautify your space. Lights can be slotted in essentially anywhere in outdoor design and they come in a multitude of shapes and sizes to add warmth and character.
Use accent lighting to highlight the spaces you love most. Accent lights like pendant lights, lamps, and certain types of uplighting are great for keeping the most gorgeous aspects of your landscape visible and striking in the evening hours. Outdoor landscape lighting can be used to highlight architectural features, like a wall, by washing it or grazing it. When a wide beam of light is aimed at a wall from a few feet away, it creates a wall wash, generating interesting highlights and shadows. Both will provide a little accent to nearby plants.
Path and driveway lighting make your home feel more welcoming.
Adding lighting along the highly-trafficked routes to your front door is a simple and effective way to create charming curb appeal and improve safety. A well-lit path provides illumination that extends hospitality to visitors and makes walking more secure. High illumination isn't necessary, and in most cases a low-voltage lighting system is effective. On steps, either the risers or treads can be lit, and downlights along a pathway prevent glare. Individually lit pavers can also be used in walkways as an alternative to traditional landscape fixtures.
Uplighting is awesome for trees and hardscapes. This type of fixture adds drama to natural or built outdoor elements that have unique textures, such as stone
retaining walls, trees, and even the exterior walls of your home. Uplighting adds both nighttime visibility and looks stunning when done properly.
Plan pool and patio lighting for hosting the best parties on the block.
Summer is a great time to entertain friends and neighbors or spend weeknight evenings relaxing on your deck. Improve safety for your guests and offer an appealing view with carefully planned patio lighting that makes your outdoor investments shine! There's no limit to what you can create: exterior lights can be inserted into walls, deck railings or pavers to create a sense of flow. String lights create a playful ambiance, and task lighting (around the grill, for instance) makes entertaining easier and lets you take full advantage of long summer nights.
What type of outdoor fixtures can I install?
A range of fixtures is available for nearly every spot, including wall fixtures, sconces, portable lamps, chandeliers, and ceiling fans. Make sure that any fixture used outdoors is rated for "UL wet location" use.
Eliminate light pollution. Aim your lights carefully (do this at night for best results) and concentrate light where you want it by using fixtures that have reflectors or shielding. Control your lights with separately-zoned timers, controls, dimmers, or motion sensors that will turn on lights only when needed or enable them to be turned down when necessary. Minimizing the wattage eliminates common problems like lights shining into bedroom windows or glare that temporarily blinds your guests. Not only do higher-wattage systems cost more over time, but they also create harsher light without improving aesthetics or safety. A 12- or 24-volt system will almost always be sufficient.
Boosting Security Through Exterior Lighting
Building a beautiful landscape lighting system is always worthwhile, but utilizing lights for security also offers many benefits. If done properly, security lighting can even add aesthetic value to your home.
Motion lighting is an excellent deterrent to vandalism and break-ins. Motion lights installed near entryways and windows are the best way to secure your home against intruders and give you needed peace of mind. They are also helpful when you are approaching your home with your hands full and no way to flip a switch. These lights can be customized to your unique needs with a variety of settings, including motion sensitivity, distance and how long the light remains on after detecting motion.
Flood lighting boosts your outdoor safety. Flood lights near buildings or areas you frequently visit in the evening reduce tripping hazards and help you or your guests navigate safely. Path lighting can also be doubly beneficial, by offering both beautiful design and sure-footed safety.
If you'd like a professionally-installed landscape system or just have questions about exterior lighting, give us a call at (540) 552-5397.