Bright Ideas for Adding Light to Your Landscape
Deciding to add outdoor lighting around your home and yard is both a practical and aesthetic consideration. Lighting up your home’s exterior at night makes your front porch, patio or deck, steps, and walkways safer. The added light is an excellent deterrent to would-be prowlers and increases your home’s security. Outdoor lighting can also enhance your home’s curb appeal and the overall value of your home.
These are all great benefits to installing outdoor lighting, but as landscape designers, we have to say we are partial to the way a home and landscape come to life at night with the right lighting. Fortunately, with modern outdoor lighting options–smart lighting systems, LED, solar, and more–you don’t have to choose between safety or beauty–you can have both!
Here are some of our favorite ways to light up your landscape and your home.
Simply put, downlights are lights pointed downward to illuminate a particular area on the ground or side of a wall or building. We often install downlights in flowerbeds, along walkways, and in the darker corners of a yard. An added benefit to downlights is that they keep light pollution to a minimum.
Underlights in Hardscapes
Adding lights to the hardscapes in your yard adds visual interest and can have a dramatic effect. Underlights integrated into rock walls, steps, and patios, or under ledges and benches, provide stylish low-profile illumination that highlights the features of your hardscapes and brightens otherwise dark areas.
From grilling stations and outdoor kitchens to sports courts and backyard gyms, ample light is a prerequisite–you’ve got to be able to see what you’re doing! But lighting up these areas for the tasks at hand doesn’t mean you have to install spotlights or floodlights. Rather, think of these areas as outdoor rooms, each with its own specific lighting needs.
For some activities, like outdoor dining, for example, soft ambient lighting is desirable, whereas your grilling station could probably do with a good overhead light. The key is integrating task lighting into your overall design–it may serve a functional purpose, but task lighting can still be an attractive feature complementing your landscape’s overall aesthetic.
Strand lighting, aka bistro lighting, is very popular in urban landscapes these days, often strung in gardens, above outdoor spaces, along fences, or under covered patios, gazebos, and pergolas. And it’s no wonder this style has caught on. Strand lights are easy to install, come in a wide variety of styles and designs, and offer ambient lighting with a bit of whimsy reminiscent of outdoor cafes or garden parties of yester-year.
As the name implies, uplights are lighting fixtures that are pointed upwards and are usually placed at ground or slightly above ground level. Also referred to as spotlighting, these are often used to highlight certain features of a home’s exterior or special features in the landscape like statuary and garden art, or even ornamental trees and shrubs. Spotlights come in a range of intensity, and both selection and placement are important considerations. While you may want to light up a special feature or expanse of wall, you probably don’t want light shining into bedroom windows.
Water Feature Lighting
Accent lighting within and around water features like waterfalls, ponds, fountains, or even bubblers, can be especially beautiful at night. Lighting from underneath the water’s surface adds a soft glow and can be used to further highlight the features of a fountain or a waterfall as it cascades into a pool.
Of course, unless you are a trained electrician, we recommend you hire a qualified professional for your landscape and outdoor lighting projects and especially for projects that involve water and electricity.
When it comes to lighting up your landscape, hardscapes, walkways, and special features, the range of styles and types is wide. Whether you want smart and remote or phone app-controlled lights, LED, solar, motion-sensor–the list goes on–there are countless design styles in each category to match your personal aesthetic. Working with an experienced landscape designer like Landscape East & West, which specializes in outdoor lighting, can help you bring it all together in a cohesive and beautiful fashion. Contact us today to get started!