Peak outdoor time is here! You can enjoy outdoor living well past daylight hours with well-designed lighting that provides increased visibility and security and heightens the ambiance of your home. Light up the night with beautiful and functional outdoor fixtures that will make your home and yard stand out from the rest.
Here are some handy lighting tips for illuminating the season and defining your outdoor spaces.
Complement the Home’s Design Style
Credit: Stephen Alexander Homes – Santee Collection
Keep the look cohesive by considering your home’s overall design elements and historic period by selecting fixtures that complement the style and feel of the building’s exterior and interior design. First, consider the material in use: for example, a stone façade may look better with traditional style fixtures, and a modern farmhouse style pairs well with transitional lighting. Next, think about existing metal finishes on doors and windows such as black iron, copper, stainless steel or antique bronze. Each has a very different color temperature and design feel; make sure to coordinate the lighting finishes with them.
Lighting for Safety, Security and Beauty
Walkways are key areas to light so that guests can navigate safely within an entertaining space. A series of ground-mounted path lights show the way while also complementing the architectural elements of your home. Stagger path lights about 6 to 8 feet apart to offer just enough light to see while walking and avoid the “runway effect” that can occur when the lights are evenly distributed along the path.
Stairs also require illumination. Install step lights in stairs to provide safety and create a visually beautiful element to the landscape design. Place them in the vertical part of the step (the riser), under the tread, or in the tread itself.
Highlight Beautiful Grounds and Statuary
Beautiful landscape design reflects personal style and emphasizes the things you love most. So if you’re fond of the front flower garden or have an impressive water feature in the backyard, show it off! Create dramatic focal points by cross-lighting statuary, fountains, and architectural elements with two beams of light. In garden beds, place fixtures no closer than 20 feet apart to create pools of light that draw the eye from one area to the next. To highlight shadows and create interesting textures, position lights close to the base of garden walls. When uplighting, keep this general rule in mind: use warm light on artificial objects and cool light on plants.
A great way to bring height to your outdoor design is to use trees for downlighting, also known as moonlighting. This technique adds a bit of whimsy, sending a subtle glow from the treetops. Use downlighting to highlight a focal point in an entertaining area and be prepared to receive countless compliments about the beautiful tree branch patterns.
Always Choose Outdoor Rated Lighting
Always select outdoor lighting rated for damp locations (for semi-protected areas) or wet rated for places where the lighting receives direct exposure to the elements. Use weatherproof or outdoor-rated electrical boxes, which safely hold the electrical wire connections and prevent water from contacting the wires.
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