January can be a tough month for me. I’m forced to accept the holidays are over and life goes on as normal. Nothing makes me realize this more than my neighbors taking down and packing up their outdoor holiday displays.
Whether it is candles in the windows and string lights in the trees or an all out Griswold family Christmas, a lot of homeowners do some type of outdoor lighting for the holidays. It not only looks the home look festive, but also more welcoming for friends and family. Unfortunately, when those lights are taken down, so does the welcoming appearance and the neighborhood goes dark again.
Permanent architectural and landscape lighting is a great way to keep your home lit all year round and making your home look welcoming isn’t the only benefit!
Outdoor lighting adds to the safety and security of your property. When travelled paths are properly lit you know longer have to worry about guests tripping and falling on rouge toys or sticks. And, having lights makes your home look like someone is always there. Intruders are less like to approach and don’t have the normally dark areas to hide in.
So what are the best areas to light around a property? The first is the front of the home. Having the façade lit will make a huge difference in making your home more welcoming for friends and family. For me, the most important space is right around the front door where guests may have to wait a minute for the door to be answered. Take this portico for example, without the lighting the entire space would be dark except from the light inside. By using up lights on the front of the home and some column lighting, it’s the perfect spot to welcome guests.
The second part of the property to pay attention to is walkways. If you have paths that lead up to or around your home, you should have those lit. Path lights are the most common way to do this, but down lights are another options. By placing lights along the eaves of the home, or up in a tree shining down (an affect called moonlighting), your paths can be lit subtly.
If you have any interesting components of your property, like a fountain, statue or unique landscaping, you should consider adding some outdoor lighting. Those aspects of your property should be admired all day and night!
If you have questions on how to make your home more inviting with outdoor lighting, please contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives.
We’ve said it before and I’m sure we will say it again, but at Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we believe that outdoor lighting is all about the effect, not the fixtures. When creating an outdoor lighting design, we look to illuminate all the important aspects of a property without using too many lights. And just a few fixtures (whent they are the right fixtures) can make a world of difference.
Take this example of outdoor lighting in Birmingham for instance. The home’s brick façade is beautifully up-lit , enhancing the color and texture of the bricks. Additionally, the tree in the front yard was illuminated as well. How many lights do you think this takes? 10? 25? 20?
5 LED lights was able to make this home this beautiful at night. The reason it took so few? Marlin Bennetch, of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Birmingham, used the right fixtures for the right effect. LED lights were his choice to reach the top peak of the home and make the brick look warm. A common misconception about LED is that it looks bluish-white, which you can see is not the case here. And the best part? It will cost $7/year for the family to operate.
Path lights are the most over-used fixtures. We’ve all seen the walkways that look like airport runways with rows of lights on either side of them. That is bad outdoor lighting.
This pathway is an example of well design path lighting. As you can see, the entire path is well-lit to ensure safe footing. While you can easily see the path, your eyes do not go to all of the fixtures that are doing the work and that’s because there aren’t that many! At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we only use the path lights. Not only are they solid copper, but they have a wide light spread so not very many are needed.
When looking at an outdoor lighting system, if your eyes go to the fixture before the effect, that’s a sign that something is wrong with the design. If you would like to talk to a trained outdoor lighting designer about enhancing your property at night, please contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office.
At Outdoor Lighting Perspectives, we take great pride in our designs. We do not simply stick some fixtures in the ground and call it a design. We take many components of the home, the property and the clients’ lifestyles in mind. If you want a truly stunning outdoor lighting system, it’s simple: hire a professional outdoor lighting company to do it. Here are a few things that pros make sure they pay attention to:
Indoor lifestyle. When uplighting a home a trained designer always takes into accounts for what goes on inside the home as well as outside. They are sure all lighting does not appear as a spotlight in the bedrooms, dining rooms, living rooms, etc. People should be able to look out the windows without being blinded by light. Nighttime demonstrations can be extremely helpful in the design process so the client can check to be sure the light does not come inside the home. It should graze the homes exterior and go up, not in.
Entranceways. Lighting should not interfere with the homeowner or visitor as they walk to or from the front door. No spotlights! Spotlights shine right into the eyes of person and can impair their visions of steps and walkways. In this case, the lighting isn’t adding to the safety of the space, it’s making it worse!
Other Lighting Fixtures. While coach lights aren’t always part of our outdoor lighting designs, we do need to pay attention to them and other lights on the property and how they can enhance our design. For instance, we may dim the home’s coach lights so all the lighting looks elegant together and doesn’t compete. Balance of light is important in this case.
Spread of light. Homes with architectural lighting should have an even light across the exterior. Professionals outdoor lighting designers will make sure that all parts of the home are considering and there aren’t any dark spots. One issue that professionals can get around is large porch overhangs that may block light to a second floor.
Walkways. Path lighting can be very beautiful if done properly, but typically it is installed incorrectly. When installing high quality path lights that have a large light spread, it is easy to achieve the look with just a few fixtures. It is also a bonus if you can do so with as few as possible so they blend into their surroundings. Unfortunately too many people use too many fixtures and it looks as if you are walking down an airport runway!
Landscaping. Trained designers will typically find ways to highlight low growing flowers/ landscape beds where as someone who isn’t trained may just install lights in a line in the grass.
Water Designers will highlight cascading water features with both underwater lights and moon lighting casting down upon the water.
If you have any questions on outdoor lighting design, please contact your local Outdoor Lighting Perspectives office.
I’m an HGTV nut. I love to watch all of the hints, tips, ideas and updates that the different shows give. One of my favorite shows is Curb Appeal where the team comes in and fixes up the front of the home over a few days. They will paint, build, plant etc. When it is all done, the house does look great, but I can’t help but think what a shame it is that the work can’t be appreciated at night.
Outdoor lighting is one way to increase your property’s curb appeal all year round so that your home and all the work you put into it can be admired. Lighting is especially important this time of year when it is dark so early and homes and pathways are easily seen.
Here are a few examples of great curb appeal lighting.
This outdoor lighting in Denver is a great example of utilizing strategically placed lighting fixtures to highlight the best details of the home. This house is architecturally interesting and it has some great landscaping to match. In the bottom party of the picture you can see the two path lights at the base of the walkway. Not only will they provide sufficient lighting for guests, but they also illuminate the surrounding landscaping beds bringing pops of color to the home. Up lighting was also used to wash the front façade with light to bring out the beautiful stone texture and at the base of the portico columns showing off the beautiful wood beams.
This home has a completely different look and feel from my first example. Its height is something that needed to be lit for added curb appeal. Our up lights were able to light from the stone base of the home up to the top beautifully, making it stand out against the darkness. The house has mostly modern lines that pop with architectural lighting. The home also had some palm trees that were lit to make the space more inviting. A good lighting designer won’t forget about the landscape and its role in curb appeal.
Classic architecture, like this white brick home, can also take advantage of some additional lighting. The way to increase curb appeal is to create an outdoor lighting design that doesn’t miss any parts of the home. For instance, the small walk-through space between the main part of the home and garage could have easily been forgotten in the lighting design, but it would have looked disjointed. The even lighting across the entire spaces make it look warm and beautiful against the dark sky.