In recent years, our landscape designers have noticed an increase in both the overall frequency and all-around creativity of our outdoor lighting projects. As the technology has come down in price and become easier to implement, there has been a definitive shift away from purely functional lighting such as stark floodlights for safety and security towards creating a warmer ambience with nods towards the dramatic. After all, if you only consider what your landscaping project will look like during sunny summer backyard barbecues, you’re missing out on the more intimate evening gatherings.
Here are four simple, creative and affordable ways to implement outdoor lighting solutions into your landscaping project.
1. Use outdoor lighting to illuminate natural features for dramatic effect.
Previously, outdoor lighting was judged based on its functionality in two key areas: safety and security. These, of course, are still important functions, but today they no longer occur at the expense of ambience. Floodlights triggered by motion sensors have their time and place, but it’s not while you’re entertaining – unless you’re trying to catch someone going back for seconds before everyone else has gotten their firsts.
Modern lighting solutions are often low-voltage accent lights that can be deployed seamlessly. For example, we can put lights underneath caps on a wall, so if you have a seating wall at the end of your patio, the light will cascade down the edge of that wall and show off the natural rock face.
2. Put outdoor lighting on, in and around the trees.
During the initial design consultations, you may have included trees to provide natural shade during the hot summer days only to discover that at night it’s just, well, dark. Before you do something drastic like cut the limbs back or have the trees removed completely, consider turning them into a creative source of light.
With the help of our tree crews, we are able to install lights inside the canopy of the trees that surround and cover your patio. If it’s the right tree with the right leaves in the right setting, strategically placed lights will be very effective in terms of ambience and functionality. Additionally, we can place lights around the base of trees to highlight their unique and striking natural architectures.
3. Help your guests find their way with outdoor lighting.
Another trend in landscaping is the use of natural stone for walkways and seating areas. By day, these are sure to get compliments from your guests, but by night you might find yourself advising guests to watch their steps as they move from the outdoor kitchen to the seating wall. Once again, lights can be implemented in a way that is functional without sacrificing ambience.
We can put simple path lights that shine downward onto the edge of the walkway or patio taking care to make sure that they’re not shining in your guests’ faces so they can step with confidence. You might even discover that you get more compliments about your natural stone sidewalk at night than you do during the day because the lights will bring out the texture and drama of the material.
4. Blend artificial elements into the natural experience with outdoor lighting.
Proper lighting in a landscaping project can turn a backyard into a grove that is completely removed from the troubles and bothers of the day. Sometimes the effect can be so complete that the house or other structures on the property can seem intrusive and detract from the overall experience. Here, again, outdoor lighting can help.
We have a lot of success by simply uplighting the side of the house. If you have windows or a large brick section going straight up, it might look a little stark at first. This can be solved by adding a plant or other object to break up the vision space. When done correctly, the artificial wall can be blended seamlessly into the outdoor space.
Here are some additional quick tips to keep in mind when you are designing your outdoor space:
- Every day has a night. If you only design for daylight, you risk cutting your overall enjoyment in half.
- Landscape design is a lot like theater design. High drama and total serenity can both be achieved through proper lighting.
- Functionality and ambience are no longer mutually exclusive. Modern lighting solutions can achieve the desired safety levels without sacrificing overall atmosphere.
- Natural is beautiful. Natural stone and trees can both be enhanced using proper lighting. Likewise, artificial elements can be softened and blended.
- Lights can be added to existing landscapes. Sometimes people discover that they spend more time outside at night than they had originally planned, and that’s okay.
Contact us today to discuss how outdoor lighting can create a space that is so perfect that you won’t want to go back inside.