Light Up Your Outdoors: "Nightscaping"

"Nightscaping" outdoor spaces, becomes a great addition to your home.  While it's often an afterthought, it's actually one of the most important aspects of your landscape.  Nightscaping helps make your outdoor living space:

  • More comfortable, safe and inviting when its dark out.
  • Increases the time available to enjoy your yard.
  • Illuminate paths, steps, architectural features, and landscape elements, such as fountains and statuary.

When designing your 'Nightscape', it's important to remember that the shadows are just as important as the lights.  The purpose of Nightscaping is not just to make a dimmer version of your daytime landscape.  You have opportunity to create a completely different vista both physically – as in the case of illuminating a seating area for use, but also visually – by adding depth to your view after dark from inside or outside your home.

There are many lighting options which have different effects that allow you to utilize or highlight important areas in your yard.  Here are some ideas to consider with outdoor lighting: 

Paths, Sidewalks, Steps or Driveways – Lights help you get safely from one place to another; mix up the fixtures along these areas. You can use down-lights from surrounding trees, a few lights along a pathway, and also up-lights to help light up your steps. The idea is to light an interesting area or feature close to the walk or drive and allow the light to spill over to light your way – avoiding the runway look.

Entry Ways – The walkways to your home.  They should be lit with right amount of light to create a warm, inviting welcome and allow you and your guests to see where you are going.  Make sure lights won't shine in eyes either coming in or going out the door.

Trees & Shrubs – Up-lighting creates bold shadows or silhouettes in the landscape that can make a dramatic, yet elegant effect.  Down-lighting mimics the effect of moonlight forming soft, diffused shadows in your yard.

Decks, Patios, Gazebos – Lighting these features creates an inviting ambiance allowing more time that can be spent outside enjoying life after the sun goes down.

Water Features – Lights in ponds or on fountains highlight the rippling water and make your water feature a focal point, even from indoors.  During the day you are drawn to the sound and appearance, while at night the lights will enhance the presence of your water feature.

Architectural Features – Lighting pillars, stone and veneer make shadows and cast light into your landscape.  Using lights in this way makes your home more interesting and inviting.

With shorter days coming soon in the Fall, now is an excellent time to plan your outdoor lighting project.  You will need to make a few decisions before you get started. Anyone can install the plastic lighting from the big box stores and have inexpensive lights the same day. You shouldn't expect those lights to last more than a season or two at most.

Professional fixtures and transformers are guaranteed for many years, but they do cost more.  You will also need to decide between halogen lights and LED lights.  Halogens have been used for many years to create a golden glow with a warm and cozy light effect.  However, they need larger amounts of energy, have a limited life and should be installed by someone who understands voltage drop.  The bulbs can be costly to replace.  LED fixtures and lights cost more than halogen, but most professional grade manufacturers guarantee them for up to ten years.  LED lights have a long life, are very energy-efficient and durable.  If you consider the time and money involved in purchasing and changing the halogen bulbs, LEDs might be more cost-effective in the long run.

Our long, hot summer will be behind us and we'll want more time outside enjoying our wonderful fall weather... Lighting up your outside world is a great way to improve your home and now is the time to do it!  Living Expression Landscapes can help make it a reality, either full design and installation or consultation on a DIY job – just give us a call at 281-681-8715