The best friend on earth of man is the tree: when we use the tree respectfully and economically we have one of the greatest resources of the earth.
Extend the Season with Landscape Lighting
As September approaches, you may have noticed the days are already shorter. If you’re not quite ready for that, why not extend your outdoor living season with strategically placed landscape lighting? Let’s look at five illuminating trends:
Environmentally Friendly Lighting
Many homeowners seek out lighting that supports their eco-friendly lifestyles. LED (light emitting diodes) lighting certainly fits the bill. In addition to being energy efficient, LED lights have incredibly long lives–about 10 years or more.
For property owners who want to take advantage of natural resources, solar-powered lights (particularly, solar LEDs) are becoming increasingly popular. Not only do they use renewable energy, they’re friendly on the pocketbook as well.
Another benefit of outdoor solar patio lights is that they don’t require complex wiring and tricky installation. However, they don’t produce very bright light, so they’re best used as markers and accent lighting.
Twinkle, Twinkle Little Light
Groupings of small lights, hidden in plantings and along walkways are very attractive and popular right now. They can add depth and whimsy, or provide an understated accent to landscape features.
This trend is all about hanging string lights, and then hiding them away. Within trees and shrubs they do indeed twinkle with each passing breeze.
The same effect can be created on a larger scale with patio string lights. When hung along tree branches, they should be allowed to drape down slightly among the leaves.
Be sure to use LED bulbs instead of glass to keep them from breaking if they hit a branch.
Another outdoor lighting trend that has recently gained popularity is wall grazing. This technique is used to highlight stone or brick walls, tree trunks, climbing vines, or other textured surfaces. LED flood lights are positioned about a foot away from the highlighted object and the lights are angled to shine just over the surface.
This angle draws the eye to the wall or other object’s texture by creating shadows. Shadows can be intensified or softened by moving the lights closer to or further from the object, which changes the angle.
In addition to walls, stone pillars and columns can also be grazed to create a more stately effect. Grazing also works well with statues and carvings, adding character, depth and drama.
Homeowners want to see the effect of the lighting, not the source. The fixture should be inconspicuous, so all you see is a beautifully lit landscape. Property owners are not too concerned with the color or finish of their outdoor lighting fixtures. Rather, they want them hidden within the landscape.
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For instance, ground lights are virtually hidden underground, except for the shield that directs the beam. They’re placed along the perimeter of a walkway, flush with the hardscape and almost invisible. And yet, they spread just the right amount of light across the surface of the path.
Homeowners no longer need to rely on outdated and unpredictable analog timers to illuminate their landscapes on a schedule. Astronomical timers use location data (like a zip code or GPS coordinates) to determine the precise hours of daylight and darkness for the specific location. The timer uses a pre-programmed database of times for sunrise and sunset to tell the lighting system when to turn on and off. And it can automatically adjust for Daylight Savings Time.
In addition, astronomical timers are customizable. For instance, you can program them for more illumination time on weekends or a specific night of the week. Another advantage of these timers: They typically have a battery backup to help save settings in the event of a power outage.
As smart home amenities go, an astronomical timer for your landscape lighting is an easy no-brainer.
Leave It to the Pros
When working with outdoor features, it’s always best to consult the professionals. Contact the outdoor lighting experts at TLC, to bring out the moods, shadows and magic of your outdoor living area. We bring your landscape to life after the sun goes down.