Use Lighting to Enhance Your Fall Landscaping

If you’re like many homeowners, chances are you shoot for a little splash of color around your home during every season. Spring brings us colorful dainty buds and blossoms. During the summer months, we’re greeted with flowers that are as bold as they are beautiful.

Once the days grow shorter and cooler and the summer draws to a close, flowers begin dying off and fall slowly creeps in. Your yard will change, and the lighting choices you make for your space should shift in tandem.

Adjusting Landscaping Lighting for Fall

Planting fall blooming flowers is an excellent way to add a splash of fall color to your property. However, they’re typically not as bright and eye-catching as some spring and summer flowers even though they add a shade of sophistication to your outdoor space. The best way to accentuate these blooms is to swap the regular blubs in your existing ground-mounted spotlight lamps for a slightly higher wattage. Not too high, though – you don’t want to irritate your neighbors.

Trees are a fantastic fall spectacle for your yard as well, which means highlighting the breathtaking changes in the colors of the falling leaves should be high on your list of to-dos for fall. Take the same action you did with your fall flowers: replace the bulbs in your spotlights for a set with a slightly higher wattage to show off those beautiful autumn colors falling from the branches of your trees.

Outdoor Party Lighting for Fall

Autumn parties are a staple of any family’s fall agenda, so outdoor lighting for fall fiestas is another great way to dress up your space for the season. For example, you can use lanterns to line outdoor walkways along with seating areas. This will give your landscaping a rustic appeal that will add an injection of charm into your fall get-togethers.

Another outdoor party lighting option for the fall is glow jars. You can find these unique lighting instruments at craft stores, but it’s fun and easy to make your own for parties. An added bonus is that you’ll save money when you DIY. Simply snag some mason jars and give each one a coat of sheer white glossy paint. When lit, the jars will emit a soft white glow that will rival high-dollar party accessories from even the most ritzy of home décor catalogs.

You can also highlight the fall colors of your yard by installing string lights around the perimeter of your landscaping prior to your big “shindig.” Opt for soft yellow or white bulbs, and make sure the lighting is not too harsh. A good rule of thumb: the smaller the bulb, the softer the light. String up a few lengths of lights and wait until nightfall to get a feel for whether you need more or fewer lights to achieve the atmosphere you desire.

Fall lighting for your landscape requires nothing more than a few minor tweaks to your existing outdoor lighting system. For fall parties, a little imagination and innovation goes a long way – and helps your wallet out in the process.

Garden Lighting Design Basics

The garden, whether large or small, has become a prominent staple of landscaping design. And lighting is often a standard addition because it adds special effects and an ambiance that is impossible without it.

Garden lighting will add beauty and elegance to your plants, flowers and greenery. And if the design is executed correctly, you will add brilliance, color and creativity to your outside landscape.

If you hire a professional to install and design your garden lighting, make sure to have an idea of what you want before you start the work. The garden lighting designer will have many colors, sizes and shapes of lights from which to choose so it’s important to do some preliminary research.

An expert planner will always try to fit the geographical area as well as your personality before deciding what to include in the design. With hundreds of different companies that manufacture and offer beautiful, contemporary as well as traditional styled lighting, it is imperative that discussion and choices are made before any lighting fixture is ordered.

There are 10 top categories of lighting techniques that are used by most garden lighting designers:

  1. Accent Lighting – This is used to cast small spots of warm lighting which in turn creates a very soothing experience.
  2. Flood lighting – The polar opposite of accent lighting, these are broad, bright light beams that instill drama to a garden.
  3. Spot lighting – Though not as widely used, spot lights can highlight specific elements of the garden you want to emphasize.
  4. Cross Lighting – Similar to spotlighting in its effect, this dramatic lighting is also used to emphasize special shrubbery or trees.
  5. Silhouetting – Used to highlight various types of doorways, arches, even outline trees; it can be more subtle than other forms of lighting.
  6. Shadowing – This type of lighting is used when there are dramatic plants to showcase along a back wall where shadows are desirable.
  7. Spread Lighting – If you want large areas lit, this type of lighting is used in a design to bring a bright effect to shrubbery and even lawns.
  8. Up Lighting – One of the most popular techniques and used in all kinds of areas and both large and small gardens, it is used to cast an “up” type of lighting in front of trees, sculptures, decorative walls, parts of fencing or any other element you want to emphasize.
  9. Moonlighting – The opposite of up lighting, moonlighting is used to create a mood that will make it appear as if your plants are in the reflection of a full moon.
  10. Underwater Lighting – This lighting can be used in anything that is water based such as pools, pond lighting, etc.

Obviously, when on a budget, it is very important that the garden lighting designer make the most out of each light that is chosen and installed. Lastly, the fixtures should be hidden out of view so that the emphasis of sight is on the lighting itself and not on where the light is coming from. The lighting planner should always assure the homeowner that none of the lights will be positioned where they will come in direct eye contact with people. Safety is a top priority in any lighting design.

Whether you use a professional or tackle the project yourself, garden lighting is a landscape design essential and one that will be enjoyed by you and your guests for many years to come.

 

Are you Taking Advantage of Low Voltage Landscape Lighting?

Every homeowner takes pride in their home and its appearance on the inside and out.  And curb appeal does not have to be limited to just the daytime hours. In fact, more and more people are becoming aware that as the sun sets, their home can actually radiate curb appeal and look even better than in the light.

As landscape and garden lighting is becoming very popular, homeowners realize that the trees that were purchased, the pond that was dug and even the walls and fence surrounding their home can be highlighted and emphasized to create many different effects. And even though this is a worthwhile investment that will increase the value and curb appeal of their home, all of that electricity can prove to be very hazardous.

Electricity which runs from the outside lighting into your home can hold 120 volts, an amount of electricity that can pose a rather grave risk to you, your family, your visitors and your pets. The various inclement weather conditions, regardless of where you live in the world, also greatly increases the danger your outside lighting poses. Although many don’t give it a second thought, if you are considering landscape or garden lighting, consider reducing the amount of voltage to a very safe 12 volts.

Low voltage landscape lighting offers more than just safety benefits. Lamps that are low voltage are more efficient, giving off more light per watt of electricity that is used. Also, the 12-volt lamp units last longer and there is less maintenance needed with this system. Lastly, installation is much easier because of the flexibility of wiring.

Some other benefits of low voltage lighting include:

  • Low cost operating expense compared to 120-volt lamps
  • Many more choices available
  • Safe and reliable
  • 12-volt lamps are more compact and keep the focus on what you are lighting rather than on the lighting fixture itself.
  • Better quality of light with natural effects
  • More options available in 12-volt lighting like quartz halogen
  • Capable of more specialized lighting effects with exact beam control

Low voltage lighting holds many benefits but with one small downside: The lighting fixtures are somewhat dimmer as you get further away from the transformer. But even with this problem there are easy solutions. Using a heavier-gauge cable as well as a higher-rated transformer can take care of the problem nicely and with minimal expense. And if there is a much larger area to consider, multiple transformers can be used or you can allow the dimming effect to be incorporated in your overall design.

Remember, it is also very important that you light essential areas for greater safety at night. Paths, gate areas, ponds, pools and statues should be lit in a way to avoid accidents for your visitors, small children and pets. Overall, landscape lighting can be fun and creative as well as safe and efficient.

If safety, less electricity usage and more lighting options sounds like good news to you, it may be time to consider low voltage landscape lighting. Incorporating low voltage within your design and budget will give you many years of safe enjoyment.