What is landscape lighting? It may include spotlights, path lights, area lights, patio lights, or more. Frequently they are low voltage systems (often called 12 volt or 12V lighting systems), although occasionally line voltage (referred to as 110 volt or 120V). Lighting fixtures may be built to recede into the landscape, or they may be ornamental and prominently displayed.
There are many reasons homeowners choose to add lighting to their home or patio. We’ll explain 7 reasons that you may wish to consider when planning your next home improvement project.
EXTEND YOUR EVENING WITH DECK & PATIO LIGHTING
By far the most common request we receive is to add lights to a patio project; in fact, we design all our patios to include some kind of lighting. It has been around 8 years since we last installed a paver patio with no lighting!The most common type of lighting is undercap lighting; this light fixture is glued into the wall or pillars under the cap block. We use Integral Lighting exclusively for this; they have developed an LED fixture that is very warm white at 2400 Kelvin. Kelvin, by the way, is a way of measuring color “temperature”. We prefer to use fixtures with 2200-2700 Kelvin ratings as they give a warm glow. 3000K will look very white, and even cooler ratings will tend to look blue.
Another common patio lighting technique is to add pier lanterns on pillars. One of our favorite brands is Escort Lighting; built of solid copper and manufactured near our office, this company is dedicated to high-quality spring landscapes with lighting fixtures. They are located in Wernersville, located in the same building as sister company Integral Lighting.
ADD SAFETY WITH PATH LIGHTING
Many times a patio or outdoor living area is connected to the driveway for easy access for arriving guests. Path lights provide a safe, welcoming entrance and serve equally well on the walkway leading to your front door.
Deter criminal activity. In general, any kind of lighting will help deter intruders simply because they can be spotted more easily. A well lit home invites the right kind of company, and deters the unwanted guests!
HIGHLIGHT ARCHITECTURAL DETAILS
This can include a wide variety of features. Stone veneer, columns, reverse gables, and pergolas are all examples of features that can be highlighted with landscape lighting. Well lights (which are recessed into the ground) or spotlights (which are typically mounted on a stake) are most commonly used. At this project, we used a spotlight to light the reverse gable, and well lights to highlight the corners of the home.
HIGHLIGHT UNIQUE OR SPECIMEN PLANTS
A tree or shrub that is beautiful during the day is stunning at night with spotlight, well light, or even a downlight. Shrubs with colorful foliage work well, as well as those with interesting branching structures. Japanese maples have both, and are popular for uplighting. Trees with interesting trunks or bark also work well.
Landscape lighting can be very energy efficient. No one enjoys a high electric bill, and LED landscape lighting is the answer to an energy efficient system! Early LED lighting had extremely high price tags, ugly blue or green color – or both! But today’s LED lighting can be placed side by side with an incandescent bulb… and you won’t be able to distinguish the difference. Today, we do not install any low voltage lights that aren’t equipped with LEDs.
ADD ARCHITECTURAL DETAIL WITH THE LIGHT FIXTURES
It’s best to design lighting so that the source of light isn’t obvious, especially when working with spotlights or well lights. But when it’s a path light or pier mount light, then game on! Try to use fixtures that harmonize well with your home, both in the style and the color.Light fixtures are readily available in a range of colors. Focus Industries is our favorite brand for path or area lights as well as spot & well lights. Standard construction is powder coated aluminum, which is available in a variety of colors. Some are also available in bronze or copper.
Escort Lighting has developed a wonderful line of landscape lighting; while their pillar lights work well in a formal or country style home, they have some truly unique light fixtures that show a lot of artiures that show a lot of artistic craftsmanship!