Summer is in full swing, but there’s still time to plan a relaxing staycation or backyard soiree while the evenings are warm and clear. To make the most of your family and friends time, look around your outdoor space to see if the existing lighting works properly and enhances the ambiance.
A few updates to your outside lighting can make your alfresco time more enjoyable. And the best part? It doesn’t have to be time consuming or costly to transform your existing patio, deck or pool area into a lovely retreat.
“Creating a beautiful landscape doesn’t have to be expensive,” says Rick Wiedemer of Hinkley Lighting. “A few well-placed, low-voltage path or accent lights can make a huge impact on a well-manicured landscape.” No lawn is too small. “Even modest homes or those with limited yards or gardens can benefit,” he says.
A few outdoor lighting tips:
• Layer outdoor lighting. Just like indoor lighting, outdoor lighting is most effective if it utilizes overhead, task and ambient light sources. Because there are not typically boundaries and borders, those three layers will enhance enjoyment and help define smaller sitting and entertaining areas as though they are outdoor rooms.
• Create a safe and secure environment. Enhance security with lighting near entrances and in dark corners. Aim lights away from the door so arriving guests are not blinded as they enter your outdoor area.
• Reduce glare. Light walkways and paths with light that is cast downward and hooded fixtures. In many cases, exterior-safe dimmers and moveable units, which can be added to a patio or porch as needed, can provide flexible control over the level of light.
• Add decorative elements. While functionality is the top priority, aesthetic elements are also important for a relaxing and inspiring setting. Focus on lighting that highlights architectural and natural details, as well as other decorative elements like arbors, pergolas and patios.
• Conserve energy. Consider LEDs to save energy and for their efficiency. Also think about Energy Star and Dark Sky fixtures that reduce glare and minimize light into the sky as well as neighboring yards and windows. Remember to check the color (chromaticity) of LED outdoor lights. Low chromaticity lights (2700 or 3000K) will look similar to incandescent and halogen bulbs. Higher chromaticity LEDs (4000K and above) will have a whiter, bluer look.