During January, we’re counting down the top landscaping trends for 2017. We’ll be taking an in-depth look at each of the six trends as determined by industry experts and consumer demand. While there are a variety of wide-ranging predictions, we found six trends most landscape industry experts agree upon. This week we take a look at how new technology lets landscape lighting shine brightly.
2017 Top Trend #5: Landscape Lighting Shines Brightly Thanks to New Technology
Lights are no longer viewed as a landscaping after thought. Technological advances in lightbulbs have eliminated one of the many reasons people used to be reluctant to use lighting in their landscape. Constantly changing burnt out bulbs was an annoying necessity of landscape lighting. But with the innovation of LED bulbs bulbs now last 10 to 15 years. They provide the loved warm appearance in halogen and incandescent without the high burn-out rate seen in other bulb types.
Properly designed and installed landscape lighting enhances value, beauty and safety to any landscape. Lighting is especially important in winter, when days are darker.
With all of that in mind, here are 5 ways to let lighting shine brightly and beautifully in your landscape:
1. Maximize the Use of Your Space
Start by writing a short list of why you want to add landscape lighting. Ask yourself what you plan on doing outdoors and how lighting will help you do it. For instance: Do a lot of outdoor entertaining? Maximize use by illuminating the fire, sitting area, or outdoor kitchen. Or do you want to have spot lighting to show off a particularly beautify feature of your house? Safety and practicality may be the top concern. So lighting dark walk areas are a priority. Setting an intention for landscape lighting will ensure you have the basics covered as well as generate ideas you may not have realized are of importance previously. Work with your landscape designer to come up with a plan.
2. Switch to LED!
LEDs used to be harshly bright and ugly. But that’s all changed. Now, LEDs are available in a variety of colors, and have the warmer glows seen in incandescent and halogen lights. LEDs provide durability, longevity, and eco-friendliness. Best of all, LED lights use much less energy. LED lights typically last 50,000 hours and some types even last 100,000. Even if you ran your lighting all day it would take almost 11.5 years to burn out. LED are also more durable and withstand weather more effectively than halogen. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, LED lights use approximately 329 kwh per year vs 3285 kwh per year for incandescent bulbs. Not only is that far better for the environment, it’s better for the wallet.
3. Use Lighting Timers
Lighting timers are a must! And the technological advances in timers are amazing. “Smart” timers on the market use your zip code and auto-adjust to your specific sunrise and sunset times through out the year. They even take into account the time of year and adjust accordingly. For example, in winter your timers need to come on much sooner than the summer. And the timers will automatically adjust it for you. Experts recommend that you have lights scheduled to come on 30 minutes before it gets dark. This half hour provides a little wiggle room and avoids the potential of dark walkways.
4. Set The Mood
Anyone who has ever dined at a fancy restaurant knows what a huge part lighting place in setting a mood. For your landscape, first decide what type of mood you desire. The desired mood will determine the lighting techniques used. For example, using “wall washing” creates a dramatic effect. “Moon” lighting gives a romantic effect.
Here are some commonly used lighting techniques. They can also be “mixed and matched” and used in combination with one another.
- Highlighting: This is the most common technique. It creates visual interest in the otherwise lifeless looking branching structure of deciduous trees. Using this technique will bring a new life to leafless trees. It’s very effective in keeping winter interest.
- Silhouetting: This technique can create a dramatic effect with denser objects. Silhouetting creates an illuminated backdrop.
- Wall Washing: This technique is exactly what it sounds like. Lighting pointed up and at slight angles to create a dramatic, yet subtle effect.
- Moon Lighting: Moon lighting creates a very subtle and soft feeling to a landscape. Moon lighting gives the appearance of a full moon shining down on your landscape.
5. Too Much of a Good Thing?
Avoid adding too many lights! That is the number one most common mistake people make. Instead, use properly designed and effectively spaced lightning. Also, work with the natural light you already get. Don’t overwhelm nature. Too many lighting fixtures will wash out the natural light from the moon. As a result, it will produce glare and can create a prion-like feeling. Also, be respectful. When setting up and positioning your lights, avoid shining into neighbors windows– or your own. And make sure pathway lighting doesn’t shine right into someone’s face.
Let There Be Light!
In conclusion, while landscape lighting may seem pretty straight-forward, there are many factors to consider. Consider working with a professional landscape designer (like our talented designers at Greenwise!) when deciding on a lighting plan for your landscape. For instance, they can help make sure you take into consideration why you want your lighting. As a result, they will keep your vision in mind when creating your design. Ultimately, your landscape will shine brightly and beautifully for years to come.