Place landscape fixtures to highlight features, create special effects, enhance safety.
Late summer is when the all of the energy and money you’ve invested in creating a beautiful landscape is in full bloom. The daylight hours are waning but the nights are still balmy, making this the perfect time to think about outdoor lighting that is both functional and shows off your landscape design.
“Outdoor lighting extends a home’s entertainment area, and is also aesthetically pleasing when viewing the yard from indoors,” says Eddie Uyeta, president and CEO of Uyeta Landscape and Maintenance in Renton. “We’re lucky that our gardens can thrive well into November and December. It’s nice to be able to enjoy those colors from your office, dining area or bedroom window even after the sun goes down.”
When planning outdoor lighting, start with functionality – which translates to safety. What areas need well-lit pathways? And, where do you want to focus light for home protection? You may want a spotlight on your home security signage to deter would-be thieves, and motion-detector lights over the garage and front door.
“One of the biggest decorative questions people have is in choosing path lights,” Uyeta says. “There are hundreds of choices and you can get as fancy as you want to. Just make sure to choose fixtures that match the architectural design of your house.”
Path lights are worth investing in because they are highly visible, sticking out of the ground 15-24 inches. You can save money on the other smaller lighting fixtures that are installed in-ground or down-lit from trees for soft ambience.
There are three basic styles of decorative lighting that an expert can combine to create the perfect evening ambience.
- Down-lighting gives the soft ambience of a full moon shining down on your yard. This can be achieved with recessed lighting on your patio or by mounting strategically placed lighting fixtures facing downward from trees.
- Up-lighting provides a bold, dramatic effect by pointing spotlights directly at water features, up into trees or other key landscape elements.
- Cross-lighting provides depth to featured elements or landscape areas by lighting from different sides. This technique can work well to eliminate unwanted shadows.
“The best lighting is when you don’t really notice it’s there, just the effects,” Uyeta says. “The ideal result is the same lighting you get with a full moon – bright but not glaring. This is better though, because you can’t control moonlight or clouds.”
Technology is making it easier than ever to control all of your lighting requirements. A control panel on your laptop, tablet or smartphone controls everything from the time the lights switch on and off, to different levels of lighting in different areas of the yard, to colorful LED lighting options.
“The beauty of LED lighting is that it uses very little electricity and it’s fun,” Uyeta says. “You can light up your backyard in green and blue for a Seahawks barbecue after the game, and then easily change back to your everyday lighting scheme.”
Uyeta Landscape & Maintenance has been family owned since 1967. Our caring and knowledgeable team has over 50 years’ experience combining art and science into landscape environments that leave clients and communities with a sense of pride and place.