right outdoor lighting can redefine a property, adding
not only safety and security but expanding the use of
the yard and beautifying the space. Whether starting
from scratch or retrofitting an existing yard, the most
important trend today is installing LED lights.
lights (light-emitting diodes) are energy-efficient,
versatile and will reduce maintenance. Although
installing LEDs is a bigger investment upfront, the
savings will come with a reduced electrical bill and
longer-lasting bulbs. LED light will last 50,000 hours
compared with 2,000 to 4,000 hours for halogen lights,
said Mike Geier, owner of Lightscape Designs. Replacing
traditional outdoor lights with LEDs can net up to 85
percent in energy savings.
is also transforming the way outdoor lights function.
Settings can be changed from a smart phone or computer.
"There are affordable ways to install an integrated
system," Geier said.
lighting turns on and off in zones, but new technology
is adding even more control. The FX Luminaire Luxor ZDC
Outdoor Lighting System allows for zoned lighting as
well as dimming and multitude of colors.
homeowners prefer a soft, warm white light, Geier said,
but other color choices are available. "Thereís
cool technology out there for control over color
combinations," he said. Itís a fun option for
people who love to decorate for the holidays: red and
green for Christmas, orange for Halloween and red, white
and blue for the Fourth of July.
lighting has three basic tasks: safety, security and
enhancing the outdoor space. "Everyone has
different security concerns," Geier said. Some
homeowners want lights all around the home, while others
prefer just a light above a door. Lighting is essential
in areas where people could trip, such as stairs. For
beautification, he said, people want a "resortlike
get that effect, Geier said he looks at all the focal
points, such as trees, fountains, pathways and even
architectural features. The results should be dramatic,
but the lights themselves should be discreet. That is
one reason why hardwired lights are still the preferred
choice. Solar, he said, does not have the same
reliability, quality, output or look.
want to try and hide the source of the light, so itís
often in a shady area," he said. That will hinder
powering the lamp with solar energy unless the panel is
separate, which makes the unit more cumbersome.
strips are becoming increasingly popular in new
landscaping. They can illuminate stair risers for safety
or wrap around the bottom of cabinets or the grill in an
outdoor kitchen for ambiance. Geier said he does not
recommend wrapping trees because of the ongoing
maintenance involved rewrapping as the tree grows.
"Itís a really cool look, but go in with your
eyes wide open," he said.
to Costco, market or string lights have become very
popular. "Itís a huge trend," Geier said.
These lights are great for small patios and pool decks.
can really transform your outdoor experience," he
said. "Even if youíre inside the house, lighting
can bring the landscaping indoors."