Today we have a guest post from Jillian Watkinson of Community Home Supply, a family-owned Chicago kitchen and bathroom showroom. Jillian’s post gives us some tips for improving the look of your home’s yard with strategically placed outdoor lighting.
Regardless of what your backyard looks like, how big it is or what landscape style it’s been built to, the addition of decorative dynamic lighting arrangements in strategic places is guaranteed to improve your yard’s look immensely. Placing lights around your property in certain patterns is not difficult or expensive and can turn even an ordinary yard into a nighttime wonder.
Take a look at the following tips and maybe use some of them to liven up your garden space with dynamic light arrangements.
What are Your Existing Yard Features?
As a first step towards setting out your lighting arrangements, take a good look at your front yard, back yard and any walkways you have to decide where lights could be placed for maximum effect. For example, if you have a walkway in your front yard and a large stone or wood patio in your back, you might want to think about surrounding their edges with small decorative lights in order to accent their presence and shape.
The idea here is to notice the features against which lighting would look best and make them stand out while muting other parts of your yard that would be better off more hidden in the dark.
Go for Indirect and Hidden Illumination Effects
If you have a series of specific features in your yard such as ponds, rocks, bushes or low walls, you can create particularly pleasant lighting effects on them by indirect or hidden illumination. Instead of making the light source visible, hide it behind, under or in front of your features to make them shine without a visible source.
This can work exceptionally well for boulders and large dense bushes if you hide a small upward facing lamp in such a way that its light hits the feature and refracts outward without being directly visible. A similar effect can apply to the edges of ponds or even under the water itself, creating illumination that makes the feature shine without being directly visible.
Hidden, indirect lighting also eliminates the common problem of having illumination that blinds a passerby with its shine.
Accent Specific Features for Theatrical Lighting Effects
This tip is somewhat similar to the one above but with a minor difference. Here you aren’t specifically trying to hide your lighting and make it illuminate a broad area; you’re instead trying to make a light accent individual, specific features so that they stand out theatrically. For example, you can place a strong up-light beneath one or two, or all the trees in your yard to create a soft shaft of illumination that covers their trunk and branches.
Another pleasant looking trick would be to spread a series of small flooding lights along the length of a wall in your yard and flood it with strong lighting that fades as it moves upward. This can create a theatrical impression of space that normally wouldn’t be there.
Create a Decorative Style with Different Kinds of Lamps
Whether you have a modern home or one with a more antique architectural style, you can create certain thematic effects by using lamps and lighting of a certain style. If your home is of a more antique nature, the contrast of modern indirect lighting around its perimeter and grounds can create a lovely juxtaposition of impressions that works beautifully and creatively to add character.
On the other hand a modern home could even be decorated with small Victorian or Chinese lantern style hanging lamps that add a splash of contrasting originality to your property’s appearance; you could also line walkways with Tiki torches for a similar effect. Experiment with these effects to create something that works best for your tastes.
Mix Security and Decorative Creatively Together
A well illuminated home is a secure home, you can make this work as a decorative feature as well: if you want to place upward shining light all around the perimeter of your house, keep them aesthetically pleasing but also ensure that they are bright enough and strategically placed so that they leave few or no deeply shadowy spots near windows and doors.
When you place your dynamic lighting effects around your yards and garden, keep the same security vs. decoration ideas in mind; aside from creating decorative effects, look towards illuminating places that could act as hiding spots for intruders.
A Few Final Considerations
The choice of possible dynamic outdoor lighting arrangements and products is nearly limitless and suited for almost any budget. Because of this, the key to creating lovely outdoor lighting arrangements is not in a large price tag but in how creatively you use whatever you think looks best. Before spending a fortune on light installation, first think about what the most economical and creative way to create a pretty and stylistic effect would be.
About the Author: When Jillian Watkinson isn’t covering Community Home Supply, she’s working on interior design for her own house.