The Benefits of Hardscape Lighting
From patios to statues and from driveways to walkways, the hardscape lighting you choose for your home or commercial landscape can make all the difference when it comes looking – and performing – great. Even better, the options in hardscape lighting today are more expansive than ever, with custom fixtures and finishes, unique lighting accessories and colors to create the perfect view for you.
The many benefits of hardscape lighting
Many of the benefits of outdoor hardscape lighting will be apparent: You can use your favorite outdoor spaces for several additional hours every day. You can relax and retreat on your own or celebrate with others. You can eat outdoors, read outdoors, host events outdoors…the opportunities are limitless when you add custom landscape lighting into the mix.
You can also make your home and business more safe and secure, no matter what time of day. You can light up any obstacles, illuminate steps and statues and rock features, and create a well-lit patio, driveway or fountain, for example.
Wall sconces and overhead lighting help enhance the mood and the entire outdoor space. Outdoor string lights can also add ambience in a soft and sparkly way.
The proper patio lighting
Patio lighting is a big priority for many families who want to take advantage of the great outdoors throughout the year and various seasons. Our patios are now an extension of our living rooms and kitchens, and they should reflect that same aesthetic and function.
When it comes to patio and deck lighting, placement is critical. How you place your outdoor light fixtures will determine how the landscape lighting looks and feels. It can also make a difference when it comes to safety and security for you and your guests.
For safety purposes, the perimeter of the patio or deck space should be clearly lit. This can be achieved with fixtures that adhere to railings, posts and banisters. These can be small sconces that give off discreet light or flashy fixtures that cast a more dramatic radiance on your landscaping.
Special consideration should be given to changes in levels, such as steps or sets of stairs, and to changes in walkways, especially if the path goes from paved to rugged. Low-voltage lights are the perfect choice for illuminating stairs. They give off enough soft illumination to clearly define each step without flooding the deck or patio with harsh, unnecessary light. Pathways are best marked by fixtures that give off light in an outward direction. Such fixtures should be placed in flower beds or other landscaped areas when possible. Installing light fixtures in grassy areas makes it difficult to mow around them, and they can create tripping hazards during the day.
Swimming pools and water features should also be well lit for safety and beauty. Motion-sensing lights are perfect for these areas.
If your patio space contains an outdoor kitchen, you’ll want to make sure there is adequate light to prepare food after sunset. Be sure to focus some light on food preparation surfaces as well as grilling areas.
Stay still as a statue
You have likely been impressed by a well-lit statue after dark, whether at a museum or local attraction. The right statue lighting can captivate the eyes and create an impression of strength or softness. The same dramatic feeling can be achieved by lighting a monument or statute in your own yard or business.
First, it is important to decide what part of the statute or monument you would like to illuminate. For instance, if it stands against a wall or tree line, you could use light to create a shadow in those areas. If you would like to distribute equal light, then you would place the outdoor lighting fixture in the middle at the base of the statute and shine the light almost straight up. If you would like to focus on illuminating just one element of the statute, then you can place the fixture directly on that part of the statute.
To illuminate a statute, it often takes a brilliant focused light to brighten low-light environments or to add impact or emotion. In addition, outdoor lighting must meet special requirements that indoor lighting does not. These requirements can be easily accommodated once you know what you are looking for.
For safety purposes, you will need low voltage from 12V to 24V, rather than the standard 120V for indoor lights. Outdoor lights require a transformer, and all outdoor lighting will need to take the overall amount of voltage into account. Next, if you live in an area with freezing temperatures, even for a short time, you will need lighting fixtures that can survive at or below freezing. Even waterproof fixtures like fiber-optic outdoor lighting should be checked for winter readiness. Finally, you should check with your homeowners’ association or municipality to see if there are any dark sky rules in effect. This will make it easier to plan your landscape lighting scheme and to find the right products the first time.
Monument lights come in a wide selection of bulbs and temperatures, from warm white to bright daylight, and include color-changing options as well as varied beam angles. This type of lighting also offers energy cost savings. Some brands can last up to 10 years, and can be added into your technology control systems and operated with other outdoor lighting systems simultaneously.
In the driver’s seat
Finally, lighting up your driveway can make it more functional – nighttime basketball, anyone? – and attractive. Outdoor driveway lighting features can illuminate from the side, from the garage and from above, depending on your specific landscape lighting goals.
In particular, ground lighting can help direct drivers down your driveway – a great option if you have a longer or curved driveway. Above-ground lighting can offer another angle, and should be carefully place to prevent accidents. Solar-powered driveway lights can add another layer of lighting that is efficient and economical. Ultimately, you are in the driver’s seat when it comes to selecting the right driveway lighting for your landscape!