Justin White, Landscaping Lessons │Light up your landscaping – Santa Cruz Sentinel
Although we gained maybe an hour of sleep, summer time has stolen 60 minutes of our sunlight after work. When we got off the wave of summer, we were pampered with lots of light during the day to enjoy nature. Now that the sun is retreating in the early evening, you can retreat inside earlier than usual as well. Don’t neglect your outdoor oasis just because it’s dark. Light up your garden and enjoy your landscaping year round.
Low voltage lighting is the most common type used for residential projects. It is typically cheaper, easy to install, and has the lowest risk of accidental electric shock compared to 120V systems. The world of low voltage lighting has made many advances over the past three years. The cost of installation and rate of execution have decreased, options for devices have increased, and smart controllers give you endless options. So far the only customization available was a timer that turned the lights on and off on a set schedule. The Luxor by FX light is by far the most advanced option on the market today. You can change the color of lights, create zones, add up to 250 lights, create light shows with pre-programmed themes, dim and much more! My favorite part is that you can control all of these functions from your iPhone or tablet. I recommend checking out FX Luminaire’s website to learn more.
Uplights or spotlights are ideal for showing off tall elements such as trees, buildings and large plants. These are good for drawing attention to individual steps and highlighting focal points such as outdoor works of art, fancy plants or even a waterfall. (Contributed)
For those who want to get lighting in the yard as soon as possible, solar powered lighting may be the fastest, most affordable option. You can find these devices in all major hardware stores and large stores. They have a shorter lifespan and are usually used as a temporary solution until you can install a wired system. For some, this might just be what you are looking for, to light up a dark corner of the courtyard or to make your way safer for guests.
In addition to the type of lighting, design and placement is another consideration for your landscape luminosity. Uplights or spotlights are ideal for showing off tall elements such as trees, buildings and large plants. These are good for drawing attention to individual steps and highlighting focal points such as outdoor works of art, fancy plants or even a waterfall. You can also showcase architectural pillars, decorative pillars or flagpoles. For pergolas and arbors, you can install a downlight that casts a downward beam onto the outdoor kitchen, seating, or any other area under your structure.
As the name suggests, pathlights aid walkways by casting a circular area of light along your path. Make sure they are spaced enough to ensure coverage without over-lighting. Silhouette is another memorable way to draw focus. With the lighting behind the plant or the object, shadow and light merge into a unique attraction. Floodlights have a wider beam of up to 120 degrees and are more ideal for illuminating larger areas of your landscape. Use floodlights for lawns, parking lots, warehouses and driveways. Because floodlights have a larger surface area, they are good choices for security. The more light you have on your property, the less chance there is of robbery, damage, or graffiti. In addition to safety, proper lighting can provide a safer outdoor experience.
Think outside the lamp by adding natural light amplifying features like fire pits, outdoor pizza ovens, or heaters. These contribute to the glow and are functional at the same time. Fire features can come in a number of forms, including traditional pits, outdoor fireplaces, and even gas fire tables. Heaters are also available in many creative designs and also act as a source of light while providing warmth for you and your guests on those dark, cool nights.
Get creative! Set an ambience with fairy lights or add built-in lighting under your outdoor kitchen cabinets. Hang lanterns on your porch or install color changing underwater lights in your pool and spa. There are lights camouflaged to look like rocks and different tones of light to make your subject stand out as intricately as possible. Whatever your goals, adding light to your landscape will create a welcoming atmosphere from dusk to dawn.
Justin White is the CEO of K&D Landscaping, headquartered in Watsonville, California, and was named Business of the Year 2020 by the Pajaro Valley Chamber of Commerce. White is also the current president of the local chapter of the California Landscape Contractors Association (CLCA) on the central coast. He is involved in several nonprofits across the community and sits on the board of directors of the Santa Cruz Business Council. For more information on landscaping, outdoor and gardening requirements, contact K&D Landscaping at kndlandscaping.com.