Lighting up our summer!
by Linda Mazur
Proper illumination is vital for obvious reasons.
The warm weather has finally arrived and many of us will be working on outdoor living spaces for our clients. Creating a beautiful, well-curated backyard oasis, with lush gardens can be an exciting project. However, an outdoor space cannot be truly complete without proper lighting. It not only adds value to the home, it can bring great enjoyment and value to life.
Proper illumination is vital for obvious reasons such as safety and ease of mobility. Whether it’s an entryway, pathway lighting, recessed deck lighting, a security light or beautiful sconces outside doorways, we require basic lighting to assist us in the dark. However, good outdoor lighting also carries an aesthetic value.
When planned properly, exterior entryway lights can highlight architecture features, whether at the front or rear of the home. As we know, there are multitudes of styles and lighting options available from modern to traditional to period pieces — wall sconces to pendant lighting. Decide what may be the most complementary to enhance the exterior of your home. Recessed soffit lights may be another option to consider and are a great way to “wall-wash” the house, casting a warm glow and highlighting the architectural details.
Deck lighting and pathway lighting not only improves the aesthetics of your outdoor space, it obviously also enables us to move freely and safely in the dark. When creating pathway lighting remember to keep your lights well balanced and staggered to avoid the “landing strip” effect that we so often see. When lighting a staircase, I’m often asked by clients how many lights are enough? For a relatively narrow staircase, a single step light centred in each riser may be sufficient, for wider steps you may feel that you require a series of lights along each riser, or perhaps they can be positioned in the stringers.
Accent lighting is also important when planning an outdoor project. Consider adding lighting to garden beds, up lighting trees, architectural features like pergolas, arbours or gazebos, or perhaps a wall or water feature. And, let’s not forget that fire is a great feature for the outdoors. Whether it’s an actual formal fireplace or simply one of the various other options such as columns, bowls, pits, lanterns or tables, the addition of fire to your space is a wonderful feature to cozy up and enjoy the summer evening outdoors.
When planning and designing your outdoor living spaces, keep in mind that the drive to Smart Home automation is not lost outdoors. Consider Control4 for your lighting, sound, water features, security and more, to enhance your space with ease, as well as maintain usage control.
Our time outdoors in the summer is so short-lived; however, with the addition of proper lighting you can extend and enhance your stay to really soak in the relaxation and pleasures that the summer months have to offer.
|Linda Mazur is a nationally publicized designer and Principal of Linda Mazur Design Group.