Does your house say “welcome” after dark? Can friends and neighbors find their way to your front door? Can you? If your driveway and house are well lit, there is no problem, but too often poor lighting makes approaching your home at night a real challenge.
It doesn’t have to be that way. Landscape lighting systems are a solid investment in safety and security. And, with the latest technological developments making the cost more and more reasonable, a well-lit home is easier than ever to achieve.
“These newer technologies have enabled designers to be really, really precise with lighting,” said Lighting Certified Professional Gordon Hunt of Illuminating Technologies Inc. The new technology “has eliminated the challenge of aiming and focusing incandescent lights, which needed more equipment and increased the cost of a lighting package. Now LEDs [light-emitting diodes] allow pinpoint accuracy without the added expense of more equipment,” said Hunt.
Hunt also pointed out that LEDs use less energy than traditional light sources, which enables the use of more lights. The money that in the past would have been spent on equipment to aim and focus the lights can now be used to enlarge the lighting package.
Like Hunt, lighting designer Rick Chism is enthused about the use of LEDs and said that manufacturers are finding different ways to put them in fixtures. There are now LED lights for nearly every type of lighting situation. He said that LED lights are now on par with the older incandescent and halogen lights, but are far more energy efficient, using 90 percent less power and lasting over 20 times longer.
Chism said that LEDs have been fine-tuned and the color rendering is excellent, as is the quality. The cost of LED systems is also close to that of the older systems, and though they may still be slightly more expensive to install, the initial cost of an LED system is quickly recouped due to the lower amount of electricity used.
Chism said he is also excited about the fact that some of the best LED lights available are manufactured right here in Greensboro by ClaroLux Landscape Lighting. The company has been in business for around 10+ years, and Chism said they have excellent, high-end, US Made, landscape lighting products for affordable prices that he likes to use. Plus, most of their landscape lighting products are now made right here in their manufacturing facility in Greensboro, NC.
Both Hunt and Chism said that adding lighting to your landscape enhances the value of your home and definitely helps the resale value. Potential buyers often look at houses at night, so attractive home and landscape lighting can make your home the one they remember and return to.
To make your home memorable, when deciding to add a lighting package to your landscape, you need to take into consideration the overall appearance of your home. Will the lights look good as you approach the house from the curb, driveway or front door? Size and number of lights make a difference. You want adequate light, but not overpowering beacons. The day of the floodlight is gone. Instead, illuminate driveways and front walkways with post-mounted lanterns. They add security and safety to your entrance without blinding the neighbors. And, don’t forget to illuminate the numbers of your house’s address.
Well-designed landscape lighting can do much more than merely illuminate the pathway to your front door. Careful placement of lights allows you to enjoy your home for more hours, extending the indoors out.
Strategically positioned low-voltage lights illuminate design features in your yard, and reflect off the leaves of overhead trees and nearby shrubbery, creating a constantly changing environment. The edges of a path through the garden can be defined by the use of spread lights that mark where the path meets the grass or flowerbeds. Accent lights, available in a wide array of colors, create dramatic effects when used to light a tree or bathe the walls of your home in light.
Reaching those garden pathways from a deck or porch is also made safer with the use of step lights to reduce shadows. When a home is properly lit, dark corners virtually disappear. Not only is this a safety feature, but it also eliminates places where vandals or burglars might hide.
Deck lighting now goes beyond the tiki torches that have been popular for years. Instead, LED rail lights and post lights for decks illuminate the space and enhance the ambience of the deck and surrounding area.
A little-known benefit of LED lights for outdoor use is the fact that they don’t attract mosquitoes or other bugs since they don’t give off infrared or ultraviolet rays. In addition, LEDs contain no lead or mercury, and they give off very little heat, so accidentally brushing up against one won’t result in a person being burned.
The livability of porches and other covered spaces is also increased with the use of chandeliers and lamps that are made specifically for outdoor use. Just be sure that fixture you are considering has a tag that says “UL/ETL Listed for Use in Damp Locations.” This will tell you that the product is water resistant and can be used in wet or damp situations.
Of course, those tiki torches and candles can still add a romantic touch to your outdoor living space for special occasions, but for practical every day outdoor use, you can’t beat LED lighting.
Illuminating Technologies’ clients include businesses, decor design firms, architects and engineers. Customer segments range from industrial, commercial and retail establishments to government and institutional facilities. For more information, check out their website at www.illuminatingtechnologies.com.
Rick Chism LLC Landscape Lighting specializes in residential landscape design and installation. His website is www.rickchism.com.
Article by Sandy Groover – Rhino Times – Greensboro, North Carolina