Backyard Lighting 101: How to Turn Your Outdoor Space as the Place to Be for Evening Gatherings.
As the cold winter months are ending, we are looking forward to calm and soothing spring or summer nights. To many, this means spending those evenings in the backyard with a good book or inviting friends over for evening barbecues. Whatever is in store, these activities will not be as much fun without beautiful and efficient backyard lighting.
Lighting, as you know, emancipated us from the horrors and tyranny of the night. Over the years, it has become an essential part of our life that this once expensive commodity is now often overlooked. However, lighting remains important today. As one of the best backyard ideas, proper lighting provides safety, security, and highlights beautiful details.
Light Up Your Life
All cheesy ballad references aside, lighting does create wonders. Interior designers understand the important role light plays in building atmosphere both inside and outside the home.
This is lost on most homeowners though as they would rather plop a single or a couple of harsh lighting fixtures. These may be enough for warding off unwanted guests and illuminating pathways but also consider that such bright illumination adds to light pollution and only creates shadows that make the front or backyard appear flat and uninteresting.
Many real estate agents would outright tell you that curb appeal – which outdoor lighting is very much a part of – improves the neighborhood and increases property value. Being acquainted with backyard ideas lighting has its rewards, of course!
The Basics of Lighting
Clearly, indoor lighting differs from outdoor lighting but there are basics that hold them together: light layering, color temperatures, and light intensity. Lighting can be complex but once these are figured out, it can come quite easy.
First, know that color temperature plays a role in stimulating moods. Warm tones are considered to be inviting and comfortable whereas cool tones inject energy and cheer. These are indicated in the bulb packaging and are measured in Kelvins (K). Color temperatures in the 2700K range are the warmest while those in the 5500 to 6500K range are the coolest.
Lighting layers in the meantime indicate the lighting fixture type: general (overall lighting), tasks (meant for a specific function), and accents (for highlighting specific areas). The combination of all three marked by varying degrees of light intensity and temperature is what makes for a fantastic lighting scheme.
Go Forth and Light Up The Backyard!
In planning a backyard lighting system, it helps to sketch the area and to identify potential spots to install lighting. Readily identifiable sections include pathways and driveways, entryways, and steps. For these areas, direct outdoor lighting or outdoor lighting fixtures that focus illumination on a specific spot should be installed. Other areas such as the garden or interesting architectural details should be highlighted with indirect or diffused lighting. Meanwhile, special outdoor structures such as gazebos, patios, and decks would require a balanced combination of both direct and indirect lighting.
Another issue to consider is light pollution. Odd as it may sound, but this is a real phenomenon and it affects people and wildlife. Lighting pollution is identified with an overabundance of artificial light caused by the inefficient and unnecessary use of light. It can be divided further – and glare – a byproduct of strong backyard lighting can be easily avoided with downlights (light directed downwards), filters, or with less intense illumination.
Before any major renovations, check your area’s standards and regulations regarding outdoor lighting. You can come up with a lovely lighting system as one of your backyard ideas, but ensure you do it responsibly.
Laya Cusano is the chief editor of The Furnished Up Blog. She also heads the Marketing Department of Furnished Up, which provides decorating tips and advice to homeowners and furniture shoppers. Also, you can follow Laya Cusano on G+.