Illuminate your yard with the latest lighting
By Jennifer Fauci
What does your backyard mean to you? Is it a retreat? A dreamy sanctuary of peace and tranquility where you can take a staycation for a day or two? Or is it the ultimate entertaining space for family and friends during breezy nights and summer barbecues? Outdoor lighting will help create the ultimate escape.
Amy Dowling, owner of Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Long Island (www.outdoorlights.com; 631-266-6200) in Huntington with her husband, Dennis, knows how to highlight a property’s best features.
“There’s a huge trend to the outdoor living environment. People want to be outside and enjoy their property,” says Dowling. “Lighting helps to create the environment, which is why more people are taking a staycation and enjoying their own home.”
Outdoor Lighting Perspectives of Long Island uses LED low voltage lighting, which is eco-friendly, energy-efficient and maintenance-free.
“In the past, we used to install fixtures between 20 to 35 watts. Now, we have LED bulbs that are between 3.5 to 6 watts that last for 50,000 hours,” says Dowling, adding that the price of such lighting is now more affordable and more appealing to homeowners.
Landscaping doesn’t just involve statues and shrubbery. According to Dowling, there are many trends in outdoor lighting that enhance a home’s distinctive features. She encourages clients to treat their outdoor space as if they were designing another room in their house.
“We will walk someone’s property and work with their particular needs and budget,” she says of making each client’s vision unique. “We’re all about the effect that is subtle and upscale, yet very affordable.”
For security reasons, a well-lit home is a safe home. To keep it shining each evening, fixtures can be set on a timer so they turn on automatically at dusk.
But from an aesthetic standpoint, outdoor illumination can completely transform the look and feel of your property. Since many Long Island homes don’t have the luxury of being on several acres, it can be tricky to create a new world in just a few hundred feet.
According to Dowling, popular nuances include pool fixtures in a variety of colors, path and deck lighting, as well as waterfall fixtures that illuminate the flow of water. These enhancements not only highlight a backyard’s key features, they enhance eye appeal and create an optical illusion of expanded space.
“The best lighting statements are made by whispering rather than shouting,” she says of accentuating features without detracting from your nighttime view.
Outdoor Lighting Company (www.outdoorlighting.com) in Huntington Station features an impressive array of interior and exterior lighting fixtures. From wall mounts and gas lanterns to fountains and landscape illumination, they offer something to suit every homeowner’s vision.
According to Betsy Bibla, landscape architect and co-owner of Outdoor Lighting, landscape lighting items are the most popular buys for homeowners.
“People are always looking to improve their yard visually and LED landscape lights illuminate the home, giving off just the right amount of light for a beautiful effect,” she says.
For an enchanted oasis, think hanging lanterns, illuminated fountains and strands of lights, all of which can play a part in your enchanted garden theme.
Bibla envisions accent lighting and low path lights to illuminate walkways as a more relaxing and reflective type of glow.
Candles and dim lighting add touches of romance, while low lighting under bushes and flowers keeps your garden awake long after dark. Twinkling lights amid a cascading trellis set the mood for privacy in a fairytale setting.
To bring a little old-world charm to your home, wrought iron lanterns—available in both gas and electric—add a rustic European flair to your outdoor space and are also available in copper finishes.
If your backyard is the entertainment center of your block, make it extra special by adding a pop of color, such as blue, pink or green to a recreational amenity, so it shines when the sun goes down.
Outdoor Lighting recommends what they call “carnival-style lighting,” featuring strings of lights with individual bulbs (white or colored) that can be hung on decks and strung along your fence’s perimeter.
Flaming tiki torches (gas or electric powered) will give your backyard a tropical island feel, while motion sensor spotlights will keep the party going all night.
If you have a pergola or awning, consider a chandelier or hanging pendant that complements your decor, but is large enough to provide ample lighting.
“Without a doubt, people are understanding that lighting is a very important part of the overall design,” says Bibla. “It completes the picture.”