“Modern Farmhouse Landscape” by Kichler
When most people think about landscape design, lighting isn’t normally top of mind. Landscape lighting is one of those small, easily-overlooked details that can completely change the mood—not to mention accessibility—of an outdoor space. When Dave and I work with a new landscaping client, we’re always conscious of lighting in mind, regardless of whether we may talk about it in the consultation. Whether it’s a featured plant, a pergola, or a water feature, we’re always thinking of our focal points and what would look their best lit up at night. If you’re considering a landscaping project in the near future, here’s what you need to know about the outdoor glow.
The Importance of Outdoor Lighting
If you live in Guelph, or really anywhere in Canada, you’re no stranger to those times of year when you arrive at work in the dark…and then leave when it’s dark again. The purpose of outdoor lighting is as much about function as it is about aesthetics. Especially if you’ve already made a significant investment into your landscape design, it just makes sense to invest in great lighting. After all, if you ever plan to enjoy your landscape after dark, it helps to actually see it. Without lighting, it’s tough to do things, like entertain guests in the evening, walk from your garage to your back door, or even run the garbage out at night. Not to mention, it’s another way to add depth and dimension to the space, giving your landscape a sense of layering and contrast.
“Contemporary Residential Lighting” and “Royal Marine Porch” by Kichler
With that said, many folks put up motion-sensor lights and call it a day. I have nothing against that—it’s a great security feature. However, that kind of lighting doesn’t add much by way of ambience, and having to re-trigger the light every so often gets old pretty fast. Fortunately, there are much nicer ways to shed light on your landscape.
Solar Landscape Lighting: Love or Leave?
Solar landscape lighting sounds like a perfect solution. They’re inexpensive, and who wouldn’t want to illuminate their patio without having to change batteries or hide cables? Plus, the solar idea sounds oh-so-eco-friendly. I wish it were so.
Let’s put aside the fact that Guelph isn’t always the sunniest place year-round. The truth is, most solar-powered yard lights just don’t last. Most are made from cheap materials that might work for a year, maybe one-and-a-half if you’re lucky. Think about how many solar lights you’d need to stake around your property, then imagine replacing almost all of them every year. Suddenly, this low-cost lighting starts to add up—as does the pile of plastic in the landfill.
Benefits of LED Landscape Lighting
LED lights have all the benefits that you’d want solar lighting to have—except the “cheap” part. The expression “you get what you pay for” holds true for LEDs. Having worked in the landscape design space for a long time, it’s my professional opinion that LEDs are the best landscape lighting option. They use very little energy, and they last for ages.
“Landscape Certified Training” by Kichler
Better yet, LED lighting performs great in cold temperatures and comes in every imaginable colour and brightness. You can go with a cool-neutral tone that mimics sunlight, a warm glow that feels extra-welcoming, or even funky colours if that’s what you’re into.
There are also endless types of outdoor LED products for lighting every landscape feature under the sun (or under the moon, as it were.) You can light pathways with LED stake lights, or in-set LED strip lights. You can string up LED-powered bistro lights to set the mood for outdoor dinners, or go with waterproof LEDs to beautifully accent a water feature.
Benefits of Hardwired Landscape Lighting
I think I’ve put enough emphasis on how versatile LEDs are, but when you have that many options, there are bound to be undesirable ones. I completely understand the desire to save a few pennies by going with lower-end lighting that you can plug into an outlet. Here’s what I know is true: you will never regret installing hardwired outdoor lighting.
“Halleron Driveway Detail” by Kichler
Professionally-installed, hardwired lighting is more durable, easier to use, and looks every bit as high-quality as it is. All wires are hidden away, and you can toggle the light on and off with a lightswitch. Even better—you can set them up with an automatic transformer that knows when to turn it on and off so you won’t even need to think about them when the darkness falls!
We always recommend Kichler LED landscape lighting products because they really are the best. If you’re going for a high-end, magazine-cover look, Kichlers are the missing piece in your landscape. Installing outdoor lighting products like these is definitely a job for a professional, but the results speak for themselves.
Now that I’ve talked your ear off about the benefits of lighting, it’s time for the fun part—seeing them for yourself! If you’re in the Guelph or Cambridge area, stop by Royal City Nursery to have a look at the lighting options we carry in-store. In my opinion, it’s only once you see these beautiful products in person that the ideas really start flowing. Who knows, maybe your next visit will give you a “light-bulb” moment!