by Amanda Rose Newton
Now that Thanksgiving has come and gone, the countdown to the winter holidays has begun. The temperatures are starting to taper off in the evenings and the sun is following suit.
Less light in the evening doesn’t mean you have to forego the backyard festivities just yet, especially if you are loving the lower temps and less-buggy atmosphere the season brings. The winters are what makes Florida vacation-worthy and what better way to enjoy holiday company than showing off your ability to BBQ, hang poolside, and enjoy flowering plants year-round?
With the right outdoor lighting, you can take your outdoor enjoyment into the after-hours and keep the holiday party rolling. What better way to have your lifestyle reflect everyone else’s vacation!
Lighting, like plants, is unique to each landscape. Generally, the focus tends to be on accent lighting, navigation lighting, and garden illumination.
No matter how well you know your backyard, once the lights are off that familiarity often goes out the window. Installing some simple path lighting is one of the cheapest and easiest way to clearly indicate walkways and to make sure guests (and residents for that matter) move around the yard with ease.
Often, you can pick up inexpensive solar lights that will do the job and add a nice ambiance to the garden. Don’t forget to include a few around structures like fountains or ponds! The last thing you want is for someone to trip over a statue and end up in a pool. For a long-lasting option, consider LED lighting or a low-voltage set.
Security lighting not only aids in deterring animals and others from approaching your home, but it can also serve as additional navigation lighting. Motion sensor lights are a lifesaver for trying to find your way in the dark and can also be used to illuminate your garden.
Plants that are naturally lighter in color will aid as visual tools in the presence of the glow of light from security lighting. You can also position lights to face outward into the garden, acting as a “landscape spotlight” to show off the best angles.
Showing off your landscape while evening entertaining can easily be achieved inexpensively with the right lighting. String lights, which we are all too familiar with at this time of year, do wonders for ambiance! Nothing warms up cooler nights than the soft glow of white hanging bulbs.
Place string lights wherever you like to entertain, whether that is around the pool or patio, to create an outdoor oasis. For long-term success, choose string lights that are waterproof and feature LED bulbs.
Wall lighting, including sconces and lanterns, can be added directly to a home’s exterior, decking, or even in a gazebo or pergola. Think of how much additional living space you can create by just adding a few lights in creative places!
Accenting with Ambiance
One of the secrets to illuminating the landscape is the clever use and emphasis on key hardscape pieces.
Gazing balls, for example, reflect light beautifully and look stunning when hit with the right lighting.
Fountains, birdbaths, and even wind chimes also have that ‘light up the night magic’ quality to them. It’s all about placement, and then choosing the correct lighting to bring everything to life without blinding your guests!
Spotlighting can be installed at ground level, and when shone upwards makes prized trees or statues look magnificent.
Your hardscape can also function as light! Firepits can be adapted for any space, whether you have a small concrete slab or a huge backyard, and are easy to maintain. It also gives a welcome opportunity to make evening s’mores– sure to become an annual holiday tradition.
Chimeneas are an ideal way to gain a little extra warmth in addition to light in the cooler months. The interesting aesthetic and low flames make this a great choice for family gatherings. Think of the chimenea as a less in-your-face firepit with character. For those looking to avoid mosquitoes as much as possible, the smoke also serves as a natural deterrent.
We are fortunate to have the ability to enjoy our yards year-round, and with the aid of carefully selected lighting, prized plants, and special hardscape pieces, you can turn your yard into the highlight of the holiday entertaining season.