Have you ever marveled at the beautiful effect of a bright moonlit night on your house? The illumination spotlights architectural features and draws attention to arbors and outdoor structures. What's more, walkways and entries become easier to navigate, minimizing the danger of stumbling in the dark or fumbling around for keys.
Why not make every night like this? You can if you include a thoughtful lighting design as part of your landscaping plan. Imagine the effects you can create: emphasizing the facade of your house with a spotlight from below, "washing" a side wall with diffused illumination or simply silhouetting a stately tree.
Of course, you also can dramatize an archway or arbor. Make the pond glow like a jewel with the aid of submerged fixtures. Even a wooden fence and ground cover assume a fashionable air when lit correctly.
Besides the aesthetic value, outdoor lighting can increase safety and security. One aspect of nightscaping, as it's called, is to brighten steps, paths, walkways and driveways, thus preventing after-dark slips and falls.
Another important element is discouraging would-be intruders. One way is to devise a design that incorporates motion detectors. These automatically turn on when someone walks into the parking area, for example.
Other fixtures, controlled by photoelectric cells, automatically turn on in the evening and off the next morning. These are particularly valuable when creating the impression that people are home even when they are away on a trip.
Landscape lighting also is a welcome convenience. It lengthens the amount of time that busy home owners can enjoy outdoor evening activities, from grilling and dining on the deck to shooting hoops in the driveway.
This story appeared in the May 2002 issue of Log Home Living.
Story by Jim Kemp
Illustration by Roy Scott