01 Jan Happy New Year ! Winter is a good time to ponder a Landscape Lighting Design Project
By Mike Gambino
Get your winter garden fix by planning an entirely new landscape lighting system or just an update from what is already existing.
Are you dreaming of night viewing lush, fragrant plantings that create an oasis of calm and a private escape? Is it time to expand your entertaining options to better serve your social lifestyle? Or is it just time for a fresh look? Winter is a perfect time to do some research and design your project. It always pays to put pencil to paper before the shovel hits the dirt!
- Identify Your Lifestyle
To make the most of your real estate investment at night, develop it to best suit your lifestyle. A development plan that encourages a happy engagement with your outdoor environment is the goal.
How will you use your outdoor space: to relax, entertain or view primarily from within household spaces? Do you need light so children can play outside at night? Do you need secure outdoor spaces for family, visitors and pets to gather at night? Do you need task lighting for food preparation or consumption on the patio? Do you need effective and safe lighting around the pool and spa for optimum enjoyment of the space when the sun goes down? Address all of these issues with your lighting design, and prioritize them.
How you will maintain your outdoor space is lifestyle driven as well. Every landscape lighting system needs maintenance to keep the plants, trees and other amenities looking their best after dark. Consider your time and abilities for maintenance when planning your landscape lighting.
No-maintenance landscape lighting is for those who will hire a professional landscape lighting company.
- Identify Your Design Style
A seamless transition from your home’s interior to its exterior is created when the architectural and interior design style — from line, shape and colors to textures and building materials — is echoed in the lighting of outdoor spaces.
- Develop a Lighting Plant Palette
You may not know a lot about lighting, but you can start by making a list of plant attributes that you like. Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Plants that have large or bold leaves lend themselves to silhouette lighting
- Lighting from within open form plants make them seem like they are glowing or eminating light
- Deciduous Plants are those that lose their leaves and will look different seasonally
- Plants that have rough or textured surfaces can be dramatically accented with light
- Colorful foliage is as attractive at night with proper lighting as they are in daylight
- Plants and trees with peeling or flaking bark add interest at night with light
- Specimen plants and trees should be made focal points as they are featured prominently in the landscape
- Unusually shaped or sized flowers can look interesting at night
- Evergreen plants that do not change color will look the same regardless of seasonal changes
- Autumn color plan for seasonal displays
- Do a Reality Check
Before you get too carried away with the details of the project, be sure that you understand the parameters — don’t think of them as limitations — that you have to work within. You’ll save time and money in the long run if you deal with these issues up front:
- Your budget.How much are you comfortable spending now, or over the course of a few years, to implement the design? What are the long-term maintenance costs? It’s always best to design to your comfort level.
- Homeowners association rules and regulations.These may range from type of lighting effects or fixture placements etc.
- Zoning and building codes.These laws often focus on safety — Electrical power sources that power your lighting and location of equipment in regards to bodies of water on the property such as pools, ponds, lakes etc.
- Work With a Pro
A simple consultation with a landscape lighting professional may be all you need to move forward with a project. Larger, more complex projects, especially those that involve built in hardscape elements, will benefit from the knowledge and experience of landscape lighting design and construction experts.
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.Gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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