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Antiqued brick is one of the most charming and timeless materials for patios. It looks amazing during the day; but which lighting techniques can you use to bring out brick’s natural beauty after dark? Here are 3 historical outdoor lighting options to complement an antiqued brick patio in Naperville, IL.
Related: Adding a Brick Patio to a Traditional Landscape Design in Naperville IL
Lanterns are the ultimate in classic outdoor lighting. They have illuminated streetscapes for over a century and you can still find them in certain historical locations throughout the country.
The pluses to using lanterns is that they add elegance and a touch of history to your outdoor living space. They come in a variety of styles ranging from victorian to bungalow, and are often made using black iron. Today’s lanterns can accommodate low voltage light emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent bulbs that last much longer than old-school incandescent bulbs.
The cons with lanterns (especially square shaped lanterns) is that they only spread light outward. When mounted on a post, pergola, home, or pillar, the light cast from the fixture will spread to the sides, but it will not illuminate the ground below the fixture. This can create challenging shadows immediately beneath the lanterns, which can be dangerous on walkways.
One solution is to use many small pathway lights in the shape of lanterns, which will help fill in the dark areas. Another solution is to hang lanterns high and ensure they have a tapered bottom, which will direct more light downward as well as outward; this could, however, result in too much illumination if the lights don’t have dimmers. Hanging lanterns high will also eliminate any potential blinding effect.
Mounted around eye level, lanterns can be too bright as the light shines into your eyes; this works to create the illusion of greater darkness in areas of the landscape not directly illuminated by the lanterns.
In short, lanterns generally work best as accent lighting. Given that lanterns spread the light, they will highlight the textures of brick to create visual interest after dark.
As mentioned, you could use them in a miniature version along pathways; or, use low-voltage lighting if the lanterns will be hung closer to eye level, to provide enough light without being blinding.
Sconces could be another way to illuminate a brick patio. Sconces direct light up and down rather than sideways - which makes them the perfect complement to lanterns. Sconces are generally used more as accent lighting. They are mounted to vertical surfaces and create interesting textured effects both above and below the fixture.
Sconces are the ideal decorative fixture to use for uplighting and downlighting, to highlight textures on vertical surfaces and to some extent on underfoot bricks as well.
While not exactly historical, subtle lighting effects can be achieved by incorporating light fixtures into vertical features. These can softly illuminate the outer perimeter of a brick patio in a romantic way. The fixtures themselves are recessed and virtually invisible during the day, so they won’t interfere with the patio’s historic appeal (and at night, you only notice the effects and not the fixtures themselves).
A Modern Blend
A modern blend of all three lighting types could yield the best results: a historic vibe with the modern convenience of specific types of lighting to create more even lighting as well as the right ambience.
Related: 3 Patio Ideas For Fall Flair in Hinsdale and Naperville IL Areas