Serving the Naperville Community
The driveway is rarely seen as a key design element in the landscape. Often, the driveway is treated as just a place to park your car. However, it can potentially be so much more dynamic with the addition of some intelligent lighting strategies. First and foremost, your driveway needs to be safe. From there, you want to take a layered approach that will help showcase the true beauty of the surrounding landscape at night. During your landscape renovation, make sure to light up your driveway with these outdoor lighting ideas in Naperville, IL.
Related: Options for Outdoor Lighting to Improve Safety and Beauty Along Your Wheaton, IL, Driveway
Whichever lighting strategy you adopt, be sure to choose light-emitting diodes (LEDs). LEDs are at the forefront of lighting technology and will have some wonderful benefits for your driveway and overall landscape. These powerful lights use far less energy than their traditional light bulb counterparts. They’ll also require significantly fewer replacements over time and fit in tight spaces.
Choose Layered Lighting
Instead of an old-school single light source (such as a garage-mounted flood light), choosing multiple lighting strategies will yield the most attractive and practical result. Avoid flood lights because they deliver a bright, garish light that can be blinding; and by contrast, the surrounding landscape will appear pitch black and unwelcoming. While the immediate area will be extremely well lit, a single light source will inevitably create harsh shadows that can block tripping hazards.
Instead of focusing on the driveway, you can place a few solar powered path lights randomly throughout the landscape. These lights will help create a visual texture that will give dimension to the landscape. It will also improve the safety and security of your landscape by eliminating dark spots.
An Array of Path Lights
Path lights are well loved by landscapers and homeowners alike as excellent sources of attractive and welcoming driveway illumination. These lights are situated low to the ground, which focuses their energy much more efficiently. This approach can reduce the need for bright high-wattage light bulbs. It also eliminates the possibility of blinding someone as they walk or drive.
Path lights can be either hooked up to the electrical grid using underground wires, or you can opt for solar-powered path lights which will charge during the daytime and stay on all night. This fantastic lighting arrangement will take some of your driveway lighting needs off the grid, reducing both impact on the environment and your electric bills.
Now used in many streets and highways across the world, integrated lighting is a great way to make your driveway a safer place to drive without disturbing your surrounding landscape. With this strategy, small light fixtures are installed within the driveway surface, protecting the light fixtures from snow plows. Integrated lighting will eliminate these challenges in different seasons.
When combined with a driveway heating system, your driveway will always be snow- and ice-free, and well-lit for safety.
Lighting your driveway from above - from a single tree or multiple trees that line the driveway - can give the illusion of moonlight filtering through the canopy.
If your driveway features a retaining wall or masonry garden wall along its length (or even at the parking area) this is a great opportunity to install landscape lights right into the masonry itself, for a luxe and a clutter-free look.
Related: Why Adequate Outdoor Lighting for Your Naperville IL Driveway and Front Yard Is So Important
Just because summer is winding down doesn’t mean that outdoor fun has to stop. If you want more outdoor fun and natural serenity in your life, here are our tips on how to enjoy the fall season: 4 landscaping trends for loving the outdoors in Wheaton and Hinsdale, IL.
Related: Why a Fire Pit Becomes the Prime Destination of the Backyard Patio in Hinsdale, IL
A Patio With Character
It’s hard to get excited about hanging out with friends on a boring concrete slab. But on a gorgeous custom paver patio complete with a pergola… seat walls… an outdoor fireplace or fire pit… and an outdoor kitchen with bar seating? Now we’re talking!
The most appealing and functional patios feature a zoned approach where high-traffic areas such as the outdoor kitchen don’t interfere with quieter activities such as a lounge area. Think about your favorite patio activities, and plan a patio so that each of these main activities have their own zone.
One way to achieve this is by setting these different zones at different elevations. For example, your outdoor kitchen could be on the main level - convenient to the home - and your lounge area a step higher for a commanding view of the surroundings, and a fire pit one step below the main patio to add a sense of coziness and intimacy.
If you don’t relish the thought of shoveling your patio once the snow begins to fall, consider a driveway heating system that’s placed under the pavers. Your patio will be safer and much more appealing in cold weather.
An Outdoor Kitchen With the Amenities You Need
Cooking delicious meals for family and friends is one of the joys of outdoor living. The key is to have a cooking space that meets your needs as a cook. Do you love grilling? Then a masonry grill station with an adjacent bar could be just the ticket for backyard BBQs. Do you love to wow your guests with gourmet meals? Then spring for a full outdoor kitchen that features a wine cooler, Kamado grill, 2- or 4-burner cooktop, or even a wood-fired pizza oven.
Nothing puts a damper on outdoor fun than a cold November drizzle. But from the shelter of a pavilion, you won’t give it a second thought! A pavilion is an open-sided structure with a solid roof that offers protection from the elements. You still get the outdoors feeling, but without the hassle of running indoors when the skies open up.
Since a pavilion can be any size, it could cover your outdoor kitchen/bar area, and even include a seating area. Make it even cozier by adding an outdoor fireplace along one side - or a gas-fueled fire table in the center, for an amazing outdoor dining experience.
As the days get shorter, you’ll want landscape lighting that will keep your outdoor spaces safe and inviting. Today’s landscape lighting designs use light-emitting diode (LED) technology because these bulbs last an incredibly long time, use very little energy, and their small sizes mean you can get creative with placement.
A layered approach will give you the most pleasing results. This strategy involves the appropriate amount of lighting within each activity zone (a combination of task lighting, ambient light, and accent lighting). As well, you want to prevent the unpleasant contrast between a dark landscape and a brightly lit patio and walkway. Placing a few subtle lights throughout the landscape will give dimension to these formerly dark spaces, without disrupting the appeal of a nighttime experience.
Related: Options for Outdoor Lighting to Improve Safety and Beauty Along Your Wheaton, IL, Driveway
Your patio is the focus of your outdoor living area and so it should include features which keep you outside longer. One of these features is the fire pit, which has been bringing everyone together for thousands of years. Are you renovating your patio? Here are six reasons to include a fire pit in Naperville, IL.
Related: Take a Fresh Look at Your Patio Options With These 4 Landscaping Ideas in Wheaton, IL
The Pride of a Gorgeous Masonry Feature
Having a masonry feature standing proud in your backyard will make you feel like your landscape is more complete. Luckily, a fire pit is a permanent feature on your patio (or anywhere in your landscape) that quickly becomes an anchor point. For the most cohesive look, pair the blocks used in the construction of your fire pit with the surrounding patio as well as any masonry and color schemes present in your home and landscape.
A Place to Warm Up
Fire pits offer that nostalgic campfire feeling without the trouble of digging and building a pit in the wilderness. While they’re fairly rudimentary, fire pits have remained one of the most attractive places for people to get together and warm up. No matter if it’s a night in the heat of the summer after a barbecue with loved ones or a frigid night around the holidays where a small group of bundled-up close friends share mugs of hot cocoa surrounded by crunchy snow, the fire pit is where everyone will go to warm up.
A Place to Cook
While it might take some professional skill to cook some gourmet food around a fire pit, it’s still a great place to roast sausages or marshmallows to make some delicious s’mores. Some of the finest summer memories are made with skewers around the campfire, so it’s the natural next step to reinforce those memories in the comfort of your backyard. We recommend a wood-fired fire pit for cooking; and be sure to use fruitwoods that impart a delicious flavor to your food.
A Place to Gather
Even though it’s fun to stand around a fire pit and chat while enjoying the warmth and flickering light, it’s much cozier when you’ve got a comfortable place to sit. Once you’ve gotten the fire started and a few logs start to glow with embers, friends and family will start taking their seats around the pit.
Since you’ve already gotten a permanent masonry feature installed on your patio, you could surround your fire pit with some high-backed seat walls which can help retain the heat in the area and shelter everyone from cold winds. High-backed seat walls can provide the opportunity for sturdy and comfortable relaxation around a fire pit and help make the fire area a prominent focal point.
A Potential Return on Your Investment
As fire pits are one of the most attractive features in any home landscape, it will quickly become one of the selling points should you ever choose to sell your home, especially if the fire pit is fueled by natural gas or propane. Potential buyers will appreciate the ambience that only a fire pit can add.
But what about you? A fire pit could be the one feature that gets you to use your outdoor living space much later into the year - even in the heart of winter. And since you are already paying for the space, it’s nice to be able to use it comfortably! A fire pit is one of the best investments you can make in your landscape.
Related: Warm Up Your Wheaton IL Brick Patio With a Traditional Fire Pit