Serving the Naperville Community
The outdoor living space is a special place where friends and family can relax outdoors and create wonderful memories. Everyone coming to your backyard should feel welcome and safe at all times. Outdoor lighting is absolutely crucial not only for a welcoming and safe feeling, but for beauty as well. When planning your landscape renovation, consider the lighting strategy as a way to enhance your outdoor living space. Now you can extend the use of your patio with any of these outdoor lighting options in Naperville, IL.
Related: Don't Let Your Landscaping Hide in the Dark: 6 Outdoor Lighting Trends to Contemplate in Hinsdale, IL
When designing the lighting scheme of your backyard, it’s important to use a strategic combination of techniques for the best effect. This series of techniques is going to create a layered visual texture that enhances the appearance of your landscape at night. The more focused and intentional your lighting design is, the more time you and your loved ones will want to spend on the patio.
Also, less is more. A single low-wattage light fixture can offer enough light for your purposes so we recommend starting small, and gradually adding lights one at a time until you’ve achieved the desired level of illumination.
Well-Illuminated Ground Surfaces
The patio and walkways need to be illuminated to make sure they’re safe places to walk on, clear of contrasting shadows that could be obscuring obstacles. Single overhead lights won’t be sufficient as they will actually create dark shadows as well as a blinding light should you happen to look up. A better option is to use low-lying walkway lights around the perimeter of the patio and along walkways. These fixtures focus their energy on the ground surface, eliminating dangerous shadows and glare, making a pleasant place to walk around and mingle.
When you’re preparing drinks or food in an outdoor kitchen, it’s imperative that there’s decent task lighting. This lighting technique can come in the form of overhead track lights or lights that are embedded into the backsplash if there’s no opportunity to install overhead lighting.
Once you’ve made a space safer, it’s time to play around with ambient light to set the mood. This can be done with the technique called backsplashing, which involves shining a spotlight at a blank wall or other large feature and allowing the light to bounce back on the surrounding surfaces. Backsplashing can make use of an otherwise idle surface or feature.
Take advantage of a fire feature by planning your lighting scheme around the ambient light from the flame. This fire light creates a dramatic ambience that can reflect and enhance any gathering, both relaxing and exciting. Allow the natural light from the fire to wash over that area with the dynamic reflections of dancing flames. After the fire is out, lighting embedded into the fire feature will light the way and remain unobtrusive during the day.
One of the simplest, yet most exciting lighting schemes for any outdoor living space is string lighting. This lighting technique involves placing tasteful wire lights around the patio. Not only will they create substantial ambient and direct illumination, but they help to make the space feel more magical and lively. These lights can be used on your walkways during parties to help guide guests to where the fun is happening and build on their anticipation. We recommend professional installation if string lights will be hung high in trees or from the home.
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Your backyard is meant to be enjoyed as a place for gathering and relaxing - and not just in the balmy evenings of summer. Even some of the coldest nights can be enjoyed outdoors with the assistance of a fire pit, a fire feature that can make a wonderful impact on your outdoor lifestyle. As you continue your landscape renovation, consider the question: is your Wheaton, IL landscape design missing a cozy touch? A fire pit could be the answer.
Related: Why a Fire Pit Becomes the Prime Destination of the Backyard Patio in Hinsdale, IL
The Basic Structure
Fire pits are masonry structures made from stone blocks, natural stone, or concrete blocks with a stone veneer. The base is arranged in either a circular formation or a square, evoking the most primitive of campfires our distant ancestors used to build. This basic structure of a fire pit has been a successful model for building fires for millions of years, and technology hasn’t needed to change very much. The main idea of the fire pit is that people will be able to gather on all sides to enjoy the warmth and light the fire has to offer.
Fire pits can use wood or natural gas or propane as the fuel. Firewood provides a much more natural, outdoors campfire kind of feeling with all the smoke, boiling sap and water that crackles and pops, and the interactive maintenance it takes to keep a fire going. However, you’re somewhat limited in its placement as a wood-fueled fire pit must be kept away from combustible surfaces.
Gas-fueled fire pits can be controlled with the turn of a dial or using a smartphone app on newer models. Gas does much of the same in a fire pit, yet the cleanliness and safety are attractive features. Some homeowners might enjoy the ease of using a gas-fueled fire pit, while others might want to keep things basic and similar to camping experiences. Natural gas or propane-fueled fire pits can be placed anywhere, although the cost of running a gas line is something to consider.
A Gathering Area
Fire pits are natural gathering places in your backyard. Whether it’s the center of all the action or in a secluded area off to the side, your friends and family will be drawn to the flickering light and warmth. That’s why it’s only natural to plan a good seating area around your fire pit, giving it some decent patio space for people to gather.
You could include some high-backed seat walls in the plan, making the fire pit area the most comfortable place in the outdoor living space. High-backed masonry seat walls also provide some shelter from chilly winds and trap heat in the small area.
Creative and Elegant Masonry
A fire naturally draws the eye, so a fire pit presents a wonderful opportunity to showcase some creativity and elegance in masonry. While the general design of the fire pit should mimic the surrounding landscape masonry features and the home, here you can add some extra flourish to the design and make something truly unique. Consider the outer ring or four-sided surface of the fire pit a wonderful place to put in some extra tiles or contrasting stone. Also, be sure to consider a beautiful and striking stone color for the capstone of the fire pit.
Fires fueled by firewood will lose their energy as the wood is burned up and there will be much less ambient light as a result. Compensate with this loss in ambience by including some soft LED lights under the capstone of the fire pit so no one gets left in the dark.
Related: Warm Up Your Wheaton IL Brick Patio With a Traditional Fire Pit
Don't Let Your Landscaping Hide in the Dark: 6 Outdoor Lighting Trends to Contemplate in Hinsdale, IL
Integrating outdoor lighting into your landscape is one of the key ways to make your outdoor living space and property safer and more beautiful. When a landscape isn’t given proper illumination at night, it can feel scary and unwelcoming. The best strategy of outdoor lighting is to use a mix of strategies, creating a rich visual tapestry that sets the mood and provides a feeling of security. Don’t let your landscaping hide in the dark: six outdoor lighting trends to contemplate in Hinsdale, IL.
Related: Adding a New Fire Pit in Hinsdale IL? Consider These Other Outdoor Lighting Ideas Too
Hard-wired Walkway Lights
The most important lighting strategy in your landscape is one that focuses on safety. Walkways, pool decks, patios, and driveways need consistent illumination on the ground surface in order to make your outdoor living space safe. Instead of using a flood light to illuminate your ground surfaces, opt for walkway lights. The energy will be focused where it’s needed, providing the best visibility of a walking surface. While some areas of the country can easily use solar-powered walkway lights to reduce electricity bills, here in the Midwest we recommend hard-wired pathway lights that will shine no matter if we’ve had weeks of cloud cover (solar lights only operate at about 50-60% capacity under heavy cloud cover).
Updating to LEDs
Now is a great time to update your landscape lighting to use light-emitting diode (LEDs) bulbs; or replace older fixtures with modern LED styles. Traditional light bulbs produce a substantial amount of heat, which is essentially wasted energy in a landscape and must be replaced typically once a year, producing a large amount of glass waste. LEDs are incredibly energy efficient and bulbs typically last around 10 years. Some LEDs can even be programmed to change color and be set to automatic timers accessible from apps on your smartphone.
If you have a pool, you’re familiar with the ethereal blue glow and shimmering waves that wash over the landscape. You can achieve this same effect in smaller water features as well. Fountains, waterfalls, reflecting pools, and more water features will have similar effects. Your landscape will have a more dramatic feel that amplifies the most exciting parties or the most soothing evenings. And, because of the refractive properties of water, the water feature will act as a source of ambient light.
Part of creating a dazzling visual experience in your backyard as well as increasing safety is placing lights in the background. Trees make excellent places for effective lighting. Moonlighting is a strategy that places a light high in a tree canopy and aims it downwards. As the light passes through the leaves, it will scatter and create a rich visual texture that dances in the slightest breeze. Use white light to simulate the soft glow of the moon.
Besides being admired in your nighttime outdoor living space, outdoor fireplaces, fire pits, and fire tables also provide a substantial amount of lighting. The ambient light that comes from a warming fire feature is a primitive experience that attracts everyone. Instead of battling your fire features with light, allow them to light their own space. You can also incorporate landscape lighting into many fire features. Choose dimmable fixtures so you can increase the brightness once the fire is out.
Finishing Touches for a Layered Effect
Identify any overly dark spaces that might create an unwelcoming feeling at night. Place a few (less is more) individual lights in these areas, such as under shrubs, or spotlight a tree, to give dimension to the space without destroying the charm of the night.
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