Serving the Naperville Community
Keeping your landscape illuminated is one of the many ways of keeping your home safe. Driveway lighting is one of the best ways to create a safe and welcoming atmosphere. However, this doesn’t mean that you need glaring floodlights. Your driveway can also be illuminated at night to showcase the beauty of the home, the front yard, as well as the driveway itself. Here are some options for outdoor lighting to improve safety and beauty along your Wheaton, IL driveway.
Related: Why Adequate Outdoor Lighting for Your Naperville IL Driveway and Front Yard Is So Important
Abandon the Floodlight
One of the most common styles of landscape lighting actually does more harm than good. Floodlighting using a single bright light source will do a poor job of covering an area while using a high amount of energy to do it. It will produce a harsh glare - the last thing you want to be looking at when navigating an unfamiliar driveway. Flood lights also produce contrasting shadows that can obscure obstacles in the driveway. Here are some great alternatives.
Solar-Powered LED Path Lights
Placing solar-powered LED path lights along the driveway provides safety as well as a clear delineation of the driveway. Low-lying lights won’t produce glare since their light is aimed at the ground. The downside to path lights is that very low lights could be obscured by snow; so knee-high lights will be more practical in all but the deepest snows.
When choosing the right path lights, you can go off the grid. Choose light-emitting diodes (LEDs) as your main light source in standalone light fixtures that are powered by the sun during the day, and activate as night falls. This will eliminate energy costs for keeping your driveway illuminated while also adding an elegant touch.
If you have any existing structures such as a retaining wall along the driveway edge, this will provide a wonderful housing for your solar-powered LED light fixtures. You can place a series of lights just under the lip of the cap stone on an existing wall - or if you’re thinking about a new wall, you could build them anywhere into the wall itself during construction.
Another option is to install lights embedded into masonry pillars that run the length of the driveway; the pillars could also serve as posts for a decorative fence.
Spotlighting Landscape Features
Part of creating a sense of depth perception for safe driving up and down your driveway at night is by illuminating various landscape features. You can achieve this with the technique of spotlighting, which uses bright lights near the ground that are angled upwards to show something in its full glory. This may be a gorgeous tree that dominates your front yard, a series of shrubs, a beautiful rock outcropping, or maybe even a statue or a retaining wall. Giving these features proper illumination at night will help create a much safer and interesting experience for visitors.
Leading With String Lights
String lights are typically used to create a festive atmosphere for backyard gatherings, but they may find another excellent use for your driveway. String lights can be placed above the driveway along the edge, both giving excellent, soft ambient light for the surrounding features as well as helping a driver or pedestrians find their way. It’s an excellent welcoming tactic that’s simple to install though you’ll want professionals to install string lights from your home or in tree canopies. Best of all, there is a wide variety of string light designs and styles to use in your landscape that conform with all parts of your aesthetic. Once your guests arrive at night, they’ll already be in awe by the time they reach your doorstep.
Related: Outdoor Lighting Trends to Consider for a Naperville, IL, Brick Patio
Your landscape is the outdoor expression of you and your family and it should be celebrated in its natural and augmented states. Letting the nature of your landscape flourish is important as well as making a place that’s your private oasis in the world. To both add some life and color to your landscape while making it entirely yours, there are some concepts to consider. You can brighten up your landscaping with these five landscape design ideas in Wheaton, IL.
Related: Take a Fresh Look at Your Patio Options With These 4 Landscaping Ideas in Wheaton, IL
Adding Native Shrubs and Flowers
Keeping plants alive and healthy doesn’t need to be tedious and expensive. There is a wide variety of plants native to Illinois that will bring vivacious color to your landscape along with the undeniable delights of low maintenance and minimal watering. Native plants have evolved over millennia to live perfectly in your landscape. Whether you enjoy a riot of color or a serene monochromatic planting theme, there are native plants ideally suited to the task of ensuring year-round bright colors in your landscape.
Diversified Lighting Strategies
Without proper night lighting, even the most gorgeous landscape turns to a dark and dangerous nightmare after night falls. Using one or two spot lights to illuminate your landscape won’t do the job. A mix of different strategies is the most effective. Use light-emitting diode (LED) fixtures close to the ground along walkways and patios to make sure the ground surfaces are safe. Use spotlights and moonlighting to add texture to trees and other landscape features. Use the refractory properties of water to your advantage by lighting your pool and any other water features. Add string lighting above your patio to make things feel a little bit more exciting. Soon, your landscape will have nighttime depth and will attract friends and family whenever they visit.
Xeriscape Unused Sections
Lawns are a treasured part of the American home, but they don’t need to cover every square inch of a landscape. Lawns use a considerable amount of water and unless your lawn is host to daily play by kids and the family dog, you could consider replacing some portion of your lawn with xeriscaping, which is an environmentally-friendly decision that adds multiple benefits to your landscape. Xeriscaping means using water-wise plants (not cacti!) surrounded by a bed of decorative stone (not mulch) to decrease your landscape’s water usage, help return snow and rain runoff to the soil, and create a visually stunning landscape.
Switch to Light-Colored Pavers
Using pavers on your patio, pool deck, walkways, and driveway will create a visually interesting landscape. Pavers can complement any design aesthetic, whether you prefer the clean lines and minimalist approach of modern design, or the warm tones, irregular textures and relaxed look of rustic spaces. Light-colored pavers will reflect more sunlight, making for a brighter space. This could be a good option if your landscape is heavily treed and shady.
Encourage Outdoor Living
Part of spending time outdoors in your landscape is being comfortable. A bright, cheerful space starts with a patio that comfortably houses all of the activities you want to enjoy outside. Bringing some of the trappings of modern life outside may simply be the key to helping you enjoy your landscape. Consider an outdoor kitchen to cook and enjoy delicious feasts al fresco, making great memories with family and friends.
Related: Inviting Landscape Design Elements to Add to Your Front Yard Landscaping in Hinsdale, IL
Your driveway is one of the first landscape features that people see as they arrive at your home, and it is often taken for granted. The design opportunities hidden in your driveway can make your landscape feel welcoming and personal without detracting from safety and utility. Treating your permeable driveway as an important design element such as your walkway and front yard will not only help increase curb appeal, but ease driveway-related drainage issues. Here are five landscape design ideas for a modern permeable driveway in Wheaton, IL.
Related: 10 Creative Outdoor Lighting Ideas to Light Up Your Driveway in Hinsdale, IL
A Retaining Wall with Integrated Landscape Lighting
The light fixtures you place near your driveway are essential for safety, security and a welcoming ambience. Not only do these lights provide a clear visual path for drivers as they approach the parking area, but the added presence of ambient light provides security for your home’s entry as well.
Landscape lighting fixtures need to be strategically placed to provide focused illumination for the driveway surface without ever shining in the eyes of a driver. To accomplish both, fixtures should be placed near the ground and angled downwards. Installing them within a retaining wall is a fabulous way to integrate lighting into your driveway design.
If you have a curvaceous driveway, a retaining wall on one or both sides of the driveway can help guide visitors to your home, especially in wintry conditions. Installing drains within the retaining wall can also help keep your permeable driveway even drier and safer.
A Living Island
For the turnaround at the end of your driveway, you could include an island that features a wide array of colorful flowers and plants to help bring life to your front yard. A living island can be constructed and supported by masonry that blends with your retaining walls and other landscape features. An automatic irrigation system will help give carefully calibrated amounts of water at set times to specific plants to keep maintenance and water usage low; and you never have to worry about runoff from this garden island flooding your driveway, thanks to the permeable pavers.
The traditional American lawn, while beautiful, uses an incredible amount of resources and a careful eye for maintenance. For a more interesting visual texture, consider xeriscaping around your driveway by planting native shrubs; instead of mulch, opt for smooth river stones. The benefit will be a drastic reduction of maintenance as well as the opportunity for creative design. To mimic the permeability of your driveway, gravel or river stones used as the primary surface will help preserve the integrity of the soil, help prevent weed propagation, and allow rain and snow runoff to seep into the ground. A xeriscaped driveway landscape will feel both welcoming and elegant while helping your environment.
Planting a row of cedars along your permeable driveway can give your driveway an estate feel. Cedars can also do double duty in providing privacy (if spaced close together), as well as a windbreak on wintery days.
Adding paver accents such as a driveway apron or inlays can enhance your driveway’s curb appeal. A brick permeable driveway would look stunning with a cobblestone apron; or a flagstone-inspired permeable driveway could be enhanced with tumbled quarrystone inlays.
Since a permeable paver driveway can be installed over a driveway heating system, you never have to worry about prominently-textured pavers getting damaged by snow plows.
Related: How a New Landscape Design Can Better Incorporate Your Naperville, IL, Driveway with the Rest of Your Front Yard
How a New Landscape Design Can Better Incorporate Your Naperville, IL, Driveway with the Rest of Your Front Yard
Your driveway is one of the first things people notice about your front yard so if you want to add more curb appeal, it makes sense to think beyond boring asphalt. Making your driveway an attractive part of your landscape can be achieved with our tips on how a new landscape design can better incorporate your Naperville, IL, driveway with the rest of your front yard.
Related: 6 Inspirational Landscape Design Ideas to Elevate Your Landscaping in Wheaton, IL
Upgrade to Pavers
At first glance - and beyond - upgrading to a paver driveway could be one of the best ways to make your driveway feel like a deliberate part of the design and not just a purely utilitarian space to park the car. The driveway will look less like a means of getting from here to there, and more aligned with its surroundings and the home.
While the upfront cost can be higher, look long-term. Asphalt and poured concrete are a solid surface that will crack and heave over time. Patches look terrible, and the lifespan of these driveways isn’t very long. By contrast, a paver surface can last many decades with little or no repairs (should a paver get damaged, the individual paver can be replaced).
You can extend the life of your paver driveway even more by installing a driveway heating system, which virtually eliminates shoveling or plowing (and creates a drier, safer surface that won’t ice up).
Pavers can be made to resemble natural stone or clay brick so if these are part of your home’s façade, it’s a way to integrate the driveway with the home; or, if your landscape features prominent rock outcrops, your driveway can be made to match the colors and even the textures. The colors are natural, too, unlike black asphalt (and because they’re lighter in color and not a solid surface, they stay cooler on bare feet if your kids like to play in the driveway).
Finally, pavers are an opportunity to reduce runoff - which can be significant from any solid surface! The larger joints let water seep naturally into a special substrate, keeping your driveway drier and easing the load on the municipal storm drain system.
Many driveways are bordered by grass. This creates a distinct line that makes the driveway stand out. But you can take this approach to the next level by creating a strip of lawn or low groundcovers between “tire tracks” made using pavers and bordering the driveway with tall ornamental grasses. This is an incredibly elegant and formal like that will add an estate-like flair, especially to a longer driveway that is lined with trees or a low wall; and again, if you install a driveway heating system you won’t need to worry about landscape damage from snow plows.
Bordering a driveway with a living wall such as cypress also gives your front yard an exclusive feel reminiscent of luxury estates. Layering monochromatic evergreen trees and shrubs with deciduous shrubs, leafy plants and groundcovers results in a lush and inviting look that adds a touch of serenity to the landscape in summer… and glorious pops of fall color.
Vary the height of plantings along the driveway in a repeating pattern (tall deciduous tree, shrub, tall tree, shrub, and so on). It’s a formal look that can be softened by the shrubs’ natural shapes if left unpruned.
Blur the line with ground covers that spill over slightly onto the driveway, making way for a more layered landscape border before transitioning to a lawn.
Related: 5 Spring Landscaping Tips for Your Naperville IL Front Yard
If your driveway is illuminated by a single light set atop a post - or a garage-mounted floodlight - and you feel that look is boring or outdated, then you’ll be glad to know that there are alternatives that look better and perform better, to make your driveway more appealing. Here are 10 creative outdoor lighting ideas to light up your driveway in Hinsdale, IL.
Related: Extend Your Wheaton, IL, Patio Time With These 6 Outdoor Lighting Ideas
Driveway lighting can be hard-wired or solar-powered.
The pros to hard-wired lighting is that you won’t have to replace the fixtures, only bulbs (and with modern LED lighting technology, this is something you won’t have to worry about for many, many years). The cost of adding lighting along the length of your driveway isn’t huge, either up front (the cost of the fixtures plus installation), or long-term. Outdoor LED landscape lighting technology is extremely efficient and bulbs last into the tens of thousands of hours, which translates to worry-free lighting for 5-10 years.
The pros to solar lights is that there is no electricity cost, and no installation cost (many are set on stakes you simply push into the ground); however, they may not have replaceable bulbs, meaning you will have to replace the entire fixture, which could be a hassle if a particular style of light has been discontinued.
1. String lights add a festive flair to your driveway. A series of lights along the length of your driveway offers plenty of illumination, but with a more fun vibe than fixed lighting. The downside is that they will need to be replaced every couple of seasons.
2. Up-down lights at the garage: this chic approach adds curb appeal while adding light to the area immediately by the garage - this is a good solution for a short driveway and adds a focal point for visitors that says, “You’ve arrived.”
3. In-ground lighting: Runway-style lighting integrated into the driveway’s surface (along the slides) can be a dramatic way to add light; the look is unobtrusive during the day, and show-stopping after dark.
4. Post-mounted solar lights: if your driveway has a fence along its length, you can add solar-powered fixtures to each post (no wiring needed).
5. Path lighting. Knee-high path lighting doesn’t just illuminate walkways or stepping stone paths; in fact, you can create an integrated look by using the same lights on your front walkway as you do your driveway.
6. Barn light: add some farmhouse chic to your garage with a rustic downward-focused barn light, to offer plenty of illumination at the garage. You can echo the look at the front door, or even where your driveway meets the road.
7. Add more post lights. If you already have one post light, adding several more along the driveway will add elegance; you can also continue this along the walkway to the front door. Keep them the same style for elegance, or mix styles for a fun boho look.
8. Outdoor-rated rope lighting works in the same way as fixtures integrated into the driveway’s surface, although it’s a more temporary solution as the ropes will need replacing every couple of seasons.
9. Pillar lights: if your driveway entrance is defined by masonry pillars, you could continue this look along its length with attractive pillar lights. This is another technique that could also be used to create a warm welcome along your front walkway.
10. Add drama and interest with spotlights integrated into shrubbery, rock gardens, or other landscape features that line the driveway.
Related: Why Adequate Outdoor Lighting for Your Naperville IL Driveway and Front Yard Is So Important
The right driveway material and design can enhance the aesthetic appeal of your property, reduce maintenance efforts and replacement costs, and even lower your home’s eco-footpring. If you are looking to spruce up your driveway this year, here are 6 driveway trends for 2021 in Wheaton and Hinsdale, IL, areas.
Related: Are Your New Landscape Design and Driveway Winter-Ready in Hinsdale IL
Lighting your way home is a nice welcoming touch. Give your driveway a modern flair by installing inlaid lighting along the edges of the driveway - completely unobtrusive at night and gently guiding the way after dark, it’s a chic alternative to the single light-on-a-post from the last century.
You can also disguise light fixtures by installing them in masonry retaining walls, and lining one side of your driveway with a low wall gives it a chic “welcome to the castle” look that boosts curb appeal.
Personalized Paver Layouts
The beauty of modern design is that you can do whatever you want when it comes to using materials. A random paver laying pattern will give your driveway a relaxed and fresh look. If you want to make a statement, a bold geometric or asymmetrical pattern will add a modern touch and individual flair.
Or, opt for a minimalist look, with a poured concrete driveway with subtle accent pavers that add style. Jazz up an asphalt driveway with the addition of a cobblestone apron at the entry to the driveway (and echoed with a cobblestone walkway).
Driveway Heating Systems
Pavers, and even asphalt and concrete, can be made much safer and virtually maintenance-free in winter with the installation of a driveway heating system (this can be done while installing a new driveway).
You may have seen concrete or PVC grid systems that you can lay on a driveway and fill with gravel or grass. These are effective at channeling rainfall and snowmelt into the ground. They are ideal for rural driveways but leave something to be desired in terms of design, making them less than ideal for suburban applications.
A great way to minimize runoff and naturally replenish the aquifer is to use permeable pavers. These are concrete pavers that look just like any other concrete paver and can mimic the look of brick, cobblestones, flagstone, or granite. The joints between the pavers are larger, and filled with a permeable jointing sand; and, the driveway is set on a special substrate that encourages water to permeate through to the soil below.
Aside from the eco-friendliness of these systems, paver driveways are attractive; and if you’re concerned about damage from snowplows, you can install a driveway heating system that will eliminate the need for plowing; and any melting snow will seep into the ground rather than overwhelming the municipal storm drain system.
Ornamental trees such as magnolia, cherry, or maple lining the driveway give your driveway a “designed” look that’s eye-catching and glamorous - even when the trees are still young. Tall and stately cedars give your driveway a luxe Mediterranean villa appeal. Be careful to plant spreading trees far enough away from the driveway to avoid scratching vehicles.
Natural cobblestones have been used for thousands of years - in fact, there are Roman cobblestone roads in Europe that are still in use today! While the initial investment is higher, and you’ll need to invest in a driveway heating system to avoid scratching the cobbles with plows, it’s a one-time investment because cobblestones are virtually indestructible, not to mention beautiful!
Related: Why Choose Pavers Over Asphalt for Your Naperville, IL, Driveway
Choosing the right material for your Naperville, IL, driveway can be a tough decision. Both popular contenders, asphalt and concrete pavers, offer a set of advantages and disadvantages. However, choosing concrete pavers can be the better decision in most residential applications, giving you an aesthetically beautiful driveway that is environmentally friendly and ultimately more durable than asphalt.
The biggest advantage of using modern concrete pavers for your driveway is the versatility they offer. Pavers can be found in an almost limitless array of shapes, sizes, textures, and designs. This makes it easy to find the right paving stones to fit in perfectly with the front facade of your home and any existing masonry in your front yard. For more traditional homes, concrete pavers that mimic natural stone are an excellent option. This is also an excellent way to bring the old-world charm of cobblestones or clay bricks to your driveway. For more modern homes, you can choose a sleeker paver with clean lines and subdued colors that will provide a more minimalist look. Or you can go the middle route of using pavers based on natural stones, such as bluestone or sandstone, that can work beautifully in most designs.
Related: Best Summer Landscape Design Tips for Your Lisle Backyard
Interlocking concrete pavers also offer the ability to further enhance your design with intricate laying patterns. Laying patterns can be used to integrate a variety of pavers of different sizes to give your design more depth. Moreover, you have more freedom in creating borders and accents that can make your driveway really stand out. In contrast to this amazing design versatility, asphalt driveways can seem quite drab, giving you few options of customizes their appearance.
Permeable variants of concrete pavers also offer a more environmentally friendly solution to rainwater management. While asphalt driveways are typically impermeable, which causes water to flow off them and into stormwater drainage systems, permeable pavers feature a more penetrable surface. This allows water to seep into the driveway and assimilate back into the soil. This water eventually joins the groundwater and helps to maintain the groundwater levels under your property, completing the water cycle and providing a more eco-friendly solution.
Lastly, we come to the major reason why most people choose asphalt for their driveway. Asphalt is typically favored due to its longevity. However, concrete pavers installed by an experienced contractor can produce a driveway that can be significantly more durable than asphalt and last decades without the high-maintenance of an asphalt driveway. The secret lies in ensuring that the underlying layers of aggregate provide a solid foundation for the pavers, as well as the weight of vehicles. Moreover, modern construction often utilizes a synthetic mesh grid that does an excellent job of ensuring that there is little to no sinking of the surface by evenly distributing the weight over the soil. The pavers themselves are highly durable, featuring high strength concrete and multiple color layers that prevent them from fading from sun exposure and spills.
Asphalt is also associated with having a lower cost. However, while paved driveway can be more expensive to install, their desirability and durability can get you a better return on investment by raising your property’s value. Interlocking pavers are also easier to replace if damaged or cracked, whereas asphalt requires unsightly fillers or complete replacement if cracks develop over time.