`Landscape Logic: Lighting up long, dark nights of winter
November 19, 2013
The recent time change is the final reminder that the dark days of winter are upon us. Many of us pull out of the driveway in the morning in partial darkness and pull back into it at night in total darkness. And the later we get home, the more gloomy and insecure it feels.
Balancing seasonal darkness with energy efficient landscape lighting can lift our spirits during the winter doldrums, increase security and not be hard on the energy bill. It's also good to know that the latest technology does not increase night sky pollution. Lighting can be as sustainable as it is secure.
Outdoor lighting checklist
Here's a checklist for outdoor lighting:
• Are sidewalks and steps well lit for evening guests? Often, we enter and exit our homes via the garage and forget to check the path that brings guests to the front door. With icy months ahead, steps and walks should have good lighting for both safety and liability reasons.
• What about your address? Can people see it clearly from the street? Is it visible on the mailbox — or obscured by shadows?
• Could your yard come alive in the winter night if the interesting shapes of trees were prominent or if ornamental grasses could shimmer in soft light?
• Would your home be more secure if lights were strategically placed around it? Law enforcement experts have long maintained that light deters break-ins.
• Will your home be going on the market soon? Outdoor lighting is one of the top items for curb appeal when selling a home.
Easy and efficient
Security, safety and ambiance are all good reasons to bring outdoor lighting into your landscape.
Here are more things to consider:
• Outdoor lighting is a simple retrofit for existing yards. The process of installing low-voltage landscape lighting can be done relatively easily in existing landscapes. If you plan to install a new landscape or renovate an existing one, it will be somewhat more cost-effective to do the work along with other installations.
• It can be done easily during the winter months, as long as the ground is not frozen. That means if it's installed early in the winter, there's immediate gratification and enjoyment of your efforts all season long.
• It's a sustainable option. Landscape lighting is low-voltage and takes advantage of the latest LED technology. It uses up to 80 percent less energy than traditional lighting and LED bulbs last considerably longer. This gives the satisfaction that you're going even greener in your landscape.
Tonight, when you pull into the driveway, imagine what a little light might do.
Becky Garber is member of the Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado of which Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company, is a member. You may contact them at 970-468-0340.