Landscape Logic column: Brighten the night sky without hiding the stars
We’re still in the long, dark days of winter. In the morning when we pull out of the driveway, it’s dark — and often the same when we pull back in at night. It feels gloomy and even insecure.
The good news is, we don’t just have to endure seasonal darkness. There are cost-effective and energy-efficient solutions to brighten the gloom, welcome us home at the end of the day and make us feel more secure in our homes during the long, dark nights of winter. And the best news is that we can brighten our personal environments without adding light pollution to the night sky.
The newest LED technology for outdoor lighting provides light where it’s needed without creating pollution. As low-voltage lighting, it is also energy efficient, so it won’t substantially raise your energy bill. Finally, it is a relatively easy retrofit around most homes that can even be done during the winter months as long as the ground is not frozen.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
The visual you get as you pull in and out of the driveway will give you a good read on whether more light is in order around your home. Here are a few more things to consider:
Can people see your address in order to find your home at night? This is a strategic place to have light for obvious reasons.
Are sidewalks and steps leading up to the entrance well lit for guests? Will they be able to see snow or ice in order to avoid it?
Would security around your home be improved with more light in critical locations? According to law enforcement pros, a well-lit home is a major deterrent to break-ins.
Will you be listing your home for sale? Realtors will tell you that outdoor lighting is on the top 10 list for curb appeal when selling a home.
Could you improve winter interest in your yard by letting grasses shimmer in soft light or by highlighting an interesting shape or architectural element? Lighting extends the enjoyment of these special features.
CHOOSE A GREENER OPTION
Low-voltage LED lighting uses up to 80 percent less energy than traditional lighting. LED bulbs also have a much longer life, which adds to their convenience factor by requiring less maintenance. Finally, they can brighten our homes without polluting the night sky and that keeps the stars shining bright for all to enjoy.
Becky Garber is a 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.
Paul Cuthbertson set out by himself around 3 p.m. Friday from the trailhead that leads up to the Polar Star Inn, according to his father, Mike, but never made it to the popular backcountry hut as a late-spring snowstorm moved in.