If the words “outdoor lighting” cross your mind this season, it’s more likely you’re thinking about holiday decorating than pathway lights, spotlights and sconces. Holiday decorating is lots of fun, but it’s also short-lived. Once the decorations come down, your yard is left looking even more barren and desolate than before.
But with great outdoor lighting, you can turn your yard into a winter wonderland that glows, sparkles, and shines all winter. The trick is to choose the right kind of lights, and to take advantage of the characteristics of the season to highlight its unique beauty.
Here are some ways that you can use lighting to add a touch of drama, mystery, magic, and shine to your landscape throughout the coldest, darkest, barest months. And none of them involve garish bulbs or oversized lawn inflatables!
Make The Most Of Bare Trees
Just because the lush greens and bold reds are gone doesn’t mean that trees can’t be just as stunning as they were during summer and fall. Bare tree branches can be one of the most visually stunning winter elements available to you, even more so by the light of evening.
There are many ways to illuminate trees, depending on the effect you want to achieve. String lights can be wound around trunks and through branches to create a festive atmosphere. Fairy lights can be strung between trees to add a touch of the magical.
Spotlights placed strategically at the base of trees can create captivating silhouettes and dramatic shadows. This can be especially effective for trees near your house, where shadows can dance and play across the facade.
Choose one or more options for lighting trees, and watch as your yard comes alive with stunning results.
Highlight Water Features
Did you know that you can keep your bubbling water feature or waterfall running all winter long? It takes a little bit of prep work to set yourself up for success, but the results will be well worth the effort.
Underwater lighting is magical any time of year, but especially captivating during winter when your eye so desperately needs something visually interesting to land on.
Light reflecting off water and sparkling as it cascades will add texture and motion to an otherwise still winter landscape. Include spotlights to highlight a water feature like bubbling columns or a pondless waterfall, or add garden post lights near water features to create effects ranging from whimsical to elegant.
And don’t worry if your water feature freezes over! Part of the winter charm of keeping your water feature running is watching the magnificent ice sculptures that form. Take advantage of all that beauty by lighting it up so you can enjoy its unique expressions through daytime and evening hours alike.
Find A Focal Point
When foliage and blooms are few and far between, it’s important to rely on other landscape elements for beauty and visual interest. That’s where a focal point comes in.
A focal point can be _anything_ – a huge old-growth tree, a large boulder, a piece of artwork, an ugly electric box… if it draws attention, it can become a focal point. The trick is to find a focal point that deserves attention and to highlight it.
Choose something that has an interesting texture or shape and light it up. A spotlight placed at the base of a piece of artwork is a great way to both highlight an interesting element and also play with shadows that it may cast against a wall.
You can even use your own front door as a focal point. Creative lighting will add curb appeal, imbue beauty, and serve a functional purpose by guiding family and visitors safely up pathways and toward your home.
Use Color (Subtly)
You don’t need a cacophony of holiday colors to enjoy the transformative effect of colored lighting in your landscape. There’s always the reliable “winter white” but if you want something a little more vivid, try choosing a single color to use as a highlight.
Blue lights are a natural accompaniment to a winter landscape, creating a serene and more natural looking environment. In fact, the term “blue hour” refers to the time of day when the sun has set just enough to cast a naturally occurring blueish twilight hue.
Even if you’ve never heard the term, you can probably picture the shade of a snowy winter landscape at dusk, when whites seem to take on a peaceful blueish tone and the world seems especially silent and peaceful. Snowfalls just seem to beg for blue-hued lights.
If you want to create a festive and welcoming atmosphere, try warm colors in the red and orange range. Placed strategically, warm lights can give your home a “glowing” effect that evokes a crackling fire. What better way to enhance your winter experience than to warm it up with light?
Leave the rainbow of holiday lights behind and go for a more subtle color tone that will imbue winter beauty and give you something to enjoy for the rest of the year, too.
These are just a few ways to brighten up those dark winter hours and bring a unique beauty to your landscape.
If you’d like to explore how outdoor lighting can bring the winter charm to your home, contact us and let’s start a conversation. Isn’t it time you loved EVERY season?