Night Lights

Well-designed outdoor lighting adds curb appeal to your home. It creates a safe environment for walking, so homeowners in the mountains don’t stumble upon a bear or mountain lion.

“Up-lighting on mature trees will give a sense of the visual canopy, while downlighting can showcase the landscape by highlighting the ground level features,” says Gregg Mackell of 186 Lighting Design Group. When planning outdoor lighting, you not only have to think about how it will look, but also how it will feel when you’re in the area. “If you walk through a series of downlit areas, you will feel like you’re in a spotlight,” says Mackell. He suggests lighting a path with low-level lighting, then highlighting surrounding vertical features for a feeling of comfort and safety.

Another consideration is how the lighting looks when you’re inside the home. Reflections from interior lights can mask the beauty of the exterior lighting. Mackell suggests a plan for both the interior and exterior so they work together. He says the ability to dim certain interior lights will lessen the reflection enough that your eyes will want to look right through the glass. “That’s where you get that magical connection between the inside and the outside,” says Mackell.

Tips for Well-Designed Lighting
Lighting for Safety:
Stairs, water, bridges, changes in elevation and other features that may be a tripping hazard should be properly lit. In the mountains, it’s important to light the outside for safety so homeowners are not surprised by animals.

In the city or suburbs, you might want to light areas around the house or along pathways to illuminate any potential hiding spaces for intruders.

Lighting for Aesthetics:
Look at the landscape from viewpoints you will have as you experience the space.

Look at the landscape from pathways, from a dining room, from a patio or a street. From these viewpoints, determine which features are worth lighting.

Most deciduous trees look good when illuminated with uplights near the trunk, while evergreen trees look best when lit from far away.

In a modern hardscaped area, LED or fiber optic paver lights are great options.

Step lights can add function while enhancing the look of stairs. Choose the style wisely for a dramatic effect.

Controlling glare is important when considering any outdoor lighting. Glare causes your pupils to shrink, which makes everything around the source of glare appear dark. Using fixtures with glare shields or hiding glare through landscaping can help create a glare-free environment.

One final consideration when developing a lighting plan:
Codes. Many areas have adopted the intent of the International Dark Sky Association. Navigating these regulations can be tricky. A professional lighting design company is your best bet to ensure you meet the regulations required for your area as well as get the look you want for elegant, unobtrusive outdoor lighting.

186 Lighting Design Group, Denver

303.534.5350 |