I usually find that my clients’ main priority with their exterior lighting is creating “kerb appeal” at night. Or, if the property can’t be seen from the road, making it look fabulous as its glimpsed here and there from the driveway up to it. However, it can be a fine balance between a property looking great at night and being so bright that it attracts the “wrong kind” of attention – subtlety has to be the watch word.
This subtlety should be continued into the other areas of the garden so that the planting, statuery, garden buildings and hard landscaping that my clients love to look at during the day are selectively highlighted to look great at night. I treat the outside like the inside – variations in light and shade create drama.
For many, lighting the perimeter of their gardens satisfies that primeval desire to be able to see the boundaries of their territory. Backing this up with movement triggered flood lighting, all outside areas can be covered, creating a feeling of security and safety. This can be especially important for those who are scared of the dark or who are frequently alone at night.
These days it’s not at all rare to have no window treatments and if you don’t need them why bother? Unfortunately, acres of glass that provide free light during the day transform into a wall of “black mirror” at night which many liken to a huge flat screen TV. Providing focal points beyond the glass draw the eye through it, fading the black mirror away.
Safety around a property is another important reason for having exterior lighting. Well planned landscaping lighting helps people get safely from the road to the front door, from cars to garages or front doors and from houses to the bins when taking out the rubbish when it’s dark. Areas that need particular attention are narrow and steep paths, steps and changes in level.
For me, one of the best things I can do for my clients is equip them to appreciate their outside spaces earlier and later in the year and later at night. So many of us count our gardens as extensions of our living space, wanting to use them for everything from simple mid-week family meals, dinner with friends to full blown parties. There are so many options out there, not all relying on the need for an electrician, so why rely on someone jumping up and down all the time to keep switching the security flood lights on!