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Sunday, April 14, 2024

Out of the Dark

I do not know how many times I have said the weather we are experiencing this summer is absolutely amazing. The days have mostly been pleasant — great times to sit outside. As fall approaches, we will be blessed with many more days that are just begging us to get outside and relax.

Although lighting is an important landscape element to consider throughout the year, it can become more important as the daylight hours get shorter. Lighting extends the time we spend outside. There are many options with adding outdoor lighting ranging from very simple to more elaborate displays. Not only does lighting accent a feature or brighten a space, it also can help with security as well as illuminate dark areas of your yard.

Most homes have some sort of exterior lighting by the front door, garage, or on a post in the yard. These are all generally high-voltage lighting options that are used when a brighter light is needed. Not only can the lights be functional, they also can add an extra architectural touch during the daylight hours.

To illuminate pathways, accent the architecture of the house, or to highlight a feature in the landscape, low-voltage landscape lighting is a simple solution to add an extra layer of light. They are simple systems that have a transformer that plugs into a normal outlet and then wires that run between the various lights you have chosen to install. Over the past few years, low-voltage lighting has been giving way to LED light bulbs, which is great because LED requires less energy and less maintenance.

Candles, lanterns, and torches might not be elements you would use nightly, but they can be some of the simplest ways to enliven a space for a party or an event; often the flames can help to control the insects that can sometimes be a nuisance.

Although Christmas/holiday lighting is up only for a month or two, it is a great way to brighten up a space for the holiday season. String lights can used throughout the year, too, around patios or tree trunks. Restaurants use this design technique to add a bit of character and charm to an outdoor dining area.

— Brian Wildeman is a landscape designer at Landscapes by Dallas Foster, Inc., 825 Canal St. He can be reached at 812-882-0719 and dallasfoster.com.

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