Landscape lighting first made its sparkling debut in higher end residential properties thanks to Frank B. Nightingale. Nightingale’s passion for light and nature appropriately earned him a loyal following as the “Father of Garden Lighting.” His precursor light fixtures were a bit bulky and expensive and utilized 120-volt power. But, these ancestors of modern-day lighting paved the way for a powerful evolution in landscape lighting.
Fast forward to the present and we are continuing to enjoy the foundational elements Nightingale created several decades ago, while capitalizing on modern advancements in landscape lighting design and installation. The newest trends in this field would make Frank B. Nightingale shine bright with happiness.
Read on to learn more about the latest trends in landscape lighting and see for yourself what the Father of Garden Lighting would surely smile about today.
#1. Integrating Lighting with Hardscape Structures
Whether you are looking to add landscape lighting at the beginning of an outdoor renovation or have decided to add it mid-project, consider joining the hardscape structure lighting movement.
According to the National Association of Landscape Professionals, hardscape structures are elements like stairs and steps, patios and decks, fire and water features, and pergolas and arbors. These structures are made out of “non-living materials” (stone, wood, concrete, etc.) and can enhance the beauty of your softscape structures, which are the living flowers, plants, and trees that occur naturally on your property.
The idea of “less is more” applies to lighting your hardscape structures. You want to keep your lighting features hidden from view, while also offering a functional and aesthetically pleasing lighting design.
Let’s examine patio stairs, for example. Whether your stairs are made out of brick, concrete, or wood, they often pose a safety hazard at night, especially in Minnesota winters. This is why it functionally makes sense to literally light the way for your guests. Instead of using traditional downlighting, consider using the newly popular “floating light” technology. This essentially means you “build in” low-voltage lighting under the stairs themselves, which gives the illusion that the stairs are floating in mid-air. Not only does this enhance safety, but it also establishes that classic “mood lighting” homeowners strive for in a backyard oasis.
The floating lighting trend can be used on other hardscape structures like benches or fire pits for the same practical and enchanting effects.
#2. Solar-Powered Lighting
According to Better Homes & Gardens, “there’s no better way” to light your outdoor living spaces than by using solar lights. Solar lighting is an eco-friendly trend in landscaping lighting because it uses the sun’s natural energy during the day to charge the lights for the night. By the year 2030, “clean energy technologies” will become staples in the homes of Americans. Why not integrate some of these lighting technologies now so you will be ahead of the curve later?
Take that lovely garden path you just created with interlocking pavers. It is in desperate need of in-ground lighting, so the graceful curves of the path can be seen at night. Solar lights are a great fit because they are wire-free (i.e. easy installation!), low-maintenance (i.e. they turn themselves on!) and they can combat even the toughest weather conditions. And, of course, they are sustainable! It’s a win-win– for both you and your garden path.
#3. Warm LED Lighting
The incandescent light bulb, the soft, yellow glow of which has made it a preference for many Americans, has unfortunately been linked to higher energy bills and climate changes. This is why many states are issuing mandates to swap out these ancient bulbs for more efficient LED light bulbs.
We all know that the sterile, blue light of the first LED lights was about as pleasing to the eye as staring directly into the sun. But, thanks to modern lighting technologies, we now have warm-toned LED lighting. Even Bob Vila, a home and garden authority, recommends using warm LED lights for structures such as decks. By installing a series of these lights “recessed into grooves” into the surface of your deck, you create a much more pleasant ambiance for family and friends and you increase the longevity of your lighting fixtures. The warmer glow of the current LED lights is also more friendly to our nocturnal wildlife companions.
From sustainability to efficiency, durability to innocuity, the reasons for installing warm LED lights are many. It’s a trend for a reason!
#4. Color-Changing LED Lighting
Just as the color of nature changes with the midwest seasons, so too can the color of your landscape lighting. Stay seasonally relevant by using color-changing LED lighting instead of the standard white or yellow hue. It’s Halloween. Why not switch to orange lighting? It’s Christmas. Why not try your hand at green and red lights? With trending color-changing LED lights, homeowners can make such ambiance changes with a click of a button on their phone. Online apps make it easier than ever to adjust such preferences on a whim.
In addition to ease of use, this style of bulb is popular for both artistic and practical reasons. It’s ideal for those still working from home, those who want to exercise, those who want to relax, and those who want to entertain.
The multi-contextual nature of the color-changing LED light is a big reason why it’s one of the leaders in modern lighting technology.
#5. Bluetooth Control
In addition to color, you can also manipulate the timing and brilliance of your lighting using Bluetooth technology. The days of making such adjustments on the transformer itself are coming to an end. It’s time to embrace a new era, one consisting of convenience and dependability.
Bluetooth technology boasts the ability to offer a universally compatible and secure connection (without the bulky hardware). Simply install “smart bulbs,” which will sync to your phone’s Bluetooth, and magically become the conductor of your own lighting show. Guests will be delighted with your visual symphony and you will be forever gratified knowing you made the “smart” call going with smart bulbs and their Bluetooth control capabilities.
Architectural Landscape Design: The Smart Call
Looking to make another smart call? Consider contacting Architectural Landscape Design today to speak with a qualified representative who can help answer your outdoor renovation questions, including any inquiries about the perks of current landscape lighting advancements. We’ll help you build on Frank B. Nightingale’s vision to light up your night the right way.