Friday, November 13, 2009

Let There Be Light


A layered lighting plan can significantly affect a home’s curb appeal, ambience, and safety. Take this home, for example. A new terrace and entry staircase provide gracious space at the front exterior, but adding the right lights completes the overall look. The previously dark steps, which were difficult for guests to navigate, are transformed into warm and welcoming stairs. In the evening, the garden beckons with a soft glow. Now the terrace is much more inviting—encouraging relaxation and entertaining throughout the day and in all seasons. For this home, the first step in the plan was to have a contractor build 12-gauge low-voltage wire into the front porch and install electrical boxes in the brick during the renovation. Then the homeowners installed most of the new outdoor lighting featured here—surface lighting, pathway lights, and floodlights—in just one weekend. With a layered approach, the entire effect proves seamless and truly celebrates the space.

Round surface lighting illuminates the porch’s brick columns. These lights also can be mounted high in an arbor and aimed downward for a soft, tranquil glow.

Pathway lights planted in the ground increase safety by brightening the steps and landing pads. Casting circular pools of light, they work best along walkways and around flowerbeds and low shrubs.

Floodlights placed below several trees provide drama in the scene by highlighting the trees and casting the branches’ graceful shadows on the house at night. Aiming a ground-mounted floodlight upward can create a focal point or add visual interest.

Half-brick lighting built into the brick showcases the round shape of the porch and lights the staircase for safer stepping. These fixtures also can be set in the risers of deck stairs for a similar effect.

Do-It-Yourself Low-Voltage Lighting

8 round surface lights (black, #134636)
6 pathway lights (black, #132597)
4 floodlights (black, #133542)
7 half-brick lights (black, #98677)
transformer (300-watt, Power Pack, #135708)
2 packages of outdoor wire (12-gauge, #157919)