You’re probably ready to start relaxing and entertaining outdoors during the day and at night. For the latter, you’ll need strategically placed lighting for safety reasons. But there’s no reason why your lighting can’t be both functional and stylish.
Matt Blashaw, the popular HGTV and DIY host of Yard Crashers, Money Hunters and Vacation House For Free, has teamed up with the makers of Philips Hue smart lighting. Freshome asked Blashaw (who is also a landscaping expert and realtor) for some tips to help transform your outdoor spaces with the latest lighting available today.
“Make sure you use lighting that’s specifically designed to withstand the elements. It should be outdoor-rated,” Blashaw tells Freshome. There are a lot of different types of outdoor lighting, so how do you know which should be used in which applications? Blashaw offers a quick guide.
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“Install pathway lighting to create an inviting path up to your front door, spotlights to enhance structures and create subtle moods and lightstrips under your shade structures to transform the area into the perfect entertaining space,” Blashaw says. He also recommends swapping out your exterior wall lights to add color and drama.
“No matter what kind of light your home requires, from the driveway to the front door to the patio in your backyard, lighting is a great way to transform your space.”
“Pathway lighting is perfect to define walkways, add safety and connect your outdoor spaces visually,” Blashaw says. “Space out your pathway lighting to get the proper amount of coverage. I like to leave about 6 feet between lights.”
“One of my favorite lighting elements to install in a yard are spotlights, but you should be thoughtful about placement,” Blashaw says. He recommends that you pick a few of the most visually interesting plants or trees to illuminate. Then, use other types of lighting in planters to balance the effect. “This will provide visual definition to your space and not wash out all of the detail your yard has to offer.”
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He says that spotlights can be placed either in front of or behind the trees in the landscape. “Each position creates a completely different effect,” Blashaw says. “Lighting from the front will enhance the plants’ natural texture and cast a silhouette on any structure behind them for even more visual interest.”
“Lighting a tree from the front with two spotlights on either side will enhance the texture of the bark and leaves,” Blashaw says. “I will sometimes install the spotlight on the ground at the rear of the tree in order to separate it from the rest of the landscape and set a dramatic mood.”
If you want to make a large yard seem cozier, Blashaw says you should only light the elements that are closer to the living space. “Don’t light trees and shrubs that are too far in the distance without adding any lights in between them and the living space,” he recommends. “I like to use spotlights in the planter beds and bollards on the pathway that closely interact with my main living space.” To achieve the best effect, make sure that you’re also properly maintaining your lawn.
“Lightstrips are the perfect way to create a one-of-a-kind event in your yard 365 days a year,” Blashaw says. One advantage of lightstrips is that Blashaw says they can be shaped to fit the contour of any garden bed or defined space in your yard.
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“I love to install them right against my planters to add a one-of-a-kind look and make them sparkle,” he says. “Add them to the planter beds in front of your house, too, to turn up the curb appeal and define your landscape.”
“You can’t forget about finding the right light to highlight the facade of your home,” Blashaw says.
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“Add lights to each side of any front door entryway to give your guests a welcoming entrance,” Blashaw advises. In addition to providing safety, wall lights can also be used to create the desired ambiance. Here, your color choices are important.
These lighting tips can help you bring your outdoor spaces to life. But if your home isn’t ready for summer, check out this list of interior and exterior maintenance tasks that you need to tackle ASAP.