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The Bright Ideas Blog

Design inspiration and outdoor lighting tips and advice for homeowners

Entertaining and Outdoor Lighting

Summer is the time for getting out of the house: firing up the BBQ, inviting a few friends over to swim in the pool, spreading out on a lawn chair, and spending time with family on the back patio are common ways people enjoy the warm weather. 

Summer is also the time to host parties and throw weddings. Our back yards, our personal retreats, are worth all the hard work we put into them when we get the chance to entertain. Delicious food, lovely decorations, and wonderful company are all important parts to creating a backyard bash. The other key ingredient that should never be overlooked is the thing that allows our parties to go on even after the sun has gone down - beautiful lighting. 

Outdoor lighting, the corner stone to any late night soiree, is the foundation to ensuring that the magic of bringing people together isn't lost just because it's getting late. There are many elements to lighting that can be performed to help set the mood and create an exciting atmosphere. 

There are all kinds of lighting approaches that can create a festive atmosphere for your big events. Imagine having your deck, patio, or pergola dressed up in subtle accents of light. Providing function without sacrificing beauty is the key to a quality outdoor lighting experience. 

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Lighting Your Party for Beauty

To throw out tons of light for an event, you could have a powerful 400 Watt lamp post installed in the middle of your yard. This would throw out ample light for your guests to see everything. But most people don't want their yards to feel like a football stadium. Lighting your landscape isn't just about LIGHT. Low voltage landscape lighting is about creating shadows and contrast. The stimulating lighting designs stick to the ol' saying: "less says more."

Imagine bathing your deck or patio with a soft moon light. Mounting fixtures high up in trees or on the soffit of your home and aiming them downward can help to create this. When down lighting is done with a gently diffused light, it can recreate a serene magic that mimics the effects of moon light. What's more beautiful or festive than moonlight? The moon can be an incredible mood setter. The only problem is that the moon doesn't always cooperate. While we do want our lights to be inviting, we don't want them to scream or be too loud. Moon lighting is a stunning and subtle approach to illuminating your outdoor living area. 


Stringing the Festivities Along

Cafe Bistro lights (sometimes called string lights or festoon lights) are a very effective lighting approach to creating a festive atmosphere. Strung over a patio or perhaps up inside a pergola, bistro lights provide soft ambient illumination. They have become very popular these days. People are stringing up cafe bistro lights today for their upcoming parties and backyard events. 

But be mindful when purchasing the LED version of these lights from a big-box store. Just because they are LED doesn't mean they are going to be what you want them to be. The color temperature of these bistro lights often have a cool white/blue hue. This cold color temperature isn't desirable for creating an inviting atmosphere. Warmer temperatures should be used. 


Creating a Scene

It's important to think of lighting in terms of scenes. Ask yourself: "Why light?" Down lighting a patio with moon light can create a beautiful functional light. What will really set the stage for your patio is creating a backdrop, lighting around your patio area adds depth and brings it to life. Up lighting a few trees, for example, will go a long way towards adding ambiance and beauty to your surroundings. 

Creating a scene can be as simple as gently washing a couple of your favorite landscape features in the correct light. This could be that Japanese Maple or Weeping Cedar you love looking at. Splashing a little bit of light on these pieces can go a long way towards setting a stage for an event taking place. 


Be it a small get-together or a neighborhood pool party, landscape lighting really makes all the difference in the world. If you have a vision for lighting your property, talk to an expert. 

Aren't sure where to get started, or would like to get some ideas that might work well for your specific home, give us a call at (801) 440-7647 to schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form on our website, www.utahlights.com

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Landscape Lighting Design