Seven Tips to Brighten Up Your Home’s Landscape and Garden | Entertainment/Life

Gumbo weather in Louisiana — it’s fall for the rest of the country — means yards are filling up with bales of hay, pumpkins, mums and crotons.

As our days get shorter and darkness arrives earlier with the end of daylight saving time on November 6, many homeowners are beginning to rely more on their outdoor lights to highlight vacation landscapes and challenging trails. and provide some security. But before you turn on the spotlight, you might want to take a look at the variety of options on the market, and a good place to start is technology.

“Low-voltage LED was a game-changer,” said Joseph King, owner of Landscape King in Baton Rouge. “They don’t use a lot of watts. Where before you had to calculate your voltage drop, and now as long as you have a transformer that can handle the amount of watts in your whole installation, it’s relatively easy.

He explained that small LED path lights use about two watts of electricity, an easy load on a small transformer that can handle up to 120 watts. For the do-it-yourselfer, there are low voltage LED landscape lighting kits. Some offer color-changing bulbs, accessible through your phone, making it easy to light up for the holidays.

Uplights on trees create a dramatic effect, according to SiteOne Landscaping Supply’s Micky Manual.

“You may already have holiday lighting in your landscape where it may be green and red for Christmas, or it may be orange for Halloween, or whatever,” King said. “It’s a really fun thing to play. I even installed it at home.

The top three concerns for homeowners are safety, security and ambiance, according to local landscape lighting experts. And there is a way to integrate all of these aspects with the right amount of light that isn’t too bright.

“Don’t overdo it,” said Mickey Manual, account manager at SiteOne Landscape Supply in Baton Rouge. “You don’t want it to look like an airport. You want to have a good balance of lighting.

“We try not to overdo it with the lighting,” said landscape architect Michael Percy, of CARBO Landscape Architect in Baton Rouge. “I think sometimes the temptation is to over-light a project at night, and things can start to look a little artificial. So our approach is, where we can, to mask the light so that you don’t see the light source. »

The tall oak trees are the highlight of many South Louisiana yards and a great starting point for light at night. Manuel said customers are often looking for ways to light up their oak trees, “to bring life to their biggest oak trees that may have been there for years.”

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File photo. Properly done lighting can give a yard a magical feel.

“We start with the trees, and if we have pathways or walkways, we start thinking about how we can use that tree to light up those elements so people can see at night,” Percy said.

Lights mounted in trees that shine downward mimic the glow of moonlight, casting shadows on the ground. But shadows can also play a role in the overall lighting plan, according to King.

“Sometimes you light up something like plants or a taller holly or something. If there’s a wall behind it, it’s going to cast light on the wall but also cast a shadow on the wall, and that’s a cool aesthetic, and there’s a lot of things you can do to play with and in draw gratifying looks,” he said.

When it comes to safety, King suggests lighting areas in the yard where there is a “slope transition,” which includes steps, ramps, or places that can cause someone to trip and fall. Path lights are a must-have for homeowners, but Percy suggested a unique option to light the way.

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File photo of the backyard of a New Orleans home at dusk as the cobblestone lights come on, with spotlights on the murals.

“We try to avoid lane lights, though, like running lights straight along a path. Typically what happens is that it looks like an airstrip, and sometimes those lights are knocked down, and they look crooked. And your eye really picks up on that. You can hide the lights in the trees and hit them from that approach,” he said.

Trees, columns, statues, walls, flower beds – everything in your garden can shine at night. Outdoor living spaces and patios also become extensions of the home when the light is right.

“We like to hang out on our back patio,” King said. “I have a 2-year-old child, and all the neighbors come. It’s good for all of them to come and hang out in our yard because at night everything is lit up for the kids to run around and play, and we can keep a better eye on them.

Lighting your home isn’t always a one-size-fits-all concept, but having a game plan before installation is always a good idea.

“It all depends on what you’re planning,” Manuel said. “That’s really what you want to bring to life.”