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Now that summer is in full swing, it’s time to start thinking about your current outdoor lighting design. Is it really working for you? Does it provide all of the key ingredients for keeping you safe AND enjoying your yard? Most yards have an outdoor lighting design that’s a little sparse – or way too overpowering. That’s why additions like landscape up lights or deck lights can help you create an outdoor space that’s both inviting and cozy, yet light enough for parties and late-night swimming sessions.

Here are some terrific ideas for outdoor lighting that NJ homeowners will love.

Landscape Up Lights: “What in the world are up lights?” you might ask. They’re exactly what they sound like: lamps that direct light up (from the ground level) as opposed to down (like a lantern would). Incorporating up lights in your outdoor lighting design does more than just create ambiance; it also promotes safety, by proving enough illumination for walkways and patios. Plus, they tend to be a bit gentler looking, so to speak. If you’re concerned that adding landscape up lights to your yard might cause your electric bill to rise even higher than it has, consider purchasing solar lights. After the initial investment, they provide free light.

Landscape Spotlights: Gone are the days of harsh, glaring lights. The new designs of landscape spotlights mostly highlight specific areas of the yard, like a moonscape garden or stone hardscapes. If you have a fountain, pond, or other water feature, landscape spotlights can create a very cool effect by “bouncing” off the water, making it sparkle even at night.

Landscape Deck Lights: Forget the blinding power of the flood lamp. A lot of designers of outdoor lighting in NJ are building the lights directly into the deck itself. You can have them embedded right into the stairs (which is both cool looking AND safe) or placed on top of the rails, which creates continuous illumination without having to use a tremendous amount of power. As with landscape up lights, deck lamps can also be solar powered, thus saving you money in the long run.

Landscape Walkway Runners: The cool part about running lights is that you can use almost any type you wish. Walkway lights illuminate walkways – period. Their only purpose is to help people stay on the path to your pool, patio or home. People who live in areas with a lot of trees or who have ornate landscaping often find that lighting up the walkway not only keeps guests from trampling their lawn, but that the lights are fairly inconspicuous during the day – which means that they won’t take away from the overall design.

Landscape “Live” Light: Live light is NOT a collection of fireflies – we promise. For a softer, more natural look, you may want to think about a fire pit. A professionally landscaped fire pit not only looks great when not in use, but provides a centralized location for after-dinner relaxation. Many newer, more modern outdoor lighting designs include fire pits because they’re relatively easy to care for, don’t require much out-of-pocket expenses (after the initial cost, of course), and promote small, intimate gatherings.

Light it Up with Landscape Up Lights and Spotlights

So how do you start adding landscape spotlights or beautiful brick fire pits? Begin by calling a professional. Adding solar-powered landscape up lights might be easy enough, but building a fire pit or installing stair lights shouldn’t be attempted by the average homeowner. Outdoor lighting designs that require tapping into the electrical wiring of the house need to be installed by someone who’s both licensed and trained in that area. Outdoor lighting designs created by professionals also tend to last longer, because the expert know which types of lamps work best with the overall design of your yard – and which companies make the best product.

So if your yard is looking a little dark, it’s time to call a professional contractor to plan some new outdoor lighting. NJ homeowners benefit not only from the practical use of their yards, but also from the increased resale value of their homes. Designers and contractors will develop a plan that works with your landscape and with your budget, so that you’ll get the most use out of your yard for years to come.