The latest trends in landscape lighting take advantage of emerging technologies and refined techniques to increase a home's perceived value. Here, experts weigh in on what's important now.
Paul Gosselin, President of the Association of Outdoor Lighting Professionals (AOLP) and President of NightScenes Corp., has noticed more professionally designed landscape lighting, which he attributes to the housing market.
“Since homes now have lower values, people are trying to improve and update them,” Gosselin says. “Improving the outdoor lighting extends their outdoor hours, and according to a National Assn. of Realtors study, can increase a home’s perceived value by 20 percent.”
The biggest trend right now in landscape lighting is LEDs, says Tommy Herren, better known as the “Lighting Geek” and frequent guest on HGTV and DIY Network.
“LEDs have come a long way in matching the color and intensity of what consumers are used to seeing,” Herren says. “They’ve gotten so good that I can put in an LED and an incandescent and the customers can’t tell which is which.”
While the cost of LEDs is still a little high, Herren says people have to take into account the energy savings and long life, as well as the smaller transformer and less wire that will be needed for installation.
Brooke Perin, Certified Lighting Specialist at Wolf Creek Co., says LEDs are ideal for decks and seat walls because they give off very little heat, so people won’t burn themselves if they brush up against them.
Another little-known benefit of LEDs is they don’t give off infrared or UV rays, which means they don’t attract mosquitoes or other bugs.
One current trend in landscape lighting is more subtle lighting, according to Gosselin.
“People are starting to go with softer lighting with more of a romantic feel, which means moving away from high voltage fixtures in favor of smaller, low voltage fixtures,” Gosselin says.
LEDs give customers more flexibility, Herren says, as far as wattage increments and color.
“There are RGB fixtures that we can dial to match the exact color we want,” Herren says. “It’s becoming more decorative instead of just functional.”
Perin adds that LEDs’ smaller size makes them ideal for small spaces around decks or water fixtures.
“With good landscape lighting, you don’t see the light source, you just want to see what is lit, and that’s where the artistry comes in,” Perin says.