The love of being outdoors lures us to drift from afternoon to evening to nighttime enjoyment of our patios and backyards. That's partly because outdoor living resonates with our primal needs to connect with nature that get thwarted as we fight for space on the freeway and work in hermitically sealed offices.
At the end of the day, that lounge chair on the patio by the pot of petunias is ever so inviting. And when we can stretch late-day relaxation into the nighttime hours, it's all the better.
But if your patio or deck is well lit and the rest of your yard is pitch dark, you know that uncomfortable feeling of sitting in light while being surrounded by darkness. The cozy ambiance of soft lighting and candles where you relax is simply undone by the darkness that stretches beyond. That can feel a little creepy.
The solution, of course, is to add more light — but not too much and not too bright. Adding light to outdoor living areas has to be done strategically and with subtlety.
Lighting up interesting areas of the yard makes the whole landscape more enjoyable after dark — and it cures that uneasy feeling of being surrounded by total darkness. Adding better light to the area by the grill means more food prep can be done outdoors, and that's also a convenience factor with fewer steps back and forth to the kitchen.
Outdoor lighting is one of the more recent bells and whistles for landscaped areas — but it's also one of the most affordable options. It can be installed cost-effectively in a new yard and it can also be retrofitted later for not much more expense.
If you're thinking about lighting up the night around your home this season, think about security and safety as well as atmosphere. Notice whether people can see your address clearly at night, whether the sidewalk — and especially steps — are well lit. Outdoor lighting increases home security, and it's one of the top items on the list for curb appeal to consider if your home is about to go on the market.
Courtesy Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado and Neils Lunceford, a landscaping company based in Silverthorne that is a member. You may contact them at (970) 468-0340.