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Lighting the way

December 16, 2020 -  By
Landscape lighting patio (Photo: Linda Oyama Bryan)

Light it up Warm, yellow hues such as those pictured here are currently all the rage. (Photo: Linda Oyama Bryan)

Jan-Gerrit Bouwman, senior landscape architect at Grant & Power Landscaping in West Chicago, says when it comes to landscape lighting trends, landscape lighting is the trend.

“Lighting is everything because it makes your yards very friendly at night in the summer and the fall,” he says. “It’s also nice to look at it from the inside out and the outside in.”

Grant & Power’s focus is primarily on residential design/build services. The company also offers residential maintenance, commercial maintenance and snow and ice removal.

Crayton Caudill, vice president of Redwood Landscape in Cedar Lake, Ind., agrees with Bouwman. Landscape lighting used to be an add-on but has become a must-have, Caudill says.

“Landscape lighting used to be an upgrade that people would add on if they had it in the budget,” he says. “They didn’t want to spend the $3,000 to $4,000 on it at first, but now I’m seeing it grow a lot.”

Redwood Landscape offers residential landscape design and installation, lighting, irrigation and maintenance, plus commercial landscape design and installation, maintenance and snow and ice management.

Caudill says this increased interest among his residential clientele has been strong for the past two to three years.

“The popularity has grown as people become more educated about it and understand the value of it and understand it adds beauty to the front of a home, landscape or outdoor living space,” he says.

Caudill and Redwood Landscape have launched Lumin8 Outdoor Lighting, a holiday lighting and décor installation company, to capitalize on the increased interest in outdoor lighting and the growing holiday lighting market.

All LED

Bouwman says Grant & Power only uses LED lighting for the company’s landscape and hardscape lighting projects. However, clients still want warm, yellow hues, not the blue hues of traditional LED lighting.

“You get so much more light (with LED) for a smaller system,” he says. “While the (LED) fixtures are more expensive, the whole system lasts longer. It’s actually, in the end, way cheaper.”

Nontraditional lighting

Caudill says homeowners no longer want the traditional uplights on houses and path lights. They look for lighting level with the surface, such as hardscape lighting in seat walls, outdoor kitchens and staircases. Redwood Landscape uses in-ground products from In-lite Outdoor Lighting.

“People don’t always want to see the tall lights,” he says. “Lighting flush with landscaping that softens up a pathway — I’ve seen a growth in that.”

In terms of the shape of the lights, Caudill says homeowners are looking for outdoor lighting that reflects the trends in interior décor and lighting.

Increasingly, homeowners have approached him looking for the farmhouse style of lights with pendants and black or bronze finishes to match the farmhouse style that’s popular in homes.

Homeowners want a modular, modern look to outdoor lighting with square and rectangular features to give their outdoor spaces clean, straight lines, he says.

“A lot of people are liking more modern looks with black fixtures or brass,” Caudill says.

Taking control

Homeowners are also in the market for Wi-Fi-enabled smartphone controls for everything, including landscape lighting, experts say. Redwood Landscape uses the Luxor system from FX Luminaire. Another popular option is Kichler Lighting’s LED controllers with Wi-Fi capability that users can adjust on their own.

“You can play with the brightness on some of them, which is nice,” Caudill says. “A lot of people like that.”

He adds that a full Wi-Fi lighting system may be more expensive to install because the Wi-Fi-enabled lights designed to change colors and brightness are a more expensive product.

“For a Wi-Fi system, it is a little more expensive because the lights are more expensive,” he says. “For an actual Wi-Fi timer, it’s minimal. I don’t charge any more for them. The product might cost me $5 or $10 more. I have seen how people are willing to pay a little more for lights that are adjustable. It’s really just an app you download.”

Christina Herrick

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1 Comment on "Lighting the way"

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  1. My friend wants to make his backyard visible to people who pass around his area at night. I like your suggestion of looking for a lighting system that you can control in the comfort of your hands. This way, he won’t need to go through the hassle of activating them manually.