An Easy Way to Improve Curb Appeal

Posted by — May 26, 2005

An Easy Way to Improve Curb Appeal

Beautiful trees, gardens and landscaping are a huge source of enjoyment and home beautification. But according to lighting experts, a little outdoor lighting can markedly increase the value of the investments homeowners make in their landscaping.

"Outdoor lighting is an easy and cost effective way to make a dramatic improvement to your home's landscape," says Curtis Hogan, president of Nite Time Decor. "Not only can you enjoy the landscaping after dark, but the lighting itself creates an elegant, unique atmosphere."

Outdoor lighting not only adds warmth and beauty, but also valuable curb appeal. According to the Associated Landscape Contractors of America, landscaping can increase the value of a home by 15 percent, and can allow homeowners to recoup 100 to 200 percent of their investment.

"Landscaping is one of the first things people notice, so there's no reason to let some of the most beautiful features of your home and yard be shrouded in darkness half of the time," says Hogan. "In fact, this first impression is so important that some Realtors estimate that 95 percent of house shoppers will not even consider a house that lacks curb appeal."

Hogan offers this advice to homeowners for how to use various lighting techniques to create a beautiful night environment.

Uplight to create depthA light on the ground pointed up toward an object is perfect for showcasing a beautiful tree, sculpture or an architectural feature like a gazebo or arbor. Setting an uplight behind an object emphasizes that object's silhouette, while setting an uplight in front will cast an interesting shadow on the yard behind it. This not only highlights the object, but also creates a layered look, extending the yard.

"We all look forward to spending time outdoors during the warmer months," says Hogan. "Think about the extended enjoyment you will get by lighting the landscape."

Downlight for safety, security and aestheticsAnother technique is downlighting, or moonlighting, where lights are mounted high above eye level. When light comes from above, the effect looks natural. Mounting lights high in trees or on walls will cause light to shine down through tree branches, creating a unique, layered look. Illuminate a flowerbed by mounting a downlight closer to the ground on a tree trunk, fence or wall.

"Downlighting is also an effective way to illuminate spots where someone might stumble or dark areas that may look inviting to an intruder," says Hogan. "And the elegance of the soft light will add a look all its own."

Add a third layer of lighting with path lightsSmall, low-voltage lamps create a third layer of lighting in your yard, and also can be used to effectively line a path to help you and your guests safely navigate through your yard at night. Placing lights under railings, benches and stairs can help eliminate accidents and increase the usability of decks, porches and patios.

"Landscape lighting is less expensive than painting or remodeling, but can deliver powerful and dramatic results at a fraction of the cost," says Hogan. "The right outdoor lighting bathes your home and yard in a warm glow, enhances your home's charm and adds curb appeal all year long. What better way to increase the value of your home?" 

-ARA

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