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Outdoor Landscape Lighting: What’s Trending for 2020


Outdoor landscape lighting throughout the Midwest is growing in popularity and creative designers at Ryan Lawn & Tree are pulling out all the stops to showcase the architectural beauty of our customer’s homes and landscaping. And why not? You spent time, energy and money creating that pristine landscaped lawn, trees and plants around your beautiful home — it should be seen even after the sunsets! Your landscaping takes on a new dimension when outdoor lighting is properly placed and expertly installed. With advances in technology and lowered costs, here are some outdoor landscape lighting trends we’re prepping for in 2020.

What Is Outdoor Landscape Lighting? Home with outdoor landscape lighting from Ryan Lawn & Tree.

Outdoor landscape lighting is the illumination of both landscaping (such as plants and trees), hardscaping (such as patios, stairs, fire pits), and your home. It integrates the features of all three of these elements and is one of the most important considerations in your outdoor design. Outdoor lighting should be designed to highlight the best features of your yard and landscape, add drama to your home, and provide a secure path to move about outdoors when it’s dark.

Why Do I Need Outdoor Lighting?

Outdoor landscape lighting provides several benefits that bring both ambiance and security to your home. When planned and designed properly, outdoor lighting can be an invaluable addition to your landscape. Benefits of outdoor lighting include:

  • Safety. Lighting pathways can help you and guide your family and your to your front door and around your home by lighting the curves and obstacles along the paths. 
  • Aesthetics. Outdoor lighting can increase the splendor of your home and create an outdoor area where you and your family will love spending time.
  • Security. Well-lit properties deter criminal activity and offer families a sense of security.

Types of Landscape Lighting Outdoor Effects

Attempting to design an outdoor landscape lighting plan for your home may seem overwhelming. Get started thinking about what might work best with this quick list of the different types of landscape lighting effects for outdoors.

    • Up Lighting. Spotlights and wall lights are used to shoot light straight up, highlighting a tree trunk or canopy, or your home. 
    • Silhouetting. Hiding the light behind a tree or plant can offer a dramatic effect for highlighting shapes.  
    • Shadowing.  Opposite of silhouetting, the light is pointed at an item and placed between the primary vantage point and that item it’s pointing to. The idea is you would have a flat wall behind the item being lit in order to catch the shadow you create. 
    • Moonlighting. Like its name implies, this light, placed high in a tree, shines down like moonlight washing the tree branches and ground below. Trees with open branches and evergreens create spectacular shadows with this lighting method.
    • Grazing. Think of this as less like cattle eating grass and more like scratching your knee on a fall! Lighting using this technique is placed close to a flat surface and aimed straight up or down to cast a dramatic light and shadow across that surface. It’s often used on stairs and walls with textures or patterns. 
    • Washing. To provide a more ambient, well-lit area we create this lighting effect by using a wide-beamed light between the main vantage point and the surface to cast a soft light over a large area.
    • Path Lighting. Lights placed along a path and either shining straight down or, providing an overall glow with bollards. The word bollard is actually a nautical term for the post that ships tie up to on a dock. 

Outdoor Landscape Lighting Trends To Watch for 2020

Using the lighting techniques described above, you’ll see there are a million ways to light your landscape. The landscape experts at RYAN work with clients to create a unique look that reflects your own personal taste and lifestyle. Here are a few trends for the coming year you may want to consider when planning your outdoor landscape lighting:

  • Changing Out Old Lights for Outdoor LED Lighting

The development of LED lighting is taking over the world of outdoor landscape lighting for both practical and cost-savings purposes. With LED lights, you can eliminate the dangers of the light bulb getting hot enough it could burn someone who touches it. And, an energy-efficient LED light emits only 10 percent of the energy of a halogen light. An average LED light uses 8 watts of power, while halogen lights average about 90 watts. Outdoor LED lighting is also popular for the way it makes landscapes brighter. For all of these reasons, we expect to be busy trading out old outdoor lighting fixtures for new LED versions. 

  • Installing & Expanding Home Outdoor Lighting

Not only has the availability of LED lighting reduced the energy costs of outdoor lighting systems for homeowners, the cost of outdoor lighting fixtures has decreased 15 to 20 percent in the last few years. These two cost-savings have combined to spur homeowners to go all out when it comes to hardscaping their homes with outdoor lighting. Those who never had outdoor lighting are installing it for the first time. Those who previously only lit their paths or maybe had a few corner remote-activated flood lights for security are expanding their existing lighting systems to the entire circumference of their homes and including landscape garden lighting and uplighting around their house. Some are even adding lighting to the second story of two-story homes and lighting the trees on the edges of their property to create more depth. 

  • Mimicking Commercial Lighting Uses 

You’ve likely enjoyed those large Edison-style bulbs hanging from cords above the framework on an outdoor patio at your favorite bistro. That look is now affordable and available to homeowners and they are requesting those permanent installations above and around their own home patios. 

  • Exchanging White Bulbs for Colored LED Lights

Like the past trend of colored bulbs for inground pools, colored LED lights are finding their way inside homes and also to the fixtures that light landscapes, home facades and outdoor patios. Some homeowners are opting for color-changing lights that automatically fade from one color to another for an eye-catching display. The Christmas holiday is a perfect time to try out seasonal color changes for your outdoor lighting fixtures. And it’s a great time of year to grab your RYAN Pros for some one-on-one outdoor lighting planning. 

  • Adding Online Lighting Controls

With the invention of the Cloud, homeowners are now able to control their lighting from anywhere there is Internet. Landscape lighting experts like Ryan Lawn & Tree are able to design lighting plans that establish zones of lighting so that you can turn on, off and dim certain sections of your lighting any time from anywhere. Of course, these same controls allow you to automate your lighting system so you can set the lights to display automatically every day.

  • Using Bollard LED Lights For Path Lighting

In 2020, you’ll see homeowners trading in their airport-runway-looking path lights for a more subtle and prettier bollard LED lighting display. Oftentimes, we see homes with path lights that are too close together and shine such a bright light that it draws attention away from the more beautiful areas of your home. Landscapers like RYAN with expert knowledge of wattages, angles and placement requirements can replace those unsightly path lights with bollard LED lights. Bollards are often made of steel in a variety of shapes and cast magical shadows on the ground that not only light your path but provide unmatched beauty for your home day and night.

Get Professional Quality Outdoor Landscape Lighting from RYAN

Don’t feel overwhelmed—there are a lot of types of lights and a lot of spaces to place them. At Ryan Lawn & Tree, we not only care for your lawn, we design and install custom outdoor lighting systems throughout the Midwest that highlight the beauty of your landscape using the latest in energy-efficient and internet-based technology.

All our lighting installations come with a 5-year warranty. With landscape lighting locations in Kansas City, Wichita, Springfield, and Tulsa, you’ll find a RYAN Pro standing by for your call to schedule a free outdoor landscaping lighting consultation. If you have an upcoming project you’d like help with, call us at 855.216.2293 for more information, schedule a free consultation, or feel free to simply fill out a contact form. We can’t wait to create the best outdoor landscape lighting experience for you!