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Trend Watch: Outdoor Lighting 2018

Trend Watch: Outdoor Lighting 2018

Let’s face it: there’s nothing like sitting outside on a summer evening. Whether it’s just dining with the family al fresco, or throwing a huge backyard party, you certainly want your outdoor living space to look its best. You’ve purchased the rocks, the flowers, and the mulch. What about the lighting?

“Landscape lighting provides homeowners the opportunity to extend their living space outside of the home, enhance the pride in their residence while adding an element of safety and security,” Says Tim Bitterman, Director, Product Management, Lighting Systems at Kichler Lighting.

Setting the mood and highlighting the features is key to a successful landscape. So to help achieve that, what are the outdoor lighting trends for 2018?

Scott Smid, an Energy Efficient Solutions Specialist with Metro Electric Supply, says the big trends this year are traditional path lighting, and uplights to highlight trees, shrub, and columns. He adds bistro lighting is also a great way to add ambiance to an outdoor space. “LED tape light is also gaining traction on the exterior, especially in outdoor kitchens and covered patios. Additionally, RGB (color changing) bulbs are becoming more widely available and popular with both residential and commercial applications. Automated landscape systems are becoming the norm, especially app-based control.”

Bitterman adds, “Products that aid in creating family and entertainment spaces are also well-received, such as portable LED lanterns.”

As with anything in technology, the evolution in lighting just in the past year has created more options for landscapers. This year, the addition of changing bulb colors and dimmers is a big hit.

For example, a landscape accent light with variable lumen output technology that allows for onsite, electronic light output adjustment. This allows a trade professional or homeowner to adjust the light output to fit the needs of the property, simplifying the planning and adjustment phases of a project.

At Metro Electric Supply the hot item is color-changing bulbs. Automated systems allow the user total control, from dimming to coordinating colors based on themes (professional sports teams, holidays, etc.)

But will color-changing bulbs stick around, or are they just a trend?

“This will certainly last into next year and beyond,” Smid says. “The technology will continue to improve [efficiency and longevity], but I do not believe this will be outdated over the next couple of years.”

Bitterman agrees, “Lighting that can do more in one fixture should continue to evolve. It’s an exciting time in the industry with ongoing advancements in the LED and accompanying technologies.”

So now that we’ve established the trend, what about the cost? Will the trends cost us more? The answer, unfortunately, is maybe just a little.

Smid reminds us that landscape lighting is not a necessity, so as the economy improves and people have more disposable income, they may be more likely to explore this type of project.

At the end of the day, it’s all about making the homeowner’s outdoor space a place that they want to spend their time.

Bitterman adds, “We hear from professionals in the industry. Their favorite projects are the ones that provide the homeowner with a sense of fulfillment or pride, be it enhancing an outdoor living area so that they can spend more time with family and friends (think a swimming pool, fire pit or outdoor kitchen area), highlighting their home exterior that elicits “wows” from those passing by (and can lead to referrals for the lighting professional), or perhaps lighting a customer’s personal sculpture or yard art.”

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Diane Duenez

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