Here in sunny Southwest Florida, homeowners spend a lot of their time enjoying the outdoors, which is why having a beautifully lit yard and home is so important to them. Great landscape design is not just about providing brightness on the exterior of the home, it’s about creating a warm, inviting atmosphere and sometimes even drawing attention to, or away from, certain areas of the yard.

David Deakin, who owns Venice Lighting Company, says that besides beautifying the exterior of your home, there’s another reason you should consider integrating good lighting into your landscape design.

“It’s a security feature, too,” he said. “A well-lit yard with landscape lighting is much safer.”

But many of the techniques that security experts suggest for exterior lighting, like using motion-activated floodlights for covering large areas and making sure your doorways are illuminated, are not necessarily aesthetically appealing. Luckily, there are plenty of options available that will not only help keep your yard and home more secure, but are also artful and beautiful.

Landscape architect Kirk Brumett, who works with ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance and Design, says one of the most secure and lovely lighting elements his team employs is called “uplighting,” which highlights the branches of trees from the bottom.

“We use that for the major trees in the yard,” he said. “Also, sometimes we will do downlighting from the trees, which provides a moonlight effect.”

Using garden stakes along the driveway and pathways is also a nice touch. Many of those come in adjustable, LED models, which is cutting edge technology you can control with your smartphone. Dining up in Tampa and forgot to turn on your exterior lights? No problem. You can turn them on and adjust the brightness remotely.

Brumett said that though they may initially cost a little more than typical light bulbs, in the long term, LED bulbs are the most cost-efficient option out there, lasting about 10 to 12 years.

“Besides how long they last, the big advantage of LED over halogen systems is that the lights used to get really hot, but these don’t,” he said. “We’re also doing a WiFi-enabled controller, which is nice because you can operate it from your phone from anywhere in the world.”

Lastly, one exterior lighting element that has never gone out of style is the lantern, which can be mounted on the side of the home or placed atop a garden-style stake or longer pole. The copper, brass and black ones are still the biggest sellers, and they can even be purchased with special bulbs that, when the front of the lantern is closed, looks exactly like a flickering flame. That design element is also available in path lights, if you’re looking to continue that theme around your landscape.

Deakin, who moved his business into a remodeled 9,000 square-foot facility in Nokomis, said that when he and his consultants are working with clients and helping them decide how to light their lawns, they tell them it’s OK to use their imaginations.

“You can use anything you want to give your outdoor areas a lot of interest,” he said. “With exterior lighting, you can be as creative as you want to get.”

Venice Lighting Company is located at 909 S. Tamiami Trail, in Nokomis. Call 941-484-4205. ArtisTree Landscape Maintenance and Design is at 160 Pond Cypress Road, Suite B, in Venice. Call 941-488-8897 for more information.

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