Accent Buildings and Forms Here again, simplicity is best. Use lights around door frames, entry areas, windows, roof lines and dormers. Red Chili lights or white lights are good for this, don't overdo it and stay away from those lights that look like icicles; they make your house look like its melting or on fire! Don't be afraid to use other materials, I once wrapped my house in a 1' wide plastic ribbon and put a bow on the door to make the bungalow look like a package. If you have a portable fire pit, place it in a conspicuous place for a onetime event or party: think Christmas Eve or New Years. Use large candles that are made for the outdoors (buy at Ikea).
Free Standing Elements These can be little tricky because they can be on the roof, on a building, up in a tree, freestanding or on the ground. If they are the flat board type (like reindeer, elves, Santa, sleighs, etc.) white spot lights are best, here again, don't place too close. Wreaths and garlands are usually nailed to a building and should be lit with lights intertwined in them. Be careful if you place things on the roof, I know a guy who spent the better part of night out because his ladder slipped away. Inflatables have their own lights usually, but they will eventually leak.
Nativity Scenes with animals, crosses, menorahs and wire armature animals ( deer, sheep, horses, bear and moose etc.) are another matter; depending on where you live, HOAs' and lots of other factors they have fallen out of favor these days, look into it before you make the time and investment to install them. I will warn you though: make sure they are fastened securely in place. They can "walk" away from your property at night, be moved down the street "to visit their friends" or will be subject to imaginative re-positioning!
My Favorite Local Places There are a lot of great places around Town to see things. Sometimes whole neighborhoods are open for drive-by for the public, the paper usually publishes these around Christmas, I used to and still love checking these out.
My Favorite Spots:
- Kierland Commons and Scottsdale Quarter, great palm trees and simple powerful forms that are very memorable.
- Grayhawk at Hayden and Grayhawk Parkway, spectacular pendant lights and trees.
If you see something you like, take a picture and copy it.
As Oscar Wilde once said:
"Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery".
Enjoy your Holidays and Have Prosperous New Year,
Thaumas P . Ehr, Landscape Architect