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Featured Article

Light Up the Night

In this season of dark days, seek light.

Article by Jana Kemp

Photography by Jana Kemp and referenced websites

Originally published in Boise Lifestyle

December is a season of dark days, long nights, and hopeful hearts. What better time of year to look for light! Think about the magic of neighborhood lights this time of year – did you find a smile on your face?  This time of year is perfect for creating joyful light in your spaces and for seeking light in your travels around town. Whether your home or office space could use more light, options abound.

Permanent Outdoor Lighting brings safety, pathfinding, landscape magic, and delight in every season, especially during winter months of shortened daylight. Joy and delight are available every night of the year depending on your permanent outdoor lighting features. Think about the uplighting on trees that makes you smile. Reflect on the shadows you’ve seen cast in yards and on buildings that added surprise and romance to passerby views.

Safety: Wondering whether your structures have the right lighting for personal safety, theft protection, and overall safety? Neighborhood Watch groups can provide information about residential lighting. Lighting companies can also provide suggestions for your home and business.

Pathfinding: Have you ever fumbled for your own keys at the front door? Or had visitors stumble in the dark to get to their cars after an evening together? Pathfinding lights illuminate sidewalks, paths, and driveways to make clear where humans and cars can safely walk and explore.

Landscape magic: Uplighting trees creates magical glows in front and back yards. Lights on special garden or lawn features such as statues, sculptures, or water features add magic to your yard as well.

Light pollution: Light pollution is a real consideration and potential arena for complaint. However, it is manageable with today’s exterior light fixtures. For instance, a Boise neighborhood complained to a nearby business about their warehouse lighting shining into houses all night long. The business took the “please reduce the glare into our homes” request seriously while maintaining security lighting for their parking and warehouse entrances. The newly installed lights shine down onto the ground rather than out into the neighborhood. Plenty of light is provided, yet it no longer keeps the neighbors from restful sleep. Light pollution is a real concern for neighborhoods and communities.

Just look at the “night sky” designations that have been established for those wishing to see the night sky. Idaho was the first state to receive a United States International Dark Sky Reserve (in 2017). Idaho’s Dark Sky Reserve is 1,400 square miles in the Sawtooth Mountains – just a daytrip from the Treasure Valley to be ready for nighttime viewing.

 Subdivisions: Entrances, gateways, and water features announcing subdivisions often include lighting that showcases the investments made to differentiate the neighborhood. Some subdivisions add temporary lighting seasonally at their entrances and clubhouses to celebrate holidays.

Temporary Lighting showcases personality, highlights milestone celebrations, and features seasonal décor. Remember the purple, orange, and black lights you saw at Halloween? December is the season of Christmas lights, Hanukkah candle lighting, and rooftop lights.

Interior lighting: Childhood memories of candles (electric that is) in windows warms the soul. Inside lighting includes candles, light fixtures, lamps, and even seasonal affective disorder (SAD) lights provide ways to bring light inside when the darkness outside prompts animals – and some humans – to want to hibernate for a season. Explore the lamp, light, candle, and string-lighting you can safely include in your interior spaces.

Seasonal Lighting – Take a Tour:

Neighborhoods – Pack warm blankets and hot cocoa containers along with some snacks. Drive slowly through neighborhoods near and far in the Treasure Valley. Find delight, whimsy, and surprise on each block. Some families have turned these drives into annual traditions, even once the kids have left home.

Idaho Botanical Gardens – Winter Garden aGlow. Decades of winter decorating at the Idaho Botanical Gardens bring joy to all ages. Buy tickets in advance.

Whether inside or out, now is the time to seek light and light up the night!

Jana Kemp enjoys light that illuminates and inspires. She is an author, a media personality, facilitator, presenter, speaker, writer and change agent covering Boise, Garden City, and Eagle, Idaho. 

  • Landscape lighting illuminates dining and relaxation spaces.
  • Riverside Hotel, Garden City
  • Candle light for dinner, for warmth, for glow!