Lighting Up in Style

by Patrice Peterson

Warm evenings around the fire pit. Star gazing from the dock. Breezy nights near the lake. Embracing summer often includes the pleasure of outdoor nighttime activities.

As an increasing number of home and lakeshore owners follow the national trend of expanding and transforming their landscaping and outdoor living spaces, they are also seeking new and innovative ways to keep them lit up after dark.

A well thought-out and successful landscape plan can help create those desired spaces on almost any property. Adding the perfect mix of lighting to the plans can further enhance your satisfaction of the outdoors experience. Landscape plans can be incomplete until you’ve added lighting.

It’s more than functionality. It’s more than safety. It’s even more than beauty. The right kind of lighting can be functional, safe and attractive, but can also set a “mood” by turning a comfortable outdoor space into a stunning display of design and color.

“Sometimes it’s easy to ignore the lighting aspect when developing an outdoor area, but lighting is a significant element in a successful landscape design,” says Peter Boyle, founder of Boyle Landscape Architects in Fargo. “Even minor additions or changes in outdoor lighting can make a huge impact.”

New Uses for Standard Technology

One minor change Boyle mentioned came to him after many nights of being “blinded” by porch lights turned on following a fun evening of roasting marshmallows by the campfire. He now regularly suggests that customers add dimmer switches to control the brightness of porch lights. “When you want them to be blinding, you can,” he explains. “But when expecting guests or sending them home, you can dial it down. It’s a new outdoor usage for technology that’s been around for years.”

Light Years Ahead

Whether simple or complex, it’s important to figure out what kind of difference outdoor lighting can make and what kind of impact it can provide to the atmosphere of your outdoor living spaces. “We’ve come a long way from Pagoda lights,” Peter adds.

Solid advancements in LED technology and computerized smart-house systems make the future of lighting look even brighter for design versatility in outdoor living.

Trendsetting Light Bulbs

One reason that landscape lighting has become so trendy is the popularity of LEDs (light-emitting diodes that produce light from electricity). Compared to incandescent light bulbs, LEDs last a long time, do not break easily, and are ecologically friendly since most of the energy creates light, not heat. Although the upfront expense can be higher, they are a good fit for outdoor applications because of their high efficiency, longer lifespan, and lower maintenance. Their reliability has continued to improve over the years, and they are now available in a broad array of colors, shapes and sizes that can fit into any landscape lighting plan. It’s easy to see why LEDs are “all the rage” as outdoor areas are enhanced and illuminated.

Smart Technologies

LEDs also fit easily into the growing trend of computerized and programmable “smart house” technologies, or “intelligent” lighting systems. We are only beginning to see the direction and potential of these systems as more options become available and they are fully integrated to the point that the controls are hardly seen. All the lights still need to be wired, but with a transformer connection, there’s a module that communicates with a smartphone or tablet through an app. They can be programmed for both the inside of the house, along with the landscaping, and homeowners can control everything with the touch of a button. Even better news: It’s now possible for programmable remote systems to be added to existing systems.

Lighting from Down Under

Take underlighting to new places. Think under-cabinet lighting, but think about taking it to the outdoors:

– Under the deck

– Under deck benches

– Under deck steps

Or you could integrate it into an outdoor kitchen, where a fully developed lighting design should always be considered, but is often overlooked. (It’s not good to wait until you go to cook some dark night and realize there isn’t enough light.)

Add Drama on the Water

From a purely functional standpoint, a well-lit dock and boat lift area is important for coming and going on watercraft at night. By truly illuminating that area with LED lights, you can extend your sense of space out to the water all night long. Some great ideas to dramatize a shoreline area include:

– Installing high-powered LEDs

underneath the entire length of

the dock

– Placing colored LED lights inside the

boat cover

– Creating a water wonderland with
colored, submergible lights

Lighting in Style

A functional light at the front door? A spotlight at the end of the dock? Outdoor lighting covers a broad range of options, but whatever lighting needs you are currently contemplating, be sure to consider the value it can add to your outdoor areas. Landscape lighting is a trend in itself as more homeowners see the way it can impact their homes, their landscaping, and their lifestyle. ~L&H


Maud Lake Marvel

by Jackie Jenson | Photography by Henry Hempel

On a winding road framed by tall swaying trees and glistening lake views, sits the distinctive lake home of Dave and Mary Morinville. Situated on a gently sloping lot on the sunset side of Maud Lake in Becker County, the Morinville abode is more than a weekend getaway, says its owner. It is a family retreat with generational roots.

“My family has been coming to this spot for more than 80 years. My grandfather bought the original lot back in 1932,” explains Dave Morinville.

Once an adjoining 50-foot lot was added, a plan for a new home came sharply into focus, says the Morinville’s and with the help of bhh Partners, Planners/Architects, their lake home dreams soon became reality.

Quartz countertops and barn wood floors warm the kitchen filled with all life’s modern necessities.

“When we decided to build, we needed a little more space. We bought the lot next door and found a way to have the cabins removed for a nominal cost,” explains Mary Morinville. Having previously built two homes, the Morinville’s were looking to do something a little bit different with this house. Tapping Tomlinson & Sons for their construction needs and daughter/designer Sara Kiedrowski to add cohesive design touches, soon everything began to take shape.

“We wanted to create a home, not a showplace,” offers Mary.

“We wanted a place for our kids and their families to hang out,” shares Dave Morinville. “Sara helped capture the look we were hoping to achieve.”

Next up though, the entire team would need to work together.

“I recognized we were in great hands after Dana Tomlinson took me aside to show me some of Sara’s 3D cupboard renderings which he said were fantastic,” relays Dave Morinville. “At this point, I knew everything would work out.”

Taking their daughter’s design suggestions to heart, the Morinville’s were able to accomplish one of their major goals with their home build: infuse as much of an old cabin character as they could into their newly enlarged dream home.

The open plan of the main living spaces keep light flowing through the home while beams, posts and a change in color denote a separation of the rooms.
The open plan of the main living spaces keep light flowing through the home
while beams, posts and a change in color denote a separation of the rooms.

Filled with numerous modern finishes such as quartz kitchen countertops, reclaimed tobacco barn woods floors, and master bath with tile flooring and in-floor heating, the true charm of the Morinville’s Maud Lake home is its many nods to its nostalgic past ─ starting with how it sits on the lot. This serene lake home has been crafted to look like it has been placed on its perch for decades.

“It was important for the house to look like it belonged here,” shares Sara. “We did not want it to look out of place, like a house you’d find on a city block or the Florida beach.”

The Morinvilles achieved the home’s vintage exterior look via earth tone color palette and a craftsman style combination of siding materials including horizontal lap, shingle siding and timeless timber accents, notes bhh architect Tony Stoll. The floor plan itself also played a big role in recreating the past. Meeting all their wish list criteria while utilizing the shallow lot where the house would ultimately sit actually provided a unique design “bend or break”, notes Stoll thus adding interest to their roadside roost.

Preserving memories all the while creating a place for new ones was a must for the building project. In addition to the home’s classic exterior look, the Morinville residence is filled with numerous black and white photos, each capturing a timeless family memory that occurred at the lake

“It was important for the house to look like it belonged here.” — Sara Kiedrowski

Keeping history alive at the lake, though, was a truly serious concern for the Morinvilles, Sara notes. For instance, they included elements from their old cabin sun room.

“We incorporated knotty pine paneling and used salvaged stone for the fireplace surround from the stone that was recovered on the property when the old cabins were removed,” describes Sara. “We even had the sun room screen door set to slam just like our old one did. That is how serious we were about keeping things reminiscent of the old cabin.”

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