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Lighting up your front yard for Christmas

by Jane Smallman, All About Lawns Columnist

The snow and ice of the northern winter landscape can look very pretty in the sunshine, but on those gloomy afternoons and evenings when the sun has gone down, some well-placed outdoor lighting can brighten up even the grayest front yard.
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Adding Visual Interest to the Winter Landscape

If you are planning to install electrical outdoor lighting in your front yard this festive season you will be continuing a tradition of landscape lighting that began before the end of the nineteenth century.

The first time a Christmas tree was ever decorated with electric lights was in 1882. It belonged to Edward H. Johnson, Vice President of the Edison Electric Light Company (later to become General Electric). He had his red, white and blue Christmas bulbs made especially for him.

By 1903, the invention and sale of strings of lights enabled the general public to embrace the new trend, and soon both indoor and outdoor Christmas trees were decorated with colored bulbs. Boston was one of the first cities to brighten up its winter landscape by starting to use outdoor Christmas tree lighting in 1912.

Lighting Up Your Front Yard

The tradition of decorating both public spaces and our own front and back yards with lights is now well established. Many people enjoy extending their Christmas decorating in this way while bringing some festive cheer to the neighborhood.

If you want to brighten up your front yard's wintry landscape this year with some seasonal lighting there are plenty of ways to do it.
  • Strings of white or colored lights hung around any evergreens in the garden will provide a traditional look.
  • A well-placed spotlight to highlight something of particular interest can be used for dramatic effect.
  • Garlands of lights on the house itself, perhaps round the porch, provide a welcoming glow.

Whatever style of landscape lighting you choose to brighten up your front yard this Christmas, make sure that you follow the manufacturer's instructions to the letter and employ a certified electrician to install an outdoor electrical socket if you don't already have one.

About the Author
Jane Smallman runs a mountain guiding business with her husband. Her early training was in hotel management and she has worked in the hotel industry in France, Holland, the US and the UK.

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