The Magic of Lights | ParkRecord.com

The Magic of Lights

Architectural lighting such as a custom chandelier sends a sumptuous message. (Courtesy Avenue Design)

At this time of year, a beautifully illuminated yard is shorthand for "Come in and celebrate!" And Park City homeowners consider Dean Lyons' company, Brite Nites, to be the gold standard in holiday lighting. (See this issue's cover for a prime example.) Lyons says what his crew does is nothing short of create magic. "Looking at holiday lighting is like looking at a fire or a sunset, it's calming and brings joy. Christmas lighting creates magical feelings. Whether you have them on your house or you see them on your neighbor's house, it says this is a special time of year." Here, Lyons shares tips on creating a welcoming winterscape.

Create a focus

Even with a sky-high budget, Lyons says you don't have to blanket the landscape. "Some of our clients love to light their entire property, and it becomes an incredible winter wonderland for everyone to enjoy. But in general my goal is to make the home look appealing from the street in the evening, and then leading up to the front door." On the other hand, don't skimp on the bulbs. "It's better to light one tree well than to spread the lights too thinly around other trees."

Prepare to get bigger

Lyons says that landscape lighting in Park City is going bigger, mostly thanks to nature. "The trees we started to light twenty years ago have all grown. When we started lighting the all-red tree at The Reid Building on Kearns, we could do it with a ladder. Now we need two large lifts!

"Those big, magnificent trees are a huge attraction for skiers coming to Park City. At night, the lights all over town help make it the greatest ski town in the world."

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Create warmth and coziness

Lyons suggests that homeowners think about the outside view that dominates when you are sitting in your main living area. Then light one or more trees that are within that viewing space. "What is usually a blank sheet of glass when you look outside now becomes a framed piece of art to enjoy well into the winter. It creates warmth and makes our long and cold winter nights so much more enjoyable."

Learn these DIY rules

If you're not hiring a professional, Lyons has a few words of wisdom. "Start small—do not attempt to decorate a tree that's more than six or eight feet tall. And don't 'go it alone.' Have a spotter who can secure the ladder. Be conservative at the outset, to avoid frustration, and add more lights later. Although we don't always have this luxury, get your lights up before the ice. Last, use lots of lights!"