New landscape lights

As soon as days get longer and warmer and greener, we reconnect with the outdoorsspying a butterfly’s fluttery flight, inhaling a lilac’s luxuriant aroma, reading till nine under the light of the sun. This means the landscape lighting we install needs to look just as wonderful by day as it does by night.

This 23-inchhigh fixture is a natural when it comes to illuminoting a flower bed or walkway. Made of brass, the California Tulip light from Rockscapes, Inc., features a simple shade and gently curving stern that mimic a flower without stealing the show ($49).

A rounded shade directs light downward, making this fixture especially ideal alongside steps. Measuring 12 inches high, the Large Mushroom Light from Intermatic Inc. is made of die-cast aluminum and treated with a verdigris finish ($26).

Handcrafted from commercialgrade cast metal, this 20-inch fixture will withstand many years of nature’s little outbursts. The verdigris finish of the Hanover Lantern, Inc., Thatched Hat Light blends into your landscape too ($175).

Today’s best landscape light designs bridge the gap between standard black fixtures and overly glitzy ones. Their stylish shapes blend into your landscaping and please the eye.

Once you settle on a style that complements your home, decide what you want to illuminate. Some fixtures are better suited to lighting up steps and pathways, while others simply beam pretty pools of light onto flowers and ground covers.

Household current for all landscape lighting-even 120-volt fixtures can be lowered to 12 volts with a simple plug-in transformer. This makes the lights more economical to use, and means there’s less risk of electrical shock when lines are exposed to the elements.

Tucked into a bed of plantings, this sleek, 161hinch fixture provides style without sticking out. The brushed copper shade of Kichler Lighting’s path light will naturally weather to handsome patina (with stem, $86).