An element of your outdoor space that often gets overlooked is lighting. You can add months of use to your outdoor space by simply incorporating properly installed lighting to compliment your trees, bring your water feature to life at night, provide light for your patio, steps, and walk, and to compliment your home, and other included architectural features. There is nothing quite like a backyard gently lit up at night, water feature bubbling away, fire blazing, combined with your evening cup of coffee, and quality time with the kids.
Lighting can serve many different purposes; It can provide added security around your home at night, it can be used to light up steps, patios, etc., where you need to be able to see while navigating your landscapes at night, and then finally, well-done lighting is a form of art that enhances the beauty of your home and landscapes, and extends the time that you can enjoy that space much longer.
Lighting can be done wrong, and it can be done well. Here’s some things to watch for when it comes to good lighting.
Quality of light fixture. This is kind of a no-brainer, but regardless, there are lots of cheap fixtures on the market. We aim to only use fixtures that are thoroughly engineered for optimum durability, even light output, and optimum heat distribution. One of the greatest enemies of electronics is heat (LED lights utilize electronics for light output) and getting rid of that heat is crucial.
Therefore, a fixture that is designed to dissipate that heat and help keep the light fixture cool is a huge factor. We use brands such as WAC Lighting, Sterling Lighting, and other reputable lighting manufacturers that create top-quality lighting products. Subpar materials and design are not worth saving some initial dollars for when it comes to lighting.
Proper placement and number of lighting fixtures: One of the other major mistakes that can be made is over-lighting or installing an excessive number of lights in poorly placed spots. This creates “hot spots”, spots of extremely bright light, or an excessively over-lit look. It’s ok to have texture and softness to the lighting in your landscape, including areas or objects that are not lit up, in fact, you should. It lends to the quiet calm nighttime feel that you are often looking to create with your lighting and avoids a garishly over-lit look. Outdoor lighting is a form of art as well as safety, and creating an elegant yet beautifully lit home and landscaping should be the goal, not to create what feels like an airport runway or center stage.
Some Types of lighting:Up Lighting: This method is often used to highlight tree trunks, house architecture, hardscape features, etc. This is usually achieved by placing a certain type of light fixture at the base of the subject, creating an uplighting effect that creates depth and intrigue in your nighttime landscapes and your home.
Shadow Lighting: This is a technique of soft lighting that places the light fixture in front of a desired feature such as a small tree, grasses, or whatever you wish, and placed in such a way as to create shadows of those features onto the background such as your house side, fence, etc.
Wash Lighting: This term is used to describe using a wide angle of light placed in such a way as to gently light up a larger vertical area such as a wall, sign, hedge, etc.
Moon Lighting: This is a method of lighting using a light usually placed high in a nearby tree aimed at the ground in such a way as to create a soft glow of light mimicking the light of the moon, creating interesting shadows, and very gently lighting an area desired.
Path Lighting: This is one of the most common methods of lighting, and can be a very nice way to gently light up steps and pathways to help guide you through the landscape. When done correctly, path-lighting can be a gentle and somewhat subtle form of lighting.
Water Feature Lighting: water features can be lit up at night using under-water lights placed to light up waterfalls from beneath, spotlights to highlight different subjects around the water feature, and many different unique ways to bring your water feature to life.
There are other forms of outdoor lighting, but suffice it to say that each home and landscape is different, and the methods used for lighting up your outdoor space is dependent on how you desire to use the space, and what features are present in your landscape, outdoor space, etc. =)
Give us a call today to discuss your outdoor lighting needs.
– Jeremy Cable @ Cable Bros Outdoor Services