As homeowners, we work hard to select unique plants, trees, shrubs and flowers that make our landscaping beautiful. But there is one aspect of landscaping that is often overlooked. When night falls, without landscape lighting, the perfectly planned landscape design literally disappears.
Making Goals for Your Landscape Lighting
Is your goal to illuminate pathways and patios to prevent slip or falls when walking up to your home? Are you looking to light up your backyard space for weekend entertaining? Or are you adding landscape lighting for increasing your home’s security.
Discover the best techniques for highlighting trees, emphasizing a fountain, or lighting
a garden path.
Download a landscape lighting infographic showing these effects in action.
Here are some of the amazing effects you can achieve:
Down-lighting also referred to as moon lighting, gives the appearance of a full moon shining down on your lawn. This gives a romantic feel to your landscape and is achieved by mounting lighting fixtures facing downward typically from a tree.
Up-lighting provides a bolder, dramatic effect by pointing lighting directly at featured elements within your landscape. This technique uses low-voltage light fixtures that light a tree from the ground up to show off its shape and trunk structure.
Cross-lighting provides your landscape with more depth by lighting featured elements in your yard from both sides. Cross-lighting works well to eliminate unwanted shadows.You don’t want to overdo this effect since that can lead to over lighting and a washed out look.
Silhouetting requires placing a spread light between plant material, sculpture or a fountain and an adjacent structure. The object is then silhouetted in black against a soft white background. Spread lights are halogen bulbs with a mirrored background. They create a wide band of white light, perfect for backlighting.
Shadowing involves washing a feature such as a tree or statue so that it casts a shadow on a wall or fence. The play of light and darkness can be quite dramatic.
Grazing involves spread-lights or up-lights placed right next to the wall with beams directed upwards. This casts shadows that capture the texture of the wall. This effect shows off your stone work on walls and pilasters.
Pathlighting used along paths and steps exists to keep the walker safe. YA carefully lit path can give a sense of romance or adventure – it should make the viewer want to go and see where the pathway might lead.
Spotlighting uses a fixture to highlight a focal point such as a flag, statue or water fountain.
Use one or two spotlights to highlight your favorite feature in the garden.
Pool Lighting is important both for safety and for aesthetics. You can also use underwater lights or ambient lighting in the surrounding landscape to make after-hours swimming inviting to you and your guests.
Washing involves placing the light to the side of what you want to illuminate and let the light “wash” over it, bathing an entire wall or row of bushes. This will create a soft glow over the whole area.
With a little imagination there’s no limit to the number of ways you can add magic to your nighttime landscape with outdoor lighting effects.