Did you know that surveys of home buyers put “landscape lighting” at the top of the list of most desired features? Not only can this one addition increase your home value, but it can transform the night time into a magical time of beauty, drama, or serenity.
Whatever mood or result you want to achieve, landscape lighting can be designed to suit your home, your personality and your needs. These are just a few ideas for lighting the outside of your home and when you may want to choose a particular effect.
This is probably one of the most common types of lighting, and while you may be familiar with the idea, you may not yet have imagined all the possibilities.
Walkway and patio lighting can be both beautiful and functional. It enhances safety by illuminating a clear footpath at night, welcomes family and visitors, and highlights other beautiful features like pavers and natural stone.
These lights don’t need to follow the rigid, regular spacing and placement that seems so prevalent. Lights can be set varying distances apart, at varying heights depending on the fixture you choose, and even at varying locations along the path.
The key is to draw the eye and the step of the person walking the path, not necessarily to create a runway for an airplane landing!
Placing path and patio lights strategically near interesting elements, like a stone statue, small fountain or colorful plant can add to the beauty and create a sense of color and texture in an otherwise dark landscape.
Cloudy evening? No problem! You can create your own moonlight through an effect called downlighting. To create this effect, lights are placed high in trees and hidden from view, resulting in a surprisingly natural look.
When the lights are placed and angled properly, they will shine down through leaves and branches, creating pockets of light and shadow just as if the full moon was shining above.
If trees are scarce you can create moonlighting by placing fixtures in a pergola or gazebo or around an outdoor fireplace.
If you’re not a fan of walkway lighting, you can use moonlighting as a substitute, creating enough light to safely guide you to your destination.
Moonlighting is also great for illuminating patios and outdoor seating areas. It’s typically a “bluer” light for a more natural look and avoids the unnerving “spotlight on a stage” effect that can result from ground lights placed on a patio.
As an added bonus, moonlighting is at the opposite end of the spectrum from candle lighting, which means when you entertain outdoors with tabletop candles, the candles will create a warm glow that will really pop.Interesting in illuminating your nighttime yard? Get in touch for a free estimate.
If you have a pond, fountain or waterfall, then why not turn it into a stunning visual display even on the darkest night? You can achieve as many different effects under water as you can on dry land.
Nestle lights between rocks and beneath waterfalls to make it look as if your water feature is lit from within. Place lights at the base of a waterfall for an uplit effect. Or use downlighting for a softer appeal.
Lighting a water feature is more complex, since water diffuses and bends light. The placement and type of fixtures you use will depend on many factors, from the size of the feature to the depth and clarity of the water and of course the effects you want to achieve. Nobody wants a harsh glare, but you can certainly choose to highlight motion, reflect stillness, create a focal point or go for subtle ambiance.
A pool also makes an ideal location for underwater lighting. Lighting in pools goes a long way toward creating a safe evening swimming environment, while having the advantage of adding just the right touch of ambiance for an after-hours dive.
You can have some fun with pool lighting, too. Color changing lights, for example, can be enjoyed whether you’re floating on a raft or enjoying a late-night s’more from the patio fire pit.
Where downlighting can help to create diffuse and natural effects like that of moonlight, uplighting can have the opposite effect, creating an impressive focal point.
Landscape lighting mounted at ground level and pointing up, toward the facade of your house for example, can have a bold and dramatic result. Uplighting creates the effect commonly known as “wall washing”, which is literally like washing your house in light.
Wall washing serves a practical safety function in addition to turning your nighttime home into a stunning vision. The key to successful washing is the placement of the bulbs. Pointed incorrectly, they may look great from the outside but create an unpleasant glare from inside.
Uplighting can also be used to highlight a favorite old tree, a prized plant, a unique architectural feature or an exquisite piece of landscape art.
You can even mix uplighting with downlighting for a more balanced appeal. If overhangs or soffits block light, it can mar the effect of uplighting and create harsh lines. That’s easily solved with strategic downlighting to outline specific areas and create a better sense of height, depth and space.Let's explore the potential of lighting your home and yard. Ask for a free consultation and estimate.
Sometimes the beauty of lighting is in the shadows. If you have an interesting architectural feature, like a cobbled stone wall, spotlights placed near the foundation can catch the edges of the stonework and create intricate and magical shadows.
Strategic placement of lighting near a plant with usual foliage can cast stunning shadows on a wall or fence behind it. This technique is also known as shadowing, and typically involves placing a light low and angling it up to create a larger-than-life effect.
Shadowing is particularly effective when used with plants that move with the breeze, like tall grasses. The movement can cast some truly mesmerizing shadows for a uniquely beautiful curb appeal. Or use the technique in your back yard for a relaxing evening with a glass of wine on your moonlit patio!
While it’s not a specific technique, it is a good idea! Great lighting sometimes meets the seemingly mundane – like how and when will the lights turn on and off, and what happens when you’re not home?
Lighting automation can be as simple as installing timers to dictate when lights turn on and off, or as sophisticated as installing sensors that trigger specific lights when the teenagers arrive home at night, and even smart systems that you can control from your computer or smart phone.
The important point is that you don’t have to think about it. A well-designed lighting system will take out the guesswork and ensure that your home is at its most beautiful – and safest – at all times.
If you’re considering installing or upgrading landscape lighting, let us know and we’ll visit your home for a free estimate. We can design, install and maintain lighting no matter how small or large the space.