Landscape Lighting 101: The Techniques

 

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The ultimate goal of great landscape lighting design is to enhance your natural environment with a serene elegance.  Moderation with a refined mix of landscape lighting fixtures is key to perfecting the look.

PRO Landscape Lighting Techniques

We’ll give you an overview of some lighting designer favorites.  The trick is to select which ones will work best for you!

Downlighting

Although they should be used sparingly, outdoor floodlights mounted high up in trees or under building eaves provide ample illumination over large areas, such as back or side yards.

A subtler technique, “moonlighting” employs soft light sources positioned above and filtering down through tree branches to create the illusion of moonlight.

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Uplighting

Landscape fixtures shining up from ground level and focused on prominent trees create visually dramatic effects.

To bring out a three-dimensional perspective, “cross lighting” a statue or tree from two or more sides may add interest and depth.

Wall Washing

Wall washing or wall grazing is also a favorite in landscape lighting design.  Placing outdoor lights close to the surface brings out unique texture and detail across a vertical plane to highlight stonework, wood shingles or decorative doors.

Silhouetting

Replicate the shape of a unique tree or bush by shining a light source behind and below to create a captivating silhouette against the background.

Underwater Illumination

Pools and fountains feature brilliantly at night.  Look for color-changing LED lights for fantastic underwater effects, and check that all underwater fixtures are UL-approved for this usage.

Spread Lighting

Spread lights provide diffuse illumination over flowerbeds and walkways.  They should be installed about 6 feet apart so there are no overlapping bright areas and no dark areas in between fixtures.  Alternate light sources from either side of the path for the best look.

NOTE:  Be wary of lawn maintenance workers when installing landscape light fixtures; Install them high enough to be noticed and close to the path.

Strip Lighting

Strip lights are easy to customize and are especially effective at lighting deck parameters, seating areas, paths and steps.

NOTE:  Light steps evenly from below.  Outdoor illumination presented from above stairways casts uneven shadows, which could be problematic for those navigating your property – especially the elderly or anyone with limited depth perception. LED strip lighting beneath steps is a lifesaver!

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Outdoor Style Tips to Keep in Mind

  • Use shielded light sources whenever possible to keep outdoor illumination soothing.
  • Steer clear of poor quality light sources which may appear off color; these will destroy the appeal of your landscape and outdoor lighting design.
  • Opt for LED light sources in the warm white range: 2700K-3000K is the recommended color temperature for landscape lighting applications.

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