Transform Landscaping with Outdoor Lighting
Your enjoyment of your home increases exponentially when you have a beautifully landscaped yard. Whether you’ve nurtured your home’s landscaping with your own hands or hired a landscaper to create your slice of paradise, you no doubt experience pride and pleasure when you see dappled sunlight peeking through the trees or the riot of colors your perennials lend to your garden in the morning light.
Increasingly, homeowners are going to the next level with landscaping, and are investing time and money in outdoor lighting. Outdoor lighting enhances both the appearance of your home and your landscaping, as well as the enjoyment you and your guests experience when you entertain outdoors.
Typically, outdoor lighting focuses on focal points in the yard, though it can also be used as security lighting. Bill Locklin, owner of Nightscaping, the preeminent outdoor lighting company, suggests using 12-volt outdoor lighting to bring out the features of large trees, specimen plants, architecture, and water features. His suggestions include the following:
Large Trees: If the tree has open growth, let the light spill down through the leaves and branches, creating interesting shapes and contrasts in highlight and shadow. If the tree has full foliage, like some pines, try cross lighting or using a grazing light. If your focal point tree has an interesting bark texture, try grazing it to accent this feature and add a greater element of visual interest.
Specimen Plants: Consider hanging plants as well as ground plantings for focal point lighting. Try to throw shadows of smaller plants on walls and other surfaces for added effect. Bonsai plants are very effective when silhouetted to accent their unique shapes.
Architecture: Look at decorative construction techniques in masonry and wood facades. For example, place fixtures at the bottom of the gables and project the light up from each side so that it meets at the tip of the peak, or place two fixtures under the peak and aim them down to the lower edges. A home’s door can be a focal point, as in the case of hand-carved wood, raised wood panels, pr artistic metal designs. Draw attention to the door from overhead, being careful not to cast glare in the eyes of those entering and exiting the building. Likewise, objects in the atrium, such as columns, arches, breezeways, ledges, shutters, cupolas, weather vanes, and seasonal and holiday flags can all be architectural focal points that can have attention drawn by professionally designed outdoor lighting.
Water Features: Fountains, fishponds, and moving streams all lend themselves to the introduction of landscape outdoor lighting. Filtered, crystal clean water can be lighted either from within or from above. Dirty water is usually best lighted from above or used as a reflecting surface to accent surrounding features. Designer fountain lighting can add drama to a yard’s fountain.
Outdoor path lighting is also important, both for aesthetic and safety reasons. You, your family, and your guests should be able to safely move around your property after dark. Walkways should always be lighted both as a directional guide and prevent people from tripping on obstacles.
Outdoor lighting – whether it is path lighting, designer fountain lighting, or security lighting – gives your home another dimension, one to be enjoyed for years to come.