Why have a nice yard or outdoor area that can only be enjoyed during daylight hours?
There are a lot of good reasons to light up your landscape. You may want to have clear, safe walkways and places where one can sit. You might wish to keep the soccer game going after dusk. Or you may simply want to enjoy how it looks when you arrive home after a long day.
Whatever your reasons, here are some things to consider when lighting your outdoor area.
A lot comes down to your aesthetic and if you are factoring safety features in your lighting plan. Some of the most common areas to light are:
Also, when choosing which areas to light, consider how they’d look from the inside as well as the outside.
When highlighting specific areas in your landscape, most tricks come down to two things—direction and shadow. Lighting coming from above looks significantly different from light coming from below or the side. The three most popular strategies used for lighting outdoor areas are downlighting, uplighting, and cross-lighting.
Create a diffuse, gentle but broad lighting effect by aiming lights downward, usually from a tree. The resulting effect can be similar to moonlight which adds a sense of romance to the area. This is a good choice for pathways, outdoor benches, and patios.
Looking for something more striking? Go in the opposite direction by aiming lights upwards into a tree or onto a house or other structure. Doing this can make features dramatically stand out more by using bold shadows and high contrast. This will help emphasize your chosen focus against the background landscape.
Want to bring bold attention to a feature but don’t want to use shadows? Crosslighting may be the trick you’re looking for. You can eliminate shadows by lighting your focal point from both sides.
You can get a lot out of light and shadow by incorporating your landscape features in your decision-making. For instance, downlighting through a canopy of pine or maple can result in a pleasing lacy shadow effect. Uplighting can bring the appearance of certain features forward while pushing others back, allowing for a greater sense of depth.
Keep in mind that ambient lighting is most often used to create atmosphere by gently lighting an area while spotlighting focuses attention on a particular feature. There’s no reason why you can’t use both. Play around a bit. The effects you create with light and shadow rely heavily on what you’re working with regarding landscape and architecture.
In addition to looking nice, setting lights along a path is a popular way to make sure those walking there can do so safely.
Consider placing lights on a path about five or six feet apart to start with. If you already have some ambient light coming in from another source, you can expand these distances to around eight feet. If you’re looking to create a more vivid look for your pathway, bring them in closer to each other.
Vision Green is ready to help you with any further questions you may have about lighting your outdoor areas.
Give us a call today at 704.910.1941, so you can get your outdoor lighting project underway.