Landscape lighting can add that finishing touches to your outdoor living spaces. But sometimes it difficult to know where to add lighting and how much is too much. Better Homes & Gardens offers some great tips for you to get that professional look. The following is a few snippets from their excellent article. I will provide a link to their full article at the end of this blog post.
When it comes to lighting your landscape, a little goes a long way. That’s because your eyes need less light outdoors than they do indoors in order to see light, shadow, and pattern. To plan your outdoor lighting, walk around your yard at night, envision how and when you want to use your spaces, and rely on these tips.
How light is seen during the day is different from how it is seen at night, a particularly important distinction when it comes to lighting pathways and other outdoor spaces. However, certain principles about lighting remain true.
A variety of bulbs are suitable for outdoor fixtures. Incandescent bulbs emit pleasing light but have a short life and consume more electricity. Halogen bulbs are more efficient versions of incandescent, typically with a longer life and less energy consumption. Fluorescent are now available in a more pleasing color range, last much longer, and consume less energy. While LED bulbs are more expensive, their costs — which continue to decline — are balanced by their extraordinarily long life and extremely low energy consumption.
Landscape lights that are located near a building with electricity can easily be integrated into your home’s wiring system. Solar landscape lighting options exist, too, to power your landscape lights.
Outdoor Lighting Issues
Outdoor lighting issues differ from those of indoor light. For example, reflection is less an issue outdoors because most surfaces are dark and do not reflect light well. However, position and shielding are more important in outdoor landscape lighting in order to prevent glare.
While lighting can be placed virtually anywhere, some spots make it an absolute must. Those include:
Paths: A well-lit path is both welcoming and required, providing illumination that extends hospitality to visitors and makes walking more secure. High illumination isn’t necessary, and down-lights will prevent glare.
Entries: Place lights either to each side of a door or overhead at front, back, and side entry doors.
Driveway: Low-voltage landscape lighting is a good option along a driveway.
Steps: Steps should be lighted for safety; either the risers or the treads can be lit.
Decks or Patios: Lighting can be used to illuminate specific task areas on a deck or patio, such as a kitchen or cooking spot, as well as railings and seating areas. Up lighting, which is harder to accomplish outside, can be used on a deck or patio to send light upward on an umbrella or deck “ceiling” for an indirect effect.
Gazebos, Pergolas, or Trellises: Lighting is a good way to highlight an interesting built element in the outdoor landscape.
Architectural Features: Outdoor landscape lighting can be used to highlight a wall, for example, by washing it or grazing it. When a wide beam of light is aimed at a wall from a few feet away, it creates a wall wash. A light used to graze a wall creates interesting highlights and shadows. Both will provide a little accent to nearby plants.
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