Landscape lighting designers typically work from the same book. As diverse as houses in America are, there are three primary types/styles of landscape lighting. We’ll shine some light on America’s 3 most popular outdoor lighting techniques in this article.
The first thing most homeowners do is illuminate the front of their house. This is typically accomplished with up-lights that are installed approximately one foot away from the foundation. The fixtures should be pointed straight up toward the soffit. By aiming the fixture straight up you’ll reduce harsh bright areas on the lower part of the wall. Your looking to create a gentle scalloped effect on the wall.
It is important to make sure you consistently light the home from one end to the other. The whole facade doesn’t have to be lit up but you don’t want large areas of darkness.
Most designers will not place fixtures under windows. Instead you’ll see lights placed on either side of windows. Try to highlight and emphasize any unique architectural feature of the house. Material that has relief (like brick or stone) will produce interesting shadow effects that look unique and attractive.
The next focus of homeowners are trees and plants. As far as trees are concerned, the gnarlier the better. Crepe Myrtles look great with uplighting because of their unique colors and textures. River birches have great bark that creates nice shadows on the trunk. Placed the fixture between the tree and the primary viewing location. This reduces unwanted glare from the perspective of the viewer. Hiding fixtures behind small shrubs is a great trick. This also reduces the chance of the fixture getting damaged.
Smaller vegetation might benefit from a gentle wash light like the WA-102. These have a broader beam spread so they are appropriate for the smaller plants.
These lights provide as much safety as beauty. These are lights that are typically on poles and have shades that frequently resemble a Chinese style of hat. Our PL-101 is a perfect example. These would be great along your walkways and around the pool. As far as spacing is concerned, if a fixture has a 12′ beam footprint you can place the lights about 15′ apart. You don’t necessarily want total overlap with the beam footprint. As with most outdoor lighting, a scalloped look is attractive and is preferable to totally flooding an area with light. Plus you’ll save some money on fixtures.
There are other techniques and light types such as moon lighting, deck lighting, hardscape lighting and more. Read our fixture page to see the various styles.
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This article is intended to give you a general guideline for the popular design options in the United States. There are many other factors to consider when designing and installing your system. If you would like to go into more detail we are available for discussion.
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