Few things add value and beauty to a home like great landscape lighting. In fact, surveys of home buyers have demonstrated that landscape lighting is one of the top features that they look for when evaluating a home.
Whether you want to increase the value of your home or simply enjoy it for all it’s worth, these landscape lighting tips can help you add beauty, create drama and design focal points of interest for you, your family, visitors and even passersby who won’t be able to help but pause and appreciate your outdoor space.
Create Your Own Moonlight
Using a technique called “downlighting” you can simulate your own backyard moonlight even on the darkest evening. When done right, you might be surprised by how well this works to produce a natural effect.
To create moonlight, place fixtures high up in a tree and angle them down through the branches. The light will shine through the leaves, creating natural patterns and shadows on the ground.
If you love to entertain outdoors, this is a great way to create functional lighting, set the mood and add ambiance to your space.
Go For Drama
While downlighting casts a lovely and diffuse moonlight glow, uplighting has the opposite effect of creating a dramatic focal point. Mount landscape lights at ground level and point them upwards to take advantage of this bold effect.
You can install them beneath a tree that you want to highlight, beside your most prized plants, even against walls or unique architectural features. You can highlight anything from low-lying clusters of grasses to archways, entryways and walls.
Here’s a quick tip for working with this type of landscape lighting: be sure to space fixtures properly to create a continuous wash of light, especially when working with walls or other flat surfaces. There’s always a chance of going too far and creating glare if you’re not careful about positioning.
Wash Your Home In Light
“Wall washing” is another landscape lighting technique that can create a dramatic effect, and can also serve the practical function of enhancing safety around your home. Place light fixtures evenly spaced a few feet away from the façade of your home and angle them slightly inwards. The bulbs will cast a healthy glow that will illuminate your home’s exterior and create an ambient glow in surrounding areas.
Unlike highlighting, this effect creates even lighting that washes the entire area so your home is completely visible. As an added bonus, the extra lighting can deter burglars and even make it easier for your family and guests to navigate the walkways and steps.
Make A Statement With Shadows
A wall bathed in light can be a stunning sight from the street, but you can create other types of dramatic effects by taking advantage of shadows.
Place a lighting fixture behind a uniquely shaped object or plant and angle it toward the wall. This will create an illuminated backdrop that’s perfect for making the dark silhouette of the plant or object stand out.
You can also use this technique to great effect with plants or trees that have delicate foliage. The gentle movement of the foliage, especially in a soft breeze, will cast lovely and dramatic shadows on your façade.
Take A Dive
Water and electricity don’t mix, so you may not be thinking of combining lighting with water elements, but landscape lighting fixtures are necessarily weather-proof and some are designed to be fully submerged underwater.
That’s great news if you have a pond, fountain, waterfall or pool. Nestle lighting between rocks in your pond, insert them beneath waterfalls and of course install them in your pool for a dramatic and stunning nighttime experience.
Installed correctly, you won’t even see the fixtures, which can have a rather magical effect as the light seems to emanate from the water itself.
Landscape Lighting Tips For Not-So-Obvious Results
With careful thinking and a good plan you can orchestrate some amazing natural and bold outdoor scenes that you, your family and guests can enjoy year-round. But there are other considerations that can help make the result better, so remember these as you dream of all the exciting things you can do.
We already talked about how wall washing can enhance safety, but as you consider the design of your landscape lighting, don’t overlook its practical uses.
Add lighting along pathways and walkways to help your family and visitors move easily through the property at night. Use lighting on steps to make them easier to navigate. And include lighting along the edge of your pool, both for the added beauty and for safety.
This may not seem like the most obvious outcome of landscape lighting but if you choose LED fixtures you can save on energy and maintenance costs over time. While the initial outlay to install LED lighting may be more, LED bulbs can save you 70-80% in energy costs over halogens.
Plus the lifespan of the bulbs means you’ll have to replace them far less frequently. That means lower material costs in the long run and lower labor costs if you hire someone to maintain the lighting for you. You can read more about the benefits of choosing or upgrading to LED landscape lighting here.
In your enthusiasm to beautify the outdoors, don’t forget the indoors! While a fixture facing towards your home may create fantastic shadows outdoors, if not placed carefully it can also create an unpleasant glare indoors.
Be mindful of how placement and positioning of fixtures will affect the inside of your home. Avoid shining lights in windows and watch for excessive glare.
While you’re dreaming of moonlit dinners in your yard, don’t overlook the seemingly mundane – like, how will you turn the lights on and off? And what if you’re not home?
Add simple automation to your lighting, including sensors and timers. Sensors can trigger lights in a practical scenario, such as when the teenagers arrive home late and make the dark trek up the walkway. And timers are useful if you want lights to come on and turn off at specific times or intervals.
This not only simplifies things for you because you don’t have to expend any effort to ensure that your home is lit and beautiful, but it can also create the illusion that you’re home even when you’re not, which can be a useful safety feature.
Have these landscape lighting tips given you ideas for your home and yard? Let us know! We can help you plan, design the perfect landscape scene for your needs and install exactly the right kinds of fixtures to create the outdoor living space of your dreams. Contact us for a consultation and let’s talk.