Lighten Up: Expert Landscape Lighting Tips
by Allison Lind
Perennials are an easy way to keep your garden looking lovely year after year
We spend so much time and energy on our gardens to create a beautiful, picturesque setting. But once the sun goes down, all that hard work is hidden from view.
To get more out of your outdoor décor, consider bringing landscape lighting into the equation. Here, landscaping expert Gary Antosh, shares his must-know landscape lighting tips for planning your illuminated spaces.
1. Don't Be Blinding
Landscape lighting is intended to help you and your family enjoy the beauty of your outdoor décor at night -- so don't turn it into a daytime view by placing floodlights and spotlights everywhere. That will create a flat, washed-out look. Instead, use a number of smaller fixtures, strategically located to illuminate only the most attractive features. Also adjust fixtures so the bulbs are not in direct view, causing the light to be blinding and distract from the object being illuminated.
2. Create Balance
Position your landscape lighting so you have a balance between areas of light and dark. Correctly illuminated, a flowerbed, tree or cluster of bushes can have a nighttime beauty all its own. These features will be more fascinating when surrounded by an area of darkened shadows, providing an interesting contrast. Plus, unattractive features -- such as plants out of bloom or a distracting background -- can be easily concealed in darkness.
3. Be Inconspicuous
You and your guests should be no more aware of the source of landscape lighting at night than you are of the source of daylight. This can be more difficult with solar lighting fixtures, since solar batteries need to be recharged during the day. Try to find an out-of-the-way place that still gets sunlight, or go with low-voltage lights instead.
4. Look Up
Since natural light almost always comes from above, the bulk of your outdoor lighting should come from the same direction -- the higher the better.
5. Get Low
Wattage, that is. Use comparatively low-wattage floodlights for overhead lighting -- never any bulbs larger than 100 watts. Consider low-voltage lighting as well.
6. Hit the Spot
Use spotlights sparingly and for accent lighting only. Landscape spotlights are good at highlighting an otherwise evenly illuminated scene, or to point out an interesting detail or feature such as a pool.
7. Courtesy First
Besides making certain that your landscape lighting doesn't shine into your eyes, make sure it doesn't shining into your neighbor's eyes too.
8. Smaller is Better
When lighting a large flowerbed or other planting area, use a number of smaller lights rather than a single large unit. This will create a series of softly overlapping pools of light that are free of harsh glare in the center.
9. Stick to the Sides
Very little of your landscape lighting should be front lighting. Regardless of whether the light comes from above or below, most of it should be directed from the sides. Also try to have more light coming from one side than the other, which will result in better modeling and give off an interesting shadow effect. While side lighting is often your best bet, feel free to experiment with back lighting for interesting silhouette effects.
10. Seek the Silhouettes
Choose to light more solid objects, which will be illuminated more effectively than thin, skeleton-like structures. Avoid lighting bare trees, open trellises and the like.
11. Focus, Focus, Focus
Select a focal point or center of attraction for each lit area, and highlight it with additional brightness to point out its most attractive features. Use one or two spotlights, or a light coming from an unusual angle, such as straight up.
12. Get Reflective
Make full use of light-colored reflective surfaces in your landscape lighting scheme. Light-colored walls and fences will often help extend the source of illumination by reflecting and diffusing the rays of light over
Allison Lind is a home decor and home improvement expert who has extensively written on the topics since 2004. For two years, she worked with home improvement celebrity Ty Pennington, of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition."
- Balance the Energy in Your Home
- Ways to Create Calm in Your Home
- Check Out These Smart Sensors for Your Home
- Devices that Lower Your Energy Bill
- 10-Minute Home Repairs
- Safeguard Your Home Against Burglars
- 5 Top Home Security Systems
- Do I Need a Home Security System?
- 5 Ways to Revamp Your Outdoor Space
- Pruning Tips for Trees and Shrubs
- Urban Gardening
- Plumbing Gadgets of the Future
- Energy-Efficient Roof Options for Your Home
- All Hands on Deck: How to Build a Deck
- How Often You Should Repaint Your Home
- Build Your Own Water Feature
- Spring Composting 101
- Sprucing up Your Lawn
- What are Some Alternatives to Grass?
- Green Technologies for the Home
- Are 'Green' Cleaning Products Effective?
- Window Shopping
- How to Choose the Best Carpet
- Essential Woodworking Tools
- Flooring for Your Garage
- Spring Cleaning Your Garage
- Garage Storage: All Your Stuff and a Car to Boot
- Spring Cleaning Storage Solutions
- Tuning up Power Equipment for Spring
- Say Hello to Spring
- The Perfect Pillow
- Update Your Kitchen Cabinets
- How to Build a Shed in Time for Spring
- Five Ways to Spruce Up Your Home This Season
- Spring Refresh: Tips for Organizing Small Spaces
- Outdoor Motion Lights for Home Safety and Security
- Paving Options for Driveways
- Create Your Dream Bedroom
- A Guide to Paint Finishes: From Flat to Fabulously Glossy
- Conserving Water in the Garden
- Great Fall Gardens: How to Get the Look
- 10 Steps to a Beautiful Fall Garden
- Easy Lawn Repair Tips to Get Your Yard in Shape
- How to Grow a Designer Garden for Less
- Disguise an Ugly Wood Floor With Paint
- How to Style Bookshelves Like a Pro
- Eco-Friendly Appliances: Should You Go Green?
- Window Weather Proofing
- Clever Eco-Friendly Uses for Plastic Bags
- Eco-Friendly Home: DIY Cleaning Products
- Tangerine Tango: How to Decorate With This Vibrant Color
- Window Treatments 101
- Decorating How-To: Layering Rugs
- How to Paint Outdoor Pots
- Go Green Indoors: Five Easy Houseplants to Grow
- Great Ways to Kill Your Houseplants
- Perennial Buying Guide
- Lighten Up: Expert Landscape Lighting Tips
- Spring Garden Preparation 101
- Tips for Air-Conditioner Upkeep
- Ways to Make Your Home Eco-Friendly in 10 Minutes or Less
- Easy Energy Savers for Your Home
- Get-Healthy Kitchen Gadgets
- Spring-inspired Home Accessories
- Affordable Bath Updates
- How to Decorate with Houseplants
- 10 Things Every Man Cave Needs
Article: Copyright © 2017, Studio One.
Home & Garden: "Lighten Up: Expert Landscape Lighting Tips"