05 Oct Pathlight or Spreadlight ?
by Mike Gambino
I say Toe may toe you say Toe Mat o. The terms Pathlight and spreadlight are typically and often times used to describe the same exact fixture. I guess the answer to what to call this type of fixture really lies in the eye of the beholder and or a matter of personal preference.
I use these terms as follows. When the fixture is being used to illuminate a path or walkways then I refer to the fixture as a pathlight. When its used away from a path and to illuminate flower beds or low growing plants then I refer to the fixture as a spreadlight.
Whatever terminology that’s used to describe this fixture, irregardless, what is common about both is the configuration. The fixture itself usually has a stem which raises the light source or lamp slightly or quite a few inches above whatever it is that the fixture is illuminating. The light source can be aimed directly down in which case the effect will be more intense. The light source can be aimed at the top of the fixture to provide reflect or bounce lighting which is more soft and diffuse when hitting the subject. Then there is the type which relies upon the light from the sides of the light source and reflections off the underside of the top of a fixture. This type a fixture usually produces a quality of light somewhere between the direct and indirect light source.
I personally like to use these types of fixtures in my designs as I feel that they not only provide beauty during the day but also at night.
These fixtures are also very versatile and can be creatively used in areas where there are no other types of fixtures that will be appropriate. For instance as fill in or continuity lighting in the middle of a planter bed where there are no trees large enough to downlight from and or there are none or not enough bushes and plants to uplight to create light in that space.
They can also be used in the more common and traditional way which is to illuminate pathways, driveways and steps. The utility of this fixture is only limited to one talented designers imagination. These fixtures are sort of counter intuitive to the mantra of garden landscape lighting which is to see the effect not the source. In most cases the fixture is going to be visible during the day in order to be effective at night so as a property owner you are going to need to like the physical look and appearance in the garden as it will be some what of an ornament.
I recently read a thread on a professional lighting forum where some of the tradesman expressed that they do not use this type of fixture in their designs. I guess the property owner is the ultimate decision make however if I have my druthers and when appropriate I specify this type of fixture wherever and whenever appropriate without reservation.
This landscape lighting blog is published by Mike Gambino of Gambino landscape lighting inc. all rights reserved. Mike is a professional landscape lighting system designer/ builder and has been designing, installing and maintaining landscape lighting systems for more than 20 years. Mike resides in the Los Angeles area with his wife and 2 sons. To visit his website go to www.gambinolighting.com . To inquire about hiring Mike please click here .
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