14 Apr Landscape and Garden lighting is “IN” part 2
By Mike Gambino
Driveways and pathways
Another interesting feature and can be lit in various ways from spread light LEDs to down lighting from trees. The main aim for this type of area is to get the delicate balance between practicality and beauty which when done well can transform a house and garden
Retaining walls and path walls
These are often overlooked subjects and are fantastic to light as they add definition which again provides depth to the overall effect of the garden lighting scheme. They can also add to the practically use of paths by subtly lighting them in a very soft and inviting way.
Water features are another must when it comes to lighting your garden. The use of water can add both movement to the light and reflect mirror images that can turn your scheme into something amazing and beautiful.
Not many of us realize the importance of lighting the garden area. But if you do, you will have a wonderful place to have dinner with your family as well as to entertain guests. To add to this, there are numerous options available for landscape lighting, which if you select well, will add to the overall appeal of your outdoor space. Just make sure you do a little research first, plan your lighting scheme and shop around for the right lighting solutions provider.
The first thing you really need to consider when planning your outdoor lighting is to draw a rough plan of your garden and mark out the areas in the garden which you would like lighting. Whatever you do, don’t just install decorative during the day lights all over the garden, otherwise it takes on a very cluttered look and fails to generate any real impact at night. Some of the best areas to highlight that you might want to consider lighting are as follows:
- Paths and driveways
- Pools, ponds and water features
- Large trees and bushes
- Seating areas
- Any other focal points such as a statues or large planters
Large trees, bushes and plants
Large trees are always fantastic to light and really make a garden stand out. There are lots of different ways of lighting trees but in our experience this is always governed by the surrounding area. An example would be a large tree in the middle of a lawn would require recessed lights in the ground with another three or four or so in the tree to catch the main canopy. The only time we would not light a large tree would be if that it was so disfigured or ugly in appearance with no way to high light it at night or its illumination would interfere with the rest of the garden lighting scheme. Or if the branches and leaves were so close together and dense such that it would not show well at night.
Choose the types of light fixtures to be installed
Once you have decided on the areas or things that you want to highlight, the next step is to choose appropriate light fixtures and lamps (bulbs) that are fit for the specific purpose. For example, if you want to illuminate pathways you need lights that will ensure you can clearly see the passage. That’s why, some downlighting from trees along with staggering spreadlight LEDs on either sides of the walkway at ground level, is a great solution.
For a seating area on the other hand, downlights and uplights should be used with discretion, while great for highlighting a large tree for example, if used in the seating area will be shining in your face if you choose to use the seat on an evening. If you have steps in your garden, then I would advise you use fixtures appropriate to accomplish the task sufficiently so that visibility is increased making them safe to use at night. If you are fortunate enough to have beautifully shaped trees in your garden, then as go in for recessed lighting fixtures on the ground around it. They will bring the attention to the tree in a subtle way, thus creating a stunning visual appeal in the night.
If you want to highlight certain shrubs and flower-beds, one of the best lighting solutions is to install some downlight fixtures and have the light spilling on them. For pools and other water features, underwater water-proof lighting is ideal. Floodlights can also look great as they accentuate the effect of water on the surroundings. For highlighting a focal point such as a large statue, then uplights in a cross light pattern are your best choice and for those of you who like to party in the garden, then why not just use a few easy to install/take down festive festoon strings for a little extra light and ambiance.
And finally, when it comes to the bulb/light color, in my humble opinion the natural looking white and slightly amber or warm color lights are the best solution for garden lighting. That means color appropriate LED and halogen 12 volt bulbs. Keep things simple… However, if you want to experiment, there are lights available in colors such as red, blue, green that can work very sparingly in a outdoor space. Green lights can look nice over plants while red lights can be used to highlight focal points. While blue lights can look pretty good on a water feature. Just remember to keep things subtle, you don’t want to offend the neighbors with garish lighting.
So what are you waiting for? Transform the way your garden looks with some quality garden lighting and make your outdoors as vibrant and beautiful as the interior of your home on an evening!
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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