Landscape lighting professionals utilize many techniques to create elegant lighting plans. These lighting techniques, when expertly applied, artistically illuminate the focal points of the landscape to create interest, movement, and drama. A basic understanding of these techniques helps the homeowner appreciate the skill, talent, and technical expertise required to accentuate outdoor living spaces, gardens, pathways, benches, statuary, ponds, fountains, entryways, and other architectural and recreational features of the yard.
Landscape Lighting Techniques Used by Professionals
Highlighting is a foundational technique in lighting design applications. While this commonly employed technique is a simple and useful element of outdoor lighting, it involves a surprising level of finesse to maximize the effectiveness of this technique. The designer highlights a landscape element by installing a spotlight at the base of the selected outdoor feature.
By modulating the number, distance, and angle of the light fixtures relative to the highlighted feature, the adept designer can create any number of unique landscape lighting experiences. Trees are a prime candidate for highlighting. The height and width of a tree may necessitate the use of two or more LED low-voltage landscape lighting fixtures to provide sufficient illumination.
Silhouetting is defined as casting or showing an object as a dark shape and outline against a lighter background. Lighting designers create a silhouette by placing a spotlight behind a landscape feature and aiming the fixture in the direction of an adjacent wall to create an illuminated backdrop. The silhouetted object’s dark outline can be utilized to showcase plants and other dense landscape features.
Shadowing is a lighting technique similar to silhouetting. Like silhouetting, the creation of a shadow involves positioning the lighting fixture towards the base of the feature. The beam is aimed at an adjacent wall. However, the goal in shadowing is to create a softer effect. A tree with open, delicate foliage is a prime candidate for shadowing. The rhythmic dance of the tree’s foliage in the evening’s gentle breeze is sure to energize any home facade.
Wall-washing is a technique that harnesses the evocative power of LED landscape lighting to create the desired mood. The lighting designer can employ this technique to create a soothing, even glow off a wall or façade. A wide-angle, low-wattage floodlight is placed approximately a yard away from a retaining wall, a fence, or the side of the home. By giving the fixture a sideways angle and shining the beam along the side of the landscape feature, a subtle ambiance washes over the nearby area.
Uplighting creates a more well-defined contrast than wall-washing. In this technique, spotlight fixtures rather than floodlights are positioned in close proximity to a building for a bolder effect. The trained eye of a seasoned lighting professional can achieve near-perfect results.
Lighting professionals can create the effect of moonlight shining down through the branches of a tree. This effect is achieved by positioning a carefully chosen fixture with a full glare guard high up inside a tree. The fixture is angled downwards. The naturalistic shadow patterns cast on the ground are a beautiful lighting effect.
Although it is similar to moonlighting, downlighting is brighter and less subtle. In this technique, a fixture is high up in a tree, trellis, or eave. The light beam is directed downwards over a large area. The strategic placement of the fixture determines the extent of the area to be illuminated.
Accent lighting focuses special attention on a specific landscape feature. A narrow beam spotlight in a downlighting or uplighting application can be employed to draw attention to a fountain, statue, plant, or other feature.
Ambiance and safety are joined when lighting professionals place small fixtures along the edges of driveways, walkways, and patios. Style, functionality, and safety are crucial. A team of landscape lighting experts will position the fixtures so that they are not a trip-and-fall hazard.
If clients are prepared to move forward immediately with a landscape lighting project, nighttime demonstrations are available. Southern Landscape Lighting Systems installs and services outdoor LED lighting systems for residential and commercial clients in the metro Atlanta area.
For more information about outdoor landscape lighting installation, contact Southern Landscape Lighting Systems of Alpharetta by phone at (770) 691-1221. The landscape lighting design team can also be reached by email at [email protected].