Proper Planning of Your Landscape Lighting Design

Without a plan, landscape lighting designers are dead in the water. Even skilled landscapers understand the value of a detailed, well-thought out blueprint. Without a plan, mistakes are nearly guaranteed, and whenever time and money is wasted, another set of problems surface.

If you just moved in or you are getting ready to tackle your lighting project, you will be anxious and excited to install those lights and get your yard one step closer to your vision. Unfortunately, haste results in failure and it is not uncommon for homeowners to rush the process because they are too excited to wait and plan it out properly. Just remember that your excitement will turn to dread when a failure to plan turns into an emotional headache.

First Steps

The purpose of a plan is to avoid future mistakes. When you start the process, you will notice how everything fits and any potential inconsistencies will surface during this phase. For example, your vision may include a particular fixture next to a tree, but when you plot the dimensions on paper, you realize they are too close and do not blend well as it relates to the overall yard.

Draw your plan to scale with 1/8”=1” being appropriate for most properties. Use graph paper and add every feature of your yard with tracing paper. If you are technical, try one of the many computer software programs available. The programs make it easier to envision how changes would look in real time. Make sure to include every surface and feature such as walkways, driveways, porches and patios, borders and all gardens.

Measurements

Start by measuring your property line and recording the data into your program or on paper. To make the process easier, measure the distance from your property line to one corner of the house and use this as a reference to measure the remaining sides of the house.

Will you entertain in your yard? Live outdoors a lot? Think about how you will use your outdoor space. Contemplate the idea of terraces and patios, their location and proximity to the sun. Also consider the areas that will need more light at night for safety and entertaining purposes. Some areas will need basic functional lighting to provide illumination for guests and deter thieves from entering your property. Additional light will serve an aesthetic purpose and should be placed where you want the most emphasis.

Lighting

Decide which lights you will use for your design. There are many from which to choose including energy-efficient options as well. Pay attention to the installation of each type and choose based on your willingness and expertise. Think about maintenance and overall costs to run the lights on an ongoing basis. And remember—when designing lighting, less is more. Be aware of the natural tendency to go overboard.

If you stick with a plan, you will avoid most mistakes. A little time before the process will save you months of heartache and regret, and give you the exact design you envision for your landscape.

 

How to Create a Modern Oasis with your Landscape Lighting

Looking for a way to modernize your landscape design?

Amidst the traditional backdrops and outdated scenery, you can “rev” up your space with sleekness and sophistication and inject a contemporary feel without much effort. A modern design will not only make you feel like you finally stepped into the 21st century, but it will also add so much character and life to your  home. Regardless of the size of your home or the space with which you have to work, modern updates will help to create a more contemporary style to match the times.

Where to Begin

The first step is to decide the purpose for your landscape. Do you want more practicality? Are you interested in keeping up with the Joneses? Do you have some modern features already built in that need to be featured? Once you devise a purpose for your space, you can come up with a plan that will help you meet your goal. What do you want the end result to look like? Without a clear purpose as to what your end goal is, your process will be muffled and you may not get the results you desire.

Contemporary Designs

Your lighting should look modern and sleek. If you prefer the modern touches, avoid lighting in old-fashioned styles like lanterns. These finishes are beautiful, but not in a modern landscape design. You will find sleeker designs if you look for lighting with stainless steel or chrome finishes or even cast aluminum with a smooth finish like our LED Tulip Landscape Light.

If you want to modernize your space even more, consider arranging the lighting in a modern way. Typically, the less ornamentation and clutter, the more modern the space will be. Space out your lighting fixtures so they are not too close together and keep everything clean and minimal. Install lighting around your patio or garden area to make your landscape the envy of many, yet completely functional as well.

Modern spaces contain horizontal and vertical lines. Swirls, circles and ornate details will edge you away from the contemporary look and bring your design into more traditional. Keep it simple and you will be much happier.

Lighting Type

The design of your lighting, though important, is not the only element of a modern landscape design. Pay close attention to the type of lighting as well. For a contemporary touch, LED lights are a great choice. Consider LED string lighting or even adding a color. Be careful, though, not to add too much color all at once. It can create a more chaotic look and pull from your sleek, modern design. White lights are the cleanest looking choice with one or two colors to add extra emphasis in featured areas.

Whatever you do, be careful not to overdo it. Modern design is all about simple and subtle looks with sleek finishes. The simplest additions can sometimes be the most effective and adding too much at one time can create more clutter than sophistication.

How have you created a modern landscape design with your lighting? Please share!

Landscape Lighting for Water Features

Image: http://yeshomedesign.com/
Image: http://yeshomedesign.com/

 

The elegant Tuscan-inspired water fountain, the koi pond, the Grecian fountain—water features complete a landscape and should be illuminated to bring out their beauty. Water is a very special landscape feature because it is so reflective and it plays with the light beautifully. With lighting, you can enhance the reflection coming off the water in your fountain or illuminate a pond from under the surface of the water. Illuminating water features transform a landscape from normal to spectacular in a matter of minutes.

Your choice of lighting will vary according to the water feature and your personal preference. Submersible lighting is one of the most popular selections since it creates a subtle ambience that looks peaceful and inviting. When you place lights under the water, it can create a shimmering effect and enhance the reflective surface of the water as well as the surrounding area. By changing the colors, you can create a more whimsical look and illuminate moving water as it cascades from the top of the fountain to the bottom.

Any water feature can be lit from the outside. Here are some ideas for illuminating the water features in your landscape:

Solar – If you are energy efficient, solar lighting offers an easy installation process along with lights that will beautify any focal point. You will also save a lot of money in the long run.

LED – LED lights last longer than incandescent bulbs and come in many color options. Get creative with these lights and try out some different looks. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Moonlight Globe Lighting – Moonlight globes are perfect for the larger fountains. They emit a subtle glow and pair perfectly with reflective surfaces like water. You can mount them on surfaces, hang them like pendants or float them directly on the water. They are also available as battery operated units and are highly resistant to moisture and rust. Add optional speakers to brighten up your backyard parties.

Spot Lights – If you want overhead lighting to highlight certain aspects of your water features, spot lighting would be the best choice. You can incorporate this type of lighting into the design of the water feature or simply attach it to a neighboring tree branch, lamp post or sturdy fence. Focus the light so it does not bleed into the surrounding landscape. Be careful not to direct the light into the street or a neighbor’s yard. This can create unsafe conditions for you and the people around your home.

When planning your water lighting design, use a flashlight and test the light on several focal points so you can get an idea of what you like. It’s also a good idea to use some temporary lighting so you can try it on for size. This lighting is often offered by designers so their clients can make well-thought out decisions regarding their landscape lighting.