5 Landscape Lighting Techniques

5 Landscape Lighting Techniques

Using the correct lighting technique and light fixture is crucial when installing outdoor lighting. If you’re looking to enhance your property’s curb appeal and up its wow factor, here are five landscape lighting techniques that, when combined with the appropriate lights, can help you achieve the look that you desire.

Up-lighting

Up-lighting is used to create contrast and drama. When using this technique, place your lights at the base of and closer to the item that you want to highlight; doing so will make it appear bolder and more impressive. For example, if you want to bring attention to a large tree in your yard, you can install the light fixture a few inches from its base and direct the light upwards, on the trunk or canopy for a stunning visual effect. When using this technique, opt for spotlights and well lights.

Silhouetting

This landscape lighting technique creates intrigue by using lighting to make interesting outlines or profiles. You need three elements to achieve this look: the item you want to showcase, for instance, a plant with a distinctive shape, at least one light source, and an adjacent wall, which will serve as a backdrop. Install the fixture between the item you want to feature and the wall, pointing the light in its direction, making sure that the light source itself is not visible. Similar to up-lighting, spotlights and well lights work best to create these dramatic shapes.

Shadowing

If you’re looking for a soft, moody effect, shadowing is an excellent technique to use. Employing the same three elements of silhouetting, place the light fixture at the base of the feature you want to highlight, with the light aimed directly at it to cast intriguing shadows on the wall behind it. Try this technique with trees that have delicate foliage that move with the wind, and enjoy the soft shadows and their beautiful movement as the tree sways in the breeze. Spotlights, well lights, and floodlights can help you achieve this effect.

Grazing

This technique creates drama and a luxurious effect. Using a light placed close to a textured surface such as an intricate rock wall, aim the light directly up or down the facade, which will result in a mesmerizing contrast of light and shadows as the light gently grazes the facade. Well lights and step deck lights are ideal for this captivating effect.

Moonlighting

This technique gives the impression that the moon is shining through the branches of your trees. Place the light source higher up in the trees, aiming down, which cast stunning shadow patterns on the ground. This effect works best with open-branched trees and spotlights.

What are some landscape lighting techniques that you use to play with light and shadows on your property? Tell us in the comments below!

8 Beautiful Garden Lighting Projects

A good landscape lighting project has the power to enhance outdoor spaces, by taking control of what is seen. With directional lighting, for example, we can create focal points in some areas while adding a touch of mystery to dark areas. We can also play around with color and texture by using different kinds of bulbs in different areas. Below are a few examples to inspire your garden lighting project.

Image: diynetwork.com
Image: diynetwork.com

Play around with the location of pathway lights to add interest. By placing some in the middle of the garden bed and others closer to the path and by varying the distance between them you can guide the visitors eyes down the path.   

Image: MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr
Image: MIKI Yoshihito on Flickr

Mirroring is a simple technique that can be achieved by adding accent lights on the far side of a body of water, across from the viewer’s point. In this case, the accent light should be bright enough to outweigh the moonlight and there should be no underwater lighting.

Image: telegraph.co.uk
Image: telegraph.co.uk

Discrete lighting and fixtures can add depth and color to a garden without overwhelming the view.

Image: houzz.com
Image: houzz.com

 

Mixing uplighting fixtures with strings of glow lights can add a festive mood to your garden patio.

Image: houzz.com
Image: houzz.com

 

Uplighting is the most common way to emphasize  trees,  adding scale and drama to your garden. Also note that different types of fixtures and bulbs will produce different results.

Image: naturallivingmag.com
Image: naturallivingmag.com

 

Underwater lighting can be used to emphasize the shape of a pool and looks great, especially for geometric designs like the one in the picture above.

Image: coolshire.com
Image: coolshire.com

Just because step lighting is a functional requirement does not mean that it has to be boring. Using the same lights for both garden beds and stairs can do the job and save energy.

Image: fydeo.com
Image: fydeo.com

With a few low-powered bulbs, you can achieve enchanting visual effects by shadowing small plants onto walls or other vertical surfaces.