Now that Old Man Winter has released his grip and retreated to his lair, we can all get back to soaking up the good life outdoors, savoring time with family and making good use of our rear decks, balconies, or patios. For most of us working folks, those times avail themselves more frequently in the evenings which brings up the issue of lighting, specifically landscape lighting. The most wonderful and inviting dramatic effects can be created with the use of very simple techniques.
WHEN TOO MUCH IS TOO MUCH
If ever there was a time when ‘less is more’, it is in the design stage of landscape lighting. Too much and walkways become runways, backyards become ball fields. The objective is to not drown out the night with a blaze of stadium lighting (unless of course night sports are your thing). A sweet spot exists where this amazing interplay of light and dark infuses the flatness of night with the proper mixture of assorted landscapes lights. Finding and hitting that spot is the key. When done correctly, a transformative sculpted depth of field comes alive with hidden colors bursting out of the night in both front and rear yards.
Think of landscape lighting as a landscaper designs plantings-low in the front, medium height in the center and higher in the back.
It is true the higher the light source (pole lights) the greater the spread of light but similar effects can be achieved with indirect lighting or working smaller fixtures into the design. Too much lighting can spoil the effect and can even be dangerous. An example is misaimed up-lighting around the front door-instead of providing illumination of the steps, your departing guests are blinded by the glare.
METHODS: THE FOUR TYPES OF LIGHTING
· Security-flood lighting, still the greatest deterrent to crimes at night
· Access–path lights connecting one area to another while preventing injury
· Accent-adds drama, often achieved with well, up and down lighting
· Task-where greater illumination is required as around the barbeque
OBJECTIVES BEFORE YOU START. WHAT IS IMPORTANT TO ILLUMINATE?
· Observe other landscape lighting for those features that appeal to you.
· What is it you wish to highlight?
· Stay within your budget, you can always add on later.
· Identify select features in your landscape worthy of being part of your nightscape.
· Bring areas or items alive that normally go unnoticed in the wash of daylight.
· Be cleaver-combine more than one of the four methods (security, access, accent, task) together for striking results.
· Enhance the mystery by concealing the light source and not the lit object.
· Entranceways require specific attention and inviting lighting techniques.
· Positioning-keep wall washing up lights on your house away from windows
Remember-attractively illuminated areas not only draw attention, but they also draw foot traffic. Be sure a safe means of access (path lights) is in your plan. A well-lit gazebo needs an equally attractive means to guide your guests to and from.
In our next installment, we will review the tools of the trade-the different types of fixtures used by professionals to create a myriad of effects.
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Lippolis Electric, Inc. | 538 Route 22, Pawling, NY 12564 | 845-855-1426 | lippoliselectric.com