If there is one thing that can elevate your garden from average to awesome it’s lighting. No wonder it's the top landscape focus right now. Having the right lights in your landscape can extend your enjoyment of your time outdoors. Good lighting is something that makes a substantial difference to our clients in their overall satisfaction with their landscape. They often mention how glad they are that they “went with lighting” as it brings a new dimension to their experience outside.
So, as you look outside at your own landscape and evaluate its lighting potential, here are a few things to consider.
The Big Picture
When we design landscape lighting plans, we keep the big picture in mind. We literally imagine it as a picture and make sure that the light is evenly placed and balanced throughout. The photo above is a good example of well distributed light. The tree is lit from below, the pathway is gently lit on both sides and the exterior fixtures on the house are not overwhelming. I can tell this is well designed because there is no one light that is brighter than the others. Often exterior fixtures on homes have very bright bulbs in them that create visual ‘hotspots’ that a good lighting plan works to avoid.
A beautifully front yard creates hospitality. Be sure to light the area around the front door - this is one of the most welcoming treats you can give your guests, make it easy for them to find your front door and read your house number. Don’t put a 100 watt bulb in the light fixture over the door. This will wash out any nearby landscape lighting and create an uncomfortable glare for the people knocking on your door. A softer overhead light supplemented by nearby landscape lighting will create a more inviting space.
You can choose how you would like people to move about your landscape by the way you plan the lighting. Because people rely on lighting to know where to go, you will ensure that your guests stay on the paths and congregate where you want them with the right lighting. Generally speaking, people in a lighted space don’t wander off into the darker areas. Strategic lighting can keep guests close to the house, away from the boundaries of the property. This is key if you entertain often and live next to grumpy neighbours. A well lit deck/patio, with darker spaces beyond it, naturally corrals guests and can go a long way to keeping the neighbourhood peace.
The best way to accent a focal point is to light it up. Doing so will give your eye a place to land and rest as you enjoy an evening outside. A lit focal point also creates a destination as it invites the visitor to come and examine it more closely. Take a look around your yard to see what might come to life with a little lighting.
Stay tuned for Monday's post for more detailed ways to make your neighbours jealous with your landscape lighting.
For more inspiration, check out our Pinterest board on lighting.