POSTED ON 19th June 2015

Enlightening Options

How to add security, drama and unrivaled beauty to your expanded outdoor spaces with discreet lighting design.

When the sun goes down, there is no need for your use and enjoyment of your outdoors to diminish with the fading light. It is amazing how you can transform your landscaping at night when strategically illuminated, adding a dash of drama while being functional at the same time.

Outdoor lighting systems come in two different configurations: low voltage (12 V) or high/line voltage (110 V). Most residential outdoor lighting is now low voltage because it offers the widest variety of fixtures, is less expensive and can be easily installed. Low voltage systems use a transformer to reduce the line voltage to 12 V. Depending on design configuration and distance of lighting design from home, multiple transformers may be necessary. High voltage systems use larger and brighter fixtures and are typically part of a more complex lighting design and require a licensed electrician to install.

The key is to be proactive and plan ahead for current and future lighting needs. Always install sleeves under walkways, patios or other surfaces for future electrical hookup, be it for lighting, water features, sound and irrigation systems that all require electricity.

There are a number of different lighting techniques to determine the desired effect to highlight elements of your hardscape and landscape features.

Up lighting, focuses attention on a particular object, such as a tree, fountain, arbor or statue. By up lighting a wall or another broad surface with a wash of light, objects in front then become silhouetted. Placing an up light behind a tree and angling it towards the tree gives it a back light effect, slightly less dramatic than a silhouette.

Down lighting, casts soft light downwards to create subtle shadows on plant beds, walkways, waterfalls and other desired areas. This lighting type is typically dimmer than up lighting and offers a more natural appearance. This lighting is very versatile.

The higher and deeper the fixture, the more shadows are created as light disperses through foliage. Focus light angled down towards a smaller tree or shrub emulates a genuine moonlit effect. To broaden the space surrounding a tree, you point a fixture towards the back of the tree.

Path Lighting aims lighting downward, helping to define the path. Usually, it comprises lights mounted to a stake that is placed in the ground every one to three feet apart. You can also define walkways with step lighting which can be installed during construction or mounted to the surface of an existing step.

Let our design professionals custom design an ideal outdoor lighting plan to expand your use and enjoyment of your outdoor space- night and day!