Without the proper research and preparation, designing outdoor landscape lighting can be a pretty tedious affair. However, with just a little extra time preparing and looking at some landscape lighting tips, you can come up with the perfect landscape lighting for your property with a minimal amount of time spent and frustration. Here’s eight different tips that you can use to help light up your garden.
#1: Use Solar Lights in Sunny Areas
There are many advantages to using solar garden lights. They are easy to install, run on their own power so you don’t have to pay for anything more than the installation and are eco-friendly, running off our biggest renewable resource. As solar cells and the batteries they power get more powerful and the lights they light get less power intensive, more and more different solar light fixtures have popped up. They offer a great deal of options for almost every situation.
The only real downside to solar lights is that they need direct sunlight. But there’s no reason that even if you are using a low voltage powered lighting system in one section of your yard you can’t use a few solar powered lights in other areas. It will save you on electricity costs and time and energy spent installing the lights and running the wires to them. You just stake the lights into the ground and forget about them.
#2: Use Feature Lighting to Draw Attention
Do you have a prized flower, shrub, or tree? Or just one that could look interesting if lit up late at night? If so, one of the best outdoor landscape lighting tips that you can get is to make use of feature lighting. Feature lighting, usually through the use of uplights, but spotlighting also works, will draw people’s attention to the most interesting or unique areas of your yard. First decide which objects you want to feature light and then design the levels of ambient lighting that you need around that.
#3: Use floodlights to cast shadows
One of the great things about nighttime garden lighting is that you can play with elements of light and dark to create shadows and hide or reveal objects. One of the best objects to try to create an eerie effect in your yard is a large tree. Try placing floodlights behind the tree to silhouette it against the light. Don’t be content with just sitting the lights there and forgetting about them though. If you truly want to find the best angle for the lights, try a few different spots for the floodlights and see the different shadows and shapes that you can make by lighting up the tree. Some of them might turn out quite spooky, or even resemble other objects.
#4: Uplight trees for great effects
In addition to backlighting trees, you can also attempt to uplight them by placing spiked lamps near to the tree’s trunk. This will highlight the tree and draw attention to it, but also if its done correctly you can still create different shadows up in the branches. The major advantage this has over silhouetting the tree is that it doesn’t cast large shadows over areas of your yard.
Try playing with different colors and types of light to create the right effect that you want. For example, tungsten lamps will give off a much softer light on the tree than the harsh light that many halogen bulbs have.
#5: Try to follow the same theme
Another landscape lighting tip is to try to follow the same theme throughout your entire property. Unless you own sizable chunks of land, you don’t want an island theme here and then a full moon theme over there, and then a romantic theme this way. You and your guests will end up just being confused and you won’t be eliciting the types of moods and feelings you’d like to.
Instead, try to find a theme you like and that will go with your entire yard. Follow it throughout your whole garden and deck. If it turns out you don’t like it, you can always get a few different light fixtures and bulbs.
#6: Less light is more
The sixth tip is possibly the most important. Remember that less light equates to more. It’s easy just to bake your entire landscape under several high powered halogen floodlights. However, you’ll be missing out on an undiscovered world of shadows and subtlety. Try to create what you want in your yard with the least amount of light possible. Accentuate the night, don’t make it run for the hills.
#7: Hide the sources of lights
One of the best things that you can do when installing your lights is to try to hide the light sources as much as you possibly can. There will be some situations when you actually want to show the lights, such as when you’re installing old-fashioned lamps and other fixtures. However, for most garden lighting, like uplighting and downlighting, you should be trying to hide where the lights come from in your landscape. This creates a much better effect.
Along these lines, also, for everyone’s sake, don’t make too much use of decorative lights. It is okay to have a lit up frog or deer every so often, but don’t cover your yard in them unless its Christmas time and your name is Clark Griswold.
#8: Find inspiration in botanical gardens
One of the biggest sources of inspiration you can use for your own garden lighting plans is to look at how professionally designed botanical gardens are lit. These gardens have had a lot of time, effort, and money put into their designs and while you won’t be able to achieve all the effects that they do, you may walk away with some more ideas for your home and garden.
With the help of these landscape lighting tips you should be well on your way to designing the perfect lighting for your property. Make sure to do you planning and research before you commit to any big purchases and enjoy turning your backyard into a great landscape that you get enjoyment out of both day and night.