So, you are contemplating lights for outside your residence. For These types of beautification projects to be successful and interesting, you are going to need a well thought out plan. You’ll want to take into consideration your landscaping, architectural features, and pathways. You should especially consider highlighting those features that you take pride in or consider your ‘trophies’. These are property features you enjoy and you want your friends and neighbors to enjoy when they come to visit.
When you start thinking about lights outside your home there are three primary uplighting techniques used by outdoor lighting professionals. They are front, back, and cross up-lighting. Consider using a mixture of the three when planning your design.
Lights for Outside – Techniques and Strategies
First, let us discuss front up-lighting. Using front up-lighting is a traditional technique which helps emphasize trees and shrubs, as well as, walls and fences. The objective is to showcase the primary residential features without casting shadows. Placing these lights close to walls, known as “grazing”, can really make textures stand out!
The second technique you will want to utilize is known as back up-lighting or silhouetting. This technique uses low intensity lights to illuminate the beauty and form of the feature. Lights are placed in the back of the feature creating a soft glow around the feature.
The final technique you will be using generally provides more light than the other two techniques. It is called cross up-lighting and is generally used for property trophy features like fountains, statues, or boulders. Place lights away from the feature at a 30 to 45 degree angle from center and allow the beams to cross over each other. This can highlight surface texture and really help to reveal the form of the feature. Don’t worry about filling in all of the shadows created with this technique, those shadows will help make your display much more interesting.
We’ve talked about lighting the features of your property, now let’s talk about lighting the pathways of your property. There are a few things you should consider when selecting pathway lighting. For example, should you use copper, plastic, brass or another material? Also, you should be thinking about light intensity for your pathways. Pathway lighting doesn’t have to illuminate the entire pathway. Go for a design that creates soft pools of light down the path. Another fun part of the pathway project is selecting the design of the pathway lights. This is where your personality will come into play!
As your planning lights for outside you’ll want to contemplate what features you plan to light. You should take your time and map out exactly what you want to accomplish. Remember there many different techniques you can utilize to make your design and your property more interesting. Whatever your plan, remember to have fun doing your lights for outside, don’t let them become stressful, good luck!