Today’s landscape lighting comes in a wide array of shapes, colors and styles and you are sure to find one that fits into your budget. Pathway or walk lights have been designed for lighting a designated area including the space directly underneath the light and within a few feet of the fixture. Normally, these are spaced 6 to 10 feet apart for a soft natural look. More dramatic effects are accomplished with area lights which can be called spot, flood or wash lights. These lights are designed to illuminate a larger area like a wall, statue, tree, or shrub.
Some of the aspects that professionals use that you might want to keep in mind are: depth, perspective, focal points, quality and direction, symmetry and balance and cohesion. What do these aspects entail?
Depth is creating a scene with visual interest by directing the view’s gaze. Starting with a focal point, you add lighting that guides the viewer’s gaze naturally along a pathway ending at the visual destination which is normally a home or building.
Perspective considers the many points-of-view that surround the property. Each property should be thought of as a 3 dimensional canvas with many visual entrances. You want to make the visual experience interesting from all of these points not just from the front.
Focal Points involve a design flowing from one focal point to the next with illumination in the spaces between them. The viewer will gaze from one point to the next in a stop and go motion; this is how the human brain functions. Keep this in mind so your lighting design uses this in your overall layout.
Quality and Direction is like painting with light. Use your lights to create the shape and size of the lighting. Directing the light upward or downward or from one side or the other defines the emphasis of the lighting and overall design of your creation.
Symmetry and Balance is found throughout the natural world. Animals and plants all have a balance on opposite sides of a dividing line between eyes and ears on an animal or between leaves and branches on a plant. Symmetry is used to evoke a positive emotional response from the viewer.
Cohesion is the force that connects your focal points into a complete and coherent design. Each individual yard or property should be looked upon as a stage wherein the life experiences that occur here are played out. Therefore, the nighttime experience needs to express the whole aspect of the land and not just exhibit a collection of trees, bushes, and stone. You need to flow from the focal points keeping in mind the security desires and tie these individual elements together using an approach like: moonlighting for wide expanses (or tree lights used 20-30 feet above the ground), lighting the periphery without distracting from the main focal points or using area, path or bullet lights to illuminate landscape features like garden beds.
Installing low voltage lighting is not difficult and many home owners use their own layouts when they install this lighting. It can create a beautiful and warm environment at night. Creative use of minimal lighting can give your landscape a dramatic effect that can serve to raise property values in your neighborhood and make you proud of your home or business.