Create Dramatic Lighting Effects with Various Techniques…

Up Lighting– The most common technique for landscape lighting.

Place the light at the base of the object.  Start with the bottom of the specimen and light up to the top of the tree.


Silhouette Lighting– Place the light source behind the intended object.  This technique is also known as back-lighting.


Down Lighting– Placing the fixture overhead provides a wide range of opportunity. Highlights the tops of objects, provides directional light for pathways, hides the light source for architectural features and can produce a sensual moon light effect on the ground.


Grazing- This technique is primarily used for non-reflective materials.  Place the light source at the bottom of the object and angle the light from one side.  This will produce a soft but interesting texture on the intended object.  Grazing can also be accomplished by crossing the beams across the material.


Spot Lighting– This allows the object to be the center of attention.  All of the light is focused on the center of the element being lit.  Place the light 2 to 3 feet from the specimen and minimize the angle of light.


Path Lighting– This is an excellent technique for safety and defining direction.  Take care not to over light, avoid glare and avoid the “run-way” affect.  Good path lighting will subtly lead the eye to the intended destination.  Fixtures typically will have an off set arm.


Area Lighting– The elements of area lighting are critical to most landscape areas.  Good area lighting will provide “pools” of light, some over-lapping some defining light and shadow and / or provide a definition of boundary.  Choose fixtures typically about 18” to 24” off of the ground.  Place in center of intended area.  This technique is ideal for planter areas, flower beds, etc.  Fixtures will typically be center mounted.


Deck and Patio Lighting– This is a great place to extend the hours of nighttime entertainment.  Deck and patio lighting should be minimized.  Choose step lights and accent lights to define traffic ways and boundaries; choose over head lighting to provide soft general lighting from above.


Pool and Pond– Highlighting water features is an ideal objective for landscape lighting.  Water is a natural reflective material.  Images and shadows can be bounced into the water creating multiple images and interesting silhouettes. Or, the light can be placed in the water and “grazed” or “spilled” into the water feature.

Effective Lighting is 9 parts art and 1 part science. Being creative allows stunning effects and the enhancement of home and outdoor spaces…

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