If you have worked hard on your landscaping but something still isn’t quite right, or even if you want to add a finishing touch, but you aren’t quite sure what it is, lighting could be the missing key. Lighting plays an important role in the way your landscape looks, especially at night. Below are some ways to utilize new lighting to really spruce up your landscape.
Indoor vs. Outdoor Lighting
The first thing to keep in mind when it comes to choosing lighting for your landscape is the difference between indoor and outdoor lighting. For instance, you won’t need to worry much about reflection outdoors since surfaces tend to stay dark and won’t reflect much light at all. Glare could be an issue, though, so you will want to make sure you position your lights so they illuminate the right areas while still shielding them in such a way that they don’t hurt your eyes when you look toward them.
Direct vs. Indirect Lighting
Another important consideration is the difference between direct and indirect lighting. A direct light is something designed to illuminate a specific object or relatively small area, such as your entry door or a flag on a flagpole. Indirect lighting, on the other hand, is designed to provide a soft wash of light on all the surfaces it reaches. The most aesthetic landscapes make use of both direct and indirect lighting in ways that are not only pleasing to the eye, but also functional for visitors.
Areas to Consider Lighting
Now that you have read about the differences between indoor, outdoor, direct, and indirect lighting, it’s time to choose where you will put your lights. The most popular areas for landscape lighting are:
- Walkways – Lighting up a walkway at night is always a great idea. You can use soft illumination, or you can use carefully-placed direct lighting depending on the aesthetic you choose. Not only does this make walkways safer (and in many cases, cities and neighborhoods require lighted walkways), but it also extends a warm welcome to visitors and adds a sense of coziness to your home.
- Entries – A direct light that illuminates your entry door is another great option. Even if you forget to leave your porch/patio light on, the outdoor direct light should provide you with enough illumination to find your keys and unlock the door. Consider a single direct light overhead or two lights on either side. Never light an entry door from the bottom since your shadow will block the light when you stand in front of the door.
- Patios, Decks, and Gazebos – These are important landscaping features and when they are well-lit, they are stunning. You can use direct lights to highlight important areas, such as the grill or the hot tub, and you can use indirect light to show off the architecture. Ideally, you will want to consider a combination of both.
- Your Home’s Architecture – Depending on how your home is built, using outdoor lighting to highlight its architecture can add a unique flair. For example, you can use indirect outdoor lighting to cast shadows from plants along an outside wall and give it a subtle glow. You might also choose to use a direct light to focus on decorative walls or features.
As you can see, lighting can have a tremendous impact on your home’s curb appeal, especially at night. It provides extra safety for your family and your visitors by illuminating their path and your entry doors. Finally, with the right types of lighting used in all the right places, it can highlight all the best features of your home and provide unique interest.