Landscape Lighting 101: Planning Outdoor Lighting, Even If You’re Not A Pro
As a homeowner, you work hard to make the inside of your home reflect your own unique style and personality. Why stop there! Designing and decorating the outside of your home, even for night time, offers unique opportunities to show off your own style and personality.
A landscape lighting system can highlight the most unique elements of your home’s architecture, all while adding valuable curb appeal, security and even safety. But, form follows function. Take a minute to read through this list of things to think through before you jump head first into selecting fixtures.
Know what you’re looking for in a design.
How Will You Use Your Outdoor Space?
Before choosing any outdoor lighting designs, consider how you will be using your outdoor space. Do you only want security and safety lighting for your front walkway and entrance? Or do you intend to light up your back porch to BBQ diner and entertain family and friends? Some neglected areas are the front steps, driveway, patio or porch, backyard, pool, unique architectural elements. The lighting design you choose will reflect the way you plan to use your space, so be sure you’ve considered all the ways you’ll use your outdoor spaces at night before making a final decision.
Determine Lighting Style
Deciding on the needs of each area of your home helps streamline the decisions on what kind of lighting and lighting fixtures to use. You may want task lighting over the bar-be-que for instance. Maybe you want to brighten up the darkest parts of your yard for security, then strategic flood lights or uplighting of trees might be effective. If you want to illuminate a unique architectural feature on your home, you’ll want to use accent lighting such as spotlights. And you’re not limited to one style. If you want light to help bar-be-que, that same lighting doesn’t have to light up your dining area.
Let one style and brightness compliment another. This is where smart technology and creating zones for your outdoor lighting comes in!
Creating Zones With Landscape Lighting Maximizes Versatility
With LED technology, landscape lighting is available in a variety of colours, beam spread, and intensity. Zones signify a particular focus or intended use, each zone complimenting and blending into another. Smart technology allows you to control individual fixtures with your phone or tablet. You can have multiple electrical lines go to one transformer, allowing for individual control of each line or “zone.”
There’s never been more options for style and versatility.
Each zone is grouped on a single line from the transformer. Each zone then can be controlled independently depending on any number of factors. For instance, you’ll want lights used for security to come on at dusk and turn off at dawn – set it and forget it. Smart technology can automate that independent of the lights on your patio or pool for instance.
Need lights for special events or just while you’re outside on patio, set those to automatically turn of at 11PM. Create a timed light show to music if you want.
How To Determine The Best Zones For Your Outdoor Lighting
You might create zones based on the proximity of the fixtures to one another or a particular feature (a fence line, a building, a feature in the yard), or based on their function (security, pool, cooking). If creating zones based on function for example, you might want to create a design where you can leave your security lighting on all night long, but be able to shut off your garden lighting before you go to bed.
Draw a rough diagram of your yard and make note of any features you want to highlight at night such as a fountain, pond, statue, etc. Those individual items you want to light up at night will need their own electrical lines if you wish to control them separate from other zones. Identify which parts of the yard require specific kinds of lighting. Pathway lighting for safety. Downlights in the tree for entertaining. Uplights along the foundation to highlight the house façade. Spotlights for the garage for security. This allows you to conserve energy and only use the lights you want when you need them.
But where do you start when designing zones and choosing fixtures?
Basic Design Principles To Enhance Custom Landscape Lighting
Usually the home is the focal point of the landscape lighting design, but other areas of focus can be included. A good design will tie these separate elements together to establish a cohesive appearance.
Be sure to avoid a flattening effect by only adding outdoor lighting to the front of your home. Instead, create a three-dimensional viewing experience by adding depth and contrast.
Maximize your home’s nighttime potential! Many builders install minimal lighting so the effect is utilitarian rather than aesthetic. Instead, highlight the architectural features and landscaping to create a unique-to-you effect day and night!
Strategically placed landscape lighting aimed at the shadows in your yard can increase the security of your home. Don’t forget pathways, driveways, walks and stairs that also need adequate lighting to provide safety for guests and family. If you have a pool or some other feature that poses a safety risk, proper lighting is a must!
Never accept a light fixture that’s only functional, search for the fixture that’s functional, looks great, and provides just the right kind of light. Many of these fixtures can pull double duty and provide light for multiple purposes to maximize your investment.
Types of Outdoor Lighting in Oakville
In order to better understand your outdoor lighting design needs, consider the following outdoor lighting classifications:
Decorative Lighting: this will add to the overall value of your home by illuminating areas of your yard where you can socialize with family and friends. Our tiki lamps provide a nice downlighting effect and enhance the mood around the pool or near the BBQ.
Landscape lighting: if your garden is the envy of your neighbourhood, why not show off all of the interesting features that make your yard beautiful with a little lighting? Try our mini wash light for garden areas or our above ground well light for trees or fountains.
Security lighting: Use lights that illuminate a large area to discourage trespassers. Sensors or timers are also effective. Decide where there are “risk zones” in your yard. Pick areas that need to be lit up for safety reasons, such as steps, around the pool, dark zones, and other areas where guests may be in danger of tripping. This has the benefit of adding security from trespassers.
Think of the Effect of Your Landscape Lighting in Oakville
Rather than just considering what the fixture looks like, you should be thinking of what the desired effect is. What are you trying to achieve? Common techniques are grazing, silhouetting, spot lighting, moonlight effect, and cross lighting.
Consider factors such as the height of the feature highlighted, the type of feature (hardscape like fire pits, walls, and ovens, or natural landscaping), the colour of the feature, and the sort of texture. Texture can do a lot to enhance the effect of the lighting by creating shadows.
Consider the greener options to help out the environment, and your bank account. LED lights may be more expensive at the initial purchase, but will save you in the long run – especially with the many lights needed for landscape lighting in Oakville.
Hire a Pro
The best way to get landscape lighting in the Oakville area to fit your needs is to hire a professional. Seasoned experts can tell you exactly what fixtures will provide what effect, and how to enhance the usefulness of your yard, as well as the safety, security, and curb appeal of your home. The warranty is another huge benefit.
Don’t wait to enhance the night time beauty of your home. Contact Nite Time Décor Oakville for your complimentary quote today.