The season for outdoor entertaining has finally arrived! From Memorial Day pool parties to gatherings over BBQ to catching lightning bugs on hot summer nights, the fun shouldn’t have to end when the sun goes down. Outdoor lighting is an essential element of any outdoor space and can add a lot of value and enjoyment to your home.
While lighting can take the look of your outdoor space to the next level, it can be very hard to decide what direction to go in. It should be functional and safe, as well as provide a relaxing atmosphere while complementing your lifestyle. In this blog, we’ll walk through the different types of outdoor lighting and address how to choose the perfect illumination for your outdoor space.
Up Lighting is a great place to start for beginners because it is one of the most basic forms of landscape lighting. Typically, Up Lighting is used to create drama with a taller structure, such as a statue or fountain, or a large tree by highlighting the trunk or the underside of the canopy. For this type of lighting, you’ll want to use spotlights or well lights, which are recessed into the ground to create a seamless look in both landscape and hardscape settings.
Another great way to create drama, this technique requires placing a spot light or well light behind the item and pointing the light toward the main vantage point. To really keep the magic, you’ll want to ensure the light source itself cannot be seen.
The opposite of silhouetting, this type of lighting creates a much softer effect. Place the light between the main vantage point and the item you’re lighting, pointing it at the item to cast shadows on the surface behind. The key to this technique is to have a wall or flat surface behind the item to catch the soft shadows. This effect works well with spotlights, well lights, and flood lights.
This technique works great for spaces with large trees. Place spotlights high up in the tree aimed down to wash the branches and ground below in light. This creates an impressive effect, especially when used on an open-branched tree such as sycamore and maple.
This technique is essential for the hardscape-heavy space. Grazing involves placing the light close to the surface and aiming the beam directly down, creating a dramatic light and shadow play.
Sometimes, a space needs to be well-lit. To achieve this, try flooding a large wall or hedge in an entertainment area, which will wash the space with light. It’s best to use a wide-beamed light placed between the main vantage point and the surface. This casts an even, gentle light over the whole area.
Although it’s one of the more basic types of lighting, path lighting is actually easy to mess up. The best way to achieve perfect path lighting is to place fixtures on alternating sides of the path, working back and forth to create a welcoming entry. Path lights aren’t just for paths—they can also be used to frame out a space or feature in your space, such as a pond or structure.
String lights, or party lights, provide gentle and soft light that illuminates the space below and create a warm and inviting environment. You can string them across the ceiling of your patio, hang them across the yard from the corner of your house, or even drape them across plants or a wall to create a subtle yet lovely background
Choosing Outdoor Lighting for Your Space
With this many types of lighting, deciding the best course of action can seem overwhelming. When it comes to your landscape, think about the things you’d like to highlight, such as trees or structures. It’s also important to remember that when it comes to outdoor lighting, less is sometimes more. Avoid lighting up every detail—your power bill will thank you, and you won’t completely wash out your yard.
Putting the finishing touches on your outdoor spaces with outdoor lighting requires an investment of time and money. To realize your property’s greatest potential, consider consulting a professional. The staff at DSLD Land Management has years of experience in landscape design, consulting, and lighting. Not only will DSLD work with you to help you achieve the outdoor space of your dreams, we’ll be sure to design a lighting plan that allows you to see it! Contact us today to get started.