You’ve spent hundreds if not thousands of dollars on your landscaping, and as long as there is daylight, everyone is truly impressed. However, as dusk falls and the light fades all of the sweat that you invested disappears into the night.
Figure 2 - 3D landscape software
The proper placement and design of outdoor lighting not only shows off your investment when there is no natural sunlight, but it will enhance the features of your landscaping even more, as shown in Figure 1.
Figure 1 - Landscape lighting
Good landscape lighting, as a general rule, will involve more than one attempt at layout and will most likely require the addition of fixtures, and adjusting the placement of others, as you view the outcome of your first layout. You can develop a 3D lighting layout by using one of the many landscape and/or home design software application tools. An excellent 3D software application tool is "Landscape Pro", by Punch.
You should also remember that as trees, shrubs and plants grow the landscape lighting will have to be adjusted to take these changes in growth into account.
Landscape lighting is also subject to seasonality. As seasons change plants, trees and shrubs perform differently, some will flower others may go into a state of hibernation. Having multiple circuits for individual portions of the landscape lighting that can be utilized at different times of the year may be beneficial, depending on your layout and types of plants, trees and shrubs.
Your home should be considered within your landscape lighting project. You not only want to enhance the visual effect of the plants, trees and shrubs as shown in Figure 1. But you want to highlight the features of your home, as shown in Figure 3.
Figure 3 - Landscape lighting highlighting a home
Landscape lighting is available in low and standard voltage. As well, there is an increasing availability of solar powered outdoor landscape light fixtures (Figures 4 and 5).
Figure 4 - Solar powered outdoor path lights
Figure 5 - Solar powered outdoor spot light
The purpose of landscape lighting is:
- Provide safety and security,
- Enhance the look and appearance of the landscaping.
The purpose is not to create "daylight".
There are 10 types of landscape lighting:
- Down Lighting:
Down lighting may be accomplished using spot or flood lamps elevated above the ground and pointing down (Figure 6a). Light fixtures can be installed below eves and in trees.
Figure 6a - Outdoor double head spot light fixture.
Down lighting provides a very soft illumination effect as shown in Figure 6.
Figure 6 - Down light mounted in tree
It should be noted that if you place light fixtures in trees, that trees grow and electrical wire doesn't. The electrical wiring in the tree will have to be inspected often and wiring extended to allow for tree growth.