Sitting on the patio late into the evening with the warm glow of soft lighting through the trees. The little shadows that enhance the texture of the plants along the walkway…This is what accent lighting is all about! Not to forget the welcoming view as you come home on those long days that have short light, the architecture accentuated by the selective touches of light that really shows off the house to make you really feel welcome!
Now the lighting I am talking about is very different form what you might encounter in your home improvement stores. Those ‘lights’ are really nothing more than glow sticks standing in your yard- they don’t cast a glow far enough to see it on anything, they really don’t cast a nice wash of light on the house…so why do so many use them? Why do they line their walk way as it they are landing little planes? I don’t know for sure, but I have heard the claims of accent lighting being too hard to have installed. NOT TRUE! Landscape lighting is a low voltage system that can be plugged in to an existing outlet. So unless you have a lack of outlets you shouldn’t need an electrician. So instead they bought something at the store and did all that the glow sticks would let them do.
The good landscape lights will give you a few basic functions: up lighting, down lighting, path lighting and then there is a category of specialty lighting- but that is for another post. The main items are the up and path lights: up lights shine up (imagine that!) on the architecture and other structures including trees. Your path lights stand just tall enough (approx 18-24″) that they can cast a nice pool of light down and also are used to show of plant material in the landscape. Once you have the right types you can decide if the lights are the main effect you want of if decor is also important to your view. When going mainly for light a simple fixture will be just right, be there may those areas that you want something a little flashier and want to go with a artistic light. There are so many styles of the artistic ones, you could find anything to match your decor- architectural to whimsy.
So ask yourself are you looking to land tiny airplanes or enhance your land
scape, then let your answer direct your type of lighting.
To see more about landscape lighting click here.