New Options for Landscape Lighting
As the days grow shorter, most of us would like to be outdoors as much we can before winter arrives in force. One way to do that is with landscape lighting. With the right lighting, you can extend the time you spend in your outdoor sanctuary throughout the year, enjoying the night. Think ArtisticallyWhen you begin to plan how to use lighting in the landscape, don’t focus just on security or safety. Sure, lights can help you feel safer from break-ins and also keep you from running into things, but they also can be used more creatively to highlight garden elements, cast interesting shadows against a wall, or bring out the color of some fall foliage or spring flowers. Think strategically: where can you get the best nighttime effects with added lighting? Lighting Basics You don’t need high wattage bulbs for the best night-time landscaping effects: lower level lighting works fine. Plus, your neighbors will appreciate your efforts to avoid light pollution. Mostly, you’ll want to stick with colorless lights, although a slight blue tint may work when shone on evergreens. Incandescent light in the range of 2700 to 3000 kelvins is best. Another option is the light-emitting diode, or LED type, increasingly popular in the landscape. They use less energy and are also programmable. Low-voltage lighting, another popular choice, uses about 12 volts of power compared to the 120 volts used in homes. Electricians consider it safer to work with and easier to install. Landscape Lighting Options Different types of lights and their effects are as follows:
- Wash: Soft, diffuse light that brightens flat surfaces, garden walls or fences.
- Bullet: Compact and versatile, with a narrow beam for precision lighting.
- Well: No fixture is visible; used to illuminate the underside of foliage or the base of walls.
- Flood: Casts a broad, bright beam and should be used sparingly; a collar can minimize side glare.
- Spotlight: Versatile, comes in different sizes; underwater models are available.