With seemingly endless possibilities in outdoor landscape lighting options, it can be difficult to identify what materials and fixtures you want to illuminate your property. Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for design inspiration (and expert installation, but that’s another discussion). You can enjoy extended time outdoors with a beautiful, customized landscape lighting solution that fits your needs and aesthetic tastes. All it takes is a bit of preparation, research and ideas about what’s possible. Read on for the inspiration and tips you need to get started.
The Most Important Elements in Landscape Lighting Design
To enjoy a well-lit outdoor space, you first need to consider the following crucial elements: function, placement and style. Each is important to ensure you achieve the result that aligns with your goals, and it gives you a starting place to help narrow down your options. Let’s get started.
Landscape Lighting Functional Considerations
The first item to consider is the intended function your outdoor lighting will serve. Why do you want landscape lighting? What are you trying to achieve? What portions of your home and landscape do you want to illuminate? This list can include key architectural features of your home, front and side walkways, driveway, patio, deck, steps, planting beds, backyard, landscape and more.
Consider if you want to illuminate a space (your entire backyard, the steps to your front door, etc.), or highlight a specific feature (the architecture of your home, your prized ornamental trees, etc.). Below are two examples that illustrate this point.
Most often, with pathway lighting, its intended purpose is to make it safer and easier to walk at night. Illuminating a walkway with this function in mind helps you decide what would make it easiest for visitors and family to see clearly as they approach or leave your home.
On the other hand, when you want to bring attention to specific features of your home or landscape, the goal is highlighting. Note what you’re most excited about showcasing, and how you can best display it at night. Use landscape lighting to accent these characteristics.
Landscape Lighting Placement Considerations
Placement of lighting is essential for achieving your intended purpose. This is true for illuminating beautiful portions of your home and property, but especially applies when the goal is brightening up a space for you, your family and guests to enjoy or navigate. Space the fixtures too far apart, and they may not be bright enough to achieve their intended purpose. Angle them incorrectly or place them at the wrong height and you could make it hard for people to see past the glare.
For example, say you want to call attention to the stone siding or brickwork on the front of your home. Easy enough to do, but if you’re not careful in the placement and direction of your outdoor fixtures, they could send light beaming into the eyes of anyone looking out your front windows or at your home from the exterior. Positioning them close to the base of your home requires less light to brighten your home’s facade. Then you can use diffused lighting to shine upward in a soft glow to achieve your goal.
Or, let’s say you want to add subtle lighting to brighten and set the mood on your deck or patio without the harsh glare of a bright overhead light. Many homeowners like to add outdoor lighting fixtures to the edges of a space, like the railings of a deck. Spacing of such lights is key, but so is vertical placement. You must consider how the lights will look from both a standing and sitting position. Lights on a handrail may illuminate the deck better, but could shine into the eyes of those sitting down. Placing them on the rungs themselves may better suit your needs.
Landscape Lighting Style Considerations
The last consideration we’ll address in this blog post is style. Now that you’ve identified your goals for outdoor landscape lighting – what, why and where you want to illuminate – the final consideration is how. The fixtures and colors you choose will depend on your own personal aesthetic taste and the style of your home.
Types of popular home architectural styles in the Northern Virginia area include: modern/contemporary, transitional/craftsman and traditional/colonial. Your selection of landscape lighting designs should fit the style of your home. Modern homes stand out for their asymmetrical, geometric architectural influences that emphasize function over form. Simplistic lighting may win out over detailed fixtures for this type of home. As for craftsman style, these homes are more intricately detailed, featuring dormer windows, tiers of triangular roofs and a covered front porch or entryway with columns. The most suitable landscape lighting for a craftsman style home will emphasize and complement the beauty of this architecture. By comparison, colonial homes feature simpler designs: they are symmetrical houses with shuttered windows and a centered door, usually with brick or stone facades. Traditional lighting styles may be best suited to this type of home.
Achieve a Customized Landscape Lighting Design Solution
Gaining an understanding of how function, placement and style impact your outdoor landscape lighting design is the perfect place to get started with this project. Whether you have a clear vision in mind or aren’t sure how to best light up your property, our certified landscape lighting designers can help you achieve your goals. We consult with you to discuss your ideas, then use our years of experience to bring your vision to life by developing a customized landscape lighting design that fits your needs and aesthetic tastes. Contact BG Outdoor Services today to learn more about our outdoor landscape lighting installation services and solutions.