Spring has sprung and outdoor gardening season is in full swing. Atlantans are spending more time outdoors sprucing up their gardens for the upcoming outdoor living season. You may be spending lots of time on your lawn, flower bed, or vegetable garden. But have you thought about what your garden looks like at night? As the nights get warmer, it’s time to think about nighttime outdoor living. The professionals at Night Vision Outdoor Lighting have some outdoor lighting tips to spruce up your garden this spring!
Lighting for Your Garden
Gardening is a great hobby, and the effort you put in can really pay off. A manicured lawn, blooming flower bed, and lush greenery create a little oasis in your backyard. It doesn’t matter whether you have an expansive property stretching over an acre or more or a compact backyard garden. If you want to spend more time outdoors this spring and summer, your garden could benefit from outdoor lighting.
There are a number of different ways you can use outdoor lighting to spruce up your garden. In general, you want your outdoor and landscape lighting to serve two purposes: giving you light to see by and beautifying your yard. Of course, the two should go together. But these are two concerns that you should be aware of when planning out your lighting design.
Start With a Good Plan
Speaking of planning out your lighting design, Night Vision Outdoor Lighting wants to remind you of the importance of planning. Any outdoor lighting you do should start with an overall plan. Starting to install lighting haphazardly, just one light at a time, can result in a sloppy, uneven design. Instead, think about what you want to accomplish with your outdoor lighting. Which areas need more light to see by? What features do you want to highlight in your garden?
Starting out with a comprehensive design can guide your lighting so that it all works together. Even if you will only be starting with a small area, thinking ahead will make future installations much easier. From the technical end, any lighting you install will need underground cabling to power the lights. Planning ahead ensures that your cabling is neat, efficient, and powerful enough for all the lights you will eventually install.
So what type of lighting can you use in your garden this spring? Here are a number of tips from the professionals at Night Vision Outdoor Lighting.
Path Lighting: What Not to Do
A good place to start is with some path lighting. Path lighting is often the first outdoor lighting a homeowner installs. Unfortunately, many homeowners install it well be they have considered their overall plan. Furthermore, too many homeowner take the easy, but less effective, route of using cheap solar powered stake lights. While these solar powered lights are easy to install, sine they don’t require wiring, the results can be disappointing. First of all, solar lights are often not powerful enough to provide effective lighting. You may end up having to install extra fixtures just to get enough light to see your pathway. They also tend to be cheaply made, quickly breaking or degrading. Take the time to properly install a low voltage system for your path lights. It will be worth the effort.
Path Lighting: Get Creative
Path lighting is one of the few types of outdoor lighting where the fixtures really take center stage. Since your fixtures will be highly visible, take time to pick out fixtures that match your desired style. There are literally hundreds if not thousands of fixtures. You can go with modern, classical, fanciful, or plain. Another tip that most homeowners don’t think about, is that you can mix fixtures, within reason. Having some complementary designs can add flavor and interest to an otherwise utilitarian part of your outdoor lighting scheme.
When installing path lighting, make sure it is properly spaced. You want to avoid placing lights too close together. Many homeowners set up their path lights at regular intervals, close together, on both sides of a pathway. This ends up looking more like a runway than an enchanted garden. Think of your path lighting as stepping stones, guiding people and pulling them along through your garden or along your path. Lights should be well spaced. The only limiting factor is that each light should be close enough to the last not to leave a large dark patch.
Uplighting is a mainstay of outdoor and landscape lighting. It covers a large variety of lighting options. The main feature of uplighting is indicated by its name. Uplighting is the use of light low down, or even sunk into the ground, shining upward to highlight a feature or object. When planning a lighting design, you will find uplighting everywhere.
The first type of uplighting is the uplighting that will illuminate your home. This is technically not part of lighting your garden. But it is a good first step in planning your overall lighting design. When lighting the facade of your home, you have a few options for uplighting that should be used together. The first type is wash lighting. That is a broad angle floodlight style fixture that will light the whole front of your home. Choose a gentle, but not too yellowish, color temperature. Often, colors in the 2700K range are prefered. They are easy on the eye and provide a soft glow to your home. In addition to wash lighting for the facade of your home, you will want some bullet lighting to highlight distinctive features. Bullet lighting has a much narrower angle and is perfect for highlighting pillars or other standout architectural features.
Once you’ve lit the facade of your home, you can move on to your garden. Uplighting is perfect for highlighting unique or interesting features. You can use bullet lighting as you would for features on the front of your home. You can also use well lighting. Well lighting is sunk into the ground, completely hiding the fixture, but providing a relatively narrow angle upwards light.
To use uplighting in your garden, identify some features that could be highlighted. You can choose interesting trees or hardscape features like stone walls. Water features or architectural features like gazebos are also prime targets for uplighting. If you have an especially tall tree, you may want multiple bullet lights. The bullet lights can come from opposite angles to reduce harsh shadows. They can also point to different levels of the tree to make sure the whole tree is lit up.
Consider the placement of your uplighting. The main decision on placement depends on garden features. But make sure that the features you choose are more or less evenly spread throughout your outdoor space. Avoid bunches of lit up features set off by large dark patches.
As its name implies, downlighting is lighting that is installed high up and pointed downward. This is good for lighting that will be used to make an outdoor space usable at night. Some downlighting can come from fixtures hidden in trees. Other downlighting may be hidden beneath the eaves of your home. For downlighting you want to make sure that you are not going to cast harsh, stark shadows. It may be useful to overlap downlighting from a couple of different angles. Or you can use wide angle downlights to cover a larger area.
Avoid downlights that are too bright or too broad. Lighting should be sufficient to see by, but not overwhelming. Remember, as your eyes adjust to low light at night, less lighting is required to see by. For areas that will get heavy use, like decks, patios, or pool areas, more downlighting may be called for. On the other hand, relaxing garden areas, like a bench or a gazebo, may use more subtle lighting.
Professional Outdoor Lighting Installation
To get the perfect look for your outdoor lighting this spring, professional help can make a huge difference. At Night Vision Outdoor lighting we have completed thousands of outdoor lighting projects for almost every type of setting you could imagine. If you want to make your garden shine (literally!) this spring, Night Vision Outdoor Lighting is ready to help. You can contact us online or call us at 678-828-2999. We usually return calls in 1-2 business days, and often the same day. After the initial call, we can set up a consultation within 3 business days to get your job started. Our landscape lighting professionals will learn about your priorities, design interests, and budget. Then we will work you with you to design the perfect outdoor lighting for your home.
So if you’re ready to spruce up your garden with outdoor lighting this spring, go ahead and give us a call today!