Types of Outdoor Landscape Lighting

Using outdoor landscape lighting around the home can serve multiple purposes. They increase safety by allowing people to see ahead of them when they are walking and deter strangers from intruding on your property. Yard lights also add a certain aura to your outdoor surroundings once it gets dark. Garden lights further allow homeowners to express their artistic side and bring attention to their prized outdoor ornaments and plants. Using lighting in the garden is a reasonably quick way to change how and when you use your garden.

Ambient lights are a form of outdoor landscape lighting that lights up the whole garden. They are commonly used for outdoor parties, gatherings or gardening sessions at night. Large spotlights attached high up to the side of your home, garage or other surface are a great way to create ambient light. Another way is to select decorative lamp posts to provide specific light to a designated space. It is best to buy ambient lights that can be controlled with a switch so that the lights are only on when you need them to be. Low-level ambient lights make the outdoor landscape more usable at night while brighter lights help to increase the security of the home.

Accent lights are small or medium sized lights that can be placed in a way that accentuates a particular feature to be illuminated in your garden. For example, you can position accent lights near the bottom of trees and angle them facing the tree. You can also aim lights at specific plants that may be special to you to highlight them and make them more attractive and enjoyable to guests. Accent lights quite often create shadows. After fixing these types of outdoor lights look to see that what you want to highlight is in fact being highlighted and that an illusion is not given of a figure lurking in your garden. Low-voltage wires are a great way to power accent lights along with batteries and solar energy. Solar energy can be less effective for lights placed near the base of trees. Accent lights are available in a range of colours which gives you more scope to design the look and feel of your outdoor area how you would like it.

Walkway lights are an excellent source of lighting to use outside the home because they provide safety for people using the path at night. These path lights help people to follow curves in the path and avoid stepping on things that could cause injury. It is also very important that surfaces which are uneven, steep and step-like receive good lighting. Adding lights that emit a contrasting colour from the walkway makes hazards, such as steps, more visible when walking the path. Walkway lights also makes the path very attractive and pleasing to the eye. Pathway lights are usually fixed into the ground on both sides of the walkway to provide proper lighting and visibility and can be powered using low-voltage wiring, batteries and solar energy. Most manufacturers will allow you to buy walkway lights as a set so that you can control all the bulbs with one wire. These path lights are generally available in more colours, finishes and styles than other types of outdoor lights.

A whimsy light is typically a piece of art that lights up at night. Whimsical lights are not the sort of lighting that you will want to use to light a path or work on a task as they do not project enough light to support these uses. Whereas the previous styles of outdoor landscape lighting helped to highlight an attraction these lights are the attraction. Plastics, metals and glass can be manipulated into various forms and can embody a lighting element to create illuminated sculptures. Common shapes are fireflies, butterflies and orbs. A useful tip is to power these decorative lights with sub-surface wiring or with small, hidden solar panels that do not disrupt paths or walkways.

There are also a number of lighting effects that can be utilized to add emphasis or a particular feel to the landscape:

Up Lighting
Up lighting consists of fixtures placed at ground level that shine upward and accent a water feature, archway or arbour for a dramatic effect.

Down Lighting
Down lighting can brighten up a bench area or pathway with gentle, soft large pools of light. Landscape lighting fixtures can be placed on the trunk of a tree, under a shaded overhead structure, or under an eve.

Silhouette Lighting
Silhouetting uses outdoor landscape lights that sits behind or underneath a particular plant or feature of the landscape, whilst projecting interesting shapes on the surface of the wall.

Moonlighting creates the effect of light cast by the moon shining a soft beam through the branches of a tree.

Step or Wall Lights
Special light fixtures can be firmly and easily placed within rock, concrete or wood steps and walls to splash a warm light in a transitional or foot traffic area.

LED Lighting
All the above outdoor lighting effects can be achieved using LED landscape lights. LED landscape lighting is an energy efficient method of illuminating the outdoors. Although the initial cost may be somewhat higher than regular bulbs, the life span of the fixtures and the consistency of the light quality makes them a much better choice for value.

The main feature or element of the landscape should be located and used as the focal point for the rest of the lighting. To keep the setup running smoothly it is also a good idea to acquire a large enough transformer that can cope with all your outdoor lighting needs, both presently and in the long term. If you are unsure about what size that should be approach a licensed technician who can guide you through the process and offer you further assistance whenever required. If you are in the process of building a house, you should include outdoor landscape lighting in the plans so that the equipment can be installed much more easily