A lot of effort goes into making the outside of your home have curb appeal, but unfortunately that hard work seemingly goes to waste as the prized features of your home fade into the darkness of night. Architectural and Landscape lighting is a way to highlight the beauty of your home all day and all night.
There are several ways to use light to highlight the best features of your home’s exterior and outdoor spaces. Here are some tips when lighting the different areas of your home.
Trees, especially decorative ones, are great home accents. If you want to light your trees use ground lights straight up into the foliage. Be sure to also bathe the trunk in light because if you don’t the uplit crown will look like a hovering UFO. For a more dramatic look try lighting foliage from above by placing two 20-watt downlights as high in a tree as possible and pointing them so that their beams do not cross.
When illuminating your garden you want the light to be focused on one plant to the next, instead of a flood of light over the whole bed. To achieve this look place fixtures no closer than 20 feet apart.
To highlight the architectural details of your home use bullet lights with bulbs that have 12-degree beam spreads, and aim them at the corners of your house. Use softer wash lights to fill in the space between them and avoid harsh shadows.
To highlight your garden walls place your lighting close to the base so that the beams bring textures into sharp relief.
You can highlight an element that deserves attention—such as a fountain, tree swing, or arbor—by having two crossing lights aimed at the feature you want to illuminate; this reduces shadows.
Types of Lighting
There are many types of lighting you can use around the exterior of your home.
- Garden – These come in posts and reflect light down into planting beds. These can also be used as pathway markers. Unlike other lights, their style and finish are on display.
- Wash – Wash lights put out a soft, diffuse light. This type of lighting is perfect for brightening flat facades, privacy fences, and garden walls.
- Bullet – These lights put out a narrow focused light good for precisely lighting house features, tree trunks, and garden structures.
- Well – The bulb hides inside a waterproof housing buried in the ground, so you get light without seeing the fixture. Use well lights to illuminate the underside of plant foliage or the base of retaining or garden walls.
- Downlight – These fixtures, often located high on trunks and branches, can be aimed at lawns, paths, or the tree’s own foliage to create a whimsical moonlit effect.
- Flood – While these are the most common lights, the brightness and wideness of the lighting limits their potential in design; use sparingly on large areas.