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Garden Lighting Design Basics

The garden, whether large or small, has become a prominent staple of landscaping design. And lighting is often a standard addition because it adds special effects and an ambiance that is impossible without it.

Garden lighting will add beauty and elegance to your plants, flowers and greenery. And if the design is executed correctly, you will add brilliance, color and creativity to your outside landscape.

If you hire a professional to install and design your garden lighting, make sure to have an idea of what you want before you start the work. The garden lighting designer will have many colors, sizes and shapes of lights from which to choose so it’s important to do some preliminary research.

An expert planner will always try to fit the geographical area as well as your personality before deciding what to include in the design. With hundreds of different companies that manufacture and offer beautiful, contemporary as well as traditional styled lighting, it is imperative that discussion and choices are made before any lighting fixture is ordered.

There are 10 top categories of lighting techniques that are used by most garden lighting designers:

  1. Accent Lighting – This is used to cast small spots of warm lighting which in turn creates a very soothing experience.
  2. Flood lighting – The polar opposite of accent lighting, these are broad, bright light beams that instill drama to a garden.
  3. Spot lighting – Though not as widely used, spot lights can highlight specific elements of the garden you want to emphasize.
  4. Cross Lighting – Similar to spotlighting in its effect, this dramatic lighting is also used to emphasize special shrubbery or trees.
  5. Silhouetting – Used to highlight various types of doorways, arches, even outline trees; it can be more subtle than other forms of lighting.
  6. Shadowing – This type of lighting is used when there are dramatic plants to showcase along a back wall where shadows are desirable.
  7. Spread Lighting – If you want large areas lit, this type of lighting is used in a design to bring a bright effect to shrubbery and even lawns.
  8. Up Lighting – One of the most popular techniques and used in all kinds of areas and both large and small gardens, it is used to cast an “up” type of lighting in front of trees, sculptures, decorative walls, parts of fencing or any other element you want to emphasize.
  9. Moonlighting – The opposite of up lighting, moonlighting is used to create a mood that will make it appear as if your plants are in the reflection of a full moon.
  10. Underwater Lighting – This lighting can be used in anything that is water based such as pools, pond lighting, etc.

Obviously, when on a budget, it is very important that the garden lighting designer make the most out of each light that is chosen and installed. Lastly, the fixtures should be hidden out of view so that the emphasis of sight is on the lighting itself and not on where the light is coming from. The lighting planner should always assure the homeowner that none of the lights will be positioned where they will come in direct eye contact with people. Safety is a top priority in any lighting design.

Whether you use a professional or tackle the project yourself, garden lighting is a landscape design essential and one that will be enjoyed by you and your guests for many years to come.