Backyard Landscape Lighting Ideas
Outdoor landscape lighting provides safety, drama and curb appeal.
Landscape lighting should add visual interest to your landscape design while illuminating your outside space, making it safe to navigate while creating an inviting space to entertain and relax. Landscape lighting also creates drama by creating shapes and shadows at new angles that you can only see at night - a different perspective from daytime views.The best choice is the one that fits your needs, meets your budget, improves the value of your home and brings your landscape elements together into one cohesive design.
A budget-friendly choice, solar lighting is available in a wide assortment of sizes, colors, textures and styles, and is one of the easiest landscape elements to add; it's ready to install, right out of the box, no wiring required. Solar lights operate on photo cells that turn off when it's light and turn on when it's dark. The downside is that solar lighting does not put out much light unless you use a hybrid that uses backup battery power.
The best choice for darker areas is low-voltage landscape lighting. This option is brighter than other options and creates safer walkways and entryways. It is easy to install and provides better control of light beams than you get from solar lighting. The downside is that low-voltage fixtures are not permanently installed, often just staked into the ground. They are also expensive, and the number of lamps that can be attached to one transformer is limited.
As functional as they are beautiful, up-lighting, down-lighting and spread lighting are the best techniques for illuminating foliage. Using separate switches and dimmers allows a greater variation of lighting effects. Placing up-lights and down-lights inside a large tree highlights foliage, creating shadows and movement as the wind blows. Silhouetting a tree or shrub against a wall or fence creates a larger-than-life decorative element, particularly in a young landscape, where the trees are not yet fully grown.
Shielded fixtures offer the best lighting control, allowing you to direct the light downward or anywhere you need it most. These fixtures provide a warm glow rather than a line of concentrated light while still remaining brighter than solar fixtures. Soft, indirect lighting provides enough visibility to see and move around without the glare that standard lighting often provides.