Are you looking to light up your outdoor living space with low voltage LED landscape lighting?
Lighting can have a huge impact on the feel of your outdoor living space. A few tweaks can completely change the look and feel, helping you relax, entertain and enjoy your yard. However, if you haven’t experimented with outdoor lighting before, you may not know where to start.
Don’t worry, we are here to help! Here is our guide on how to find the right lighting color temperature for your Del Mar backyard.
What is Color Temperature?
The Kelvin (K) scale is the measurement for color temperature. For color temperatures above 3500K, they’re considered cooler colors. They will get bluer as the Kelvin scale increases.
Temperatures under 3000K are warmer toned. As that value decreases, they get more amber in color. Color temperature is often a case of personal taste and preference.
The standard color temperature for outdoor lighting ranges from 2500K – 4000K. A general rule is to use warmer colors to highlight architectural features (2500K – 2700k).
For planting and hedgerows, the rule is to use cooler temperatures (3000K – 4000K). Because of this, the best color temperature for outdoor lighting depends on what you want to use it for.
How Much Light Do You Need?
If you want to light up objects in your yard at your Del Mar home, you don’t need much lighting. As with smaller desk task lamps, with the right position, a little light can go a long way. All you need to do is place it where you need it.
At night though, you have to consider that your eyes are already used to the dark. By keeping light levels lower, making use of shadows, you can create much more drama in your yard.
If you have an area outdoors you like to read in, you can put a spotlight on a tree. You can also place it in a pergola if you want a more protected, covered spot. This then directs the light down over your shoulder to light up the pages.
For outdoor dining you don’t need much lighting either. Your goal here should be creating a relaxing, casual mood for you and your guests to enjoy your yard.
What About Layered Lighting and Do I Need it?
At its most basic meaning, layered lighting means creating “high” points and “low” points. This adds extra emotion, beauty, and drama to the space you’re lighting up. It’s a powerful tool you can and should make use of in your outdoor space to create moods for different areas.
You could have a basic setup of different lights on different circuits. For example, your deck lighting could be on a different circuit to the lighting for your pathway. It gives control of an established piece of lighting for different reasons and purposes.
You can make use of a huge range of controls and dimmers to dial in settings for different occasions. You can set the patio up for some casual pre-dinner drinks, which fades into an intimate, relaxed feel at the table.
It’s a chance to get creative and set a unique mood perfect for your home and yard. Got some steep steps? Set the step lights up to a motion detector. You could even set the lights to move in time with music if you’re feeling fancy.
The architectural elements of your home often use natural materials like:
In most cases, these materials have an earthy tone like brown and yellow. Because of this, using light bulb color temperatures at the warmer, more amber end of the scale is a good idea.
They will bring out the warm tones in these materials. You’ll get a more dramatic effect than a cooler color temperature. With warmer tones, these key outdoor elements feel comfortable and inviting, drawing people in and making them curious to see more.
For stonework, fountains, statues and arbors, pick warm white lighting. You want something in the 2500K-2700K range of the light color temperature scale. This will keep these features warm and inviting, while keeping it casual and relaxing.
Colder tones could dull your architecture down and mute its glorious color, so avoid using them. If the color temperature is too cold on architecture it can give it an eerie, unnatural look. For many, this is an unsettling look and will take away from the aesthetic of your Del Mar home.
Plants & Landscaping
On the flip side, most planting and landscaping benefits from cooler color temperatures. There is a lot of green foliage to consider; a light blue hue will complement and bring out these green colors.
Plants look greener, more robust and healthier in appearance. Don’t worry if you have plants that need cooler lighting and architecture that needs a warmer hue. This color shift will add contrast and depth, as well as draw the eye easier as it creates separation.
The best way to highlight your planting is with neutral white LED lighting. You want to use an LED light color temperature in the 3000K-4000K range. This will help your plants seem more natural at night. The neutral white tint highlights the natural plant color, after the neutral color of the sun has set.
There is also a technique called moonlighting you can try. It gives trees a beautiful, ethereal glow. Place the light above the tree to mimic how natural moonlight falls through the leaves. To get the best effects, you want to use a light bulb color temperature of 4000K.
The general rule is that the higher the Kelvin score, the brighter the light is. This is why the cool white lights range at 4600K-6500K, and they’re often used in security lighting for many homes in the Del Mar area.
At the lower end of 4600K, these lights are good for pathways and porches or side alleys. If you want to have spotlights and motion detectors, the brighter the better. You want closer to the 6500K mark.
Patios & Gathering Hubs
For the outside areas where you’re relaxing in the evening, you want very warm lighting. You should look for bulbs around the 2000K mark, to cast a calm, warm glow for entertaining.
These lights have a color close to campfires and won’t be too harsh a glare on the eyes. These lights are perfect for areas like:
- Outdoor kitchens
- Any outdoor seating areas
In fact, they work for any outdoor gathering space or entertaining hub. You and your guests will appreciate that warm, comforting glow as you enjoy the evening in your yard.
Lighting Color Temperature: Set the Mood for Your Del Mar Yard
Personal preference plays a big part. You want to get a result you’re happy with, but you should also consider the purpose of the lighting and what you want to illuminate. All these factors go into getting the best look for your outdoor space in Del Mar.
If you’re looking for top-quality outdoor lighting, contact us today. At Lighting Distinctions, we’ve got lighting to suit all your outdoor needs.